PREVIEW: DePaul hosts No. 1 ​​UCONN and the legend of Geno Auriemma

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PREVIEW: DePaul hosts No. 1 ​​UCONN and the legend of Geno Auriemma

David P. Stein, Contributing Writer

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When DePaul (6-2) hosts the University of Connecticut (7-0) tomorrow for the team’s grand opening at Wintrust Arena, the matchup will feature women’s basketball’s top program in the country.

On the heels of an 88-47 victory over Loyola on Monday, Blue Demons fans in attendance against the University of Connecticut (UConn) will have a rare opportunity to see both model teams live and up-close. Even the players for DePaul who are going against UConn know there is something special about their next home game.

“I think it will be real cool. Obviously, we had a tough one against them last year, but it’s our grand opening here, and we’re excited to get some fans here and compete with them,” Kelly Campbell, who is averaging 12.1 points per game for the Blue Demons, said.

Similarly, Amarah Coleman admits that hosting UConn tomorrow invites a tremendous challenge and opportunity that she and her teammates should embrace.

“I always dreamed to play against UConn growing up, and now that I have the chance, I’m going to go out there have fun and compete,” Coleman said.

DePaul Head Coach Doug Bruno wants to be realistic heading into this test, and he wants his players to worry about competing against UConn, and not necessarily about beating them.

“I’ve coached against them pretty much the same way. Don’t talk to me about beating UConn, let’s talk about competing against UConn. If at halftime, we’re in position to beat UConn, then we’re going to talk about beating UConn at halftime,” said Bruno, who is hoping for a better game by his players than last year in Connecticut.

“We have to show we can be competitive against UConn, which is what we did two years ago. Then last year before UConn, we had a great win over 11th ranked Syracuse, and our players were maybe thinking that they were UConn,” Bruno said.

Coach Bruno knows that UConn features a roster that is blessed with more skill but highlights that he won’t allow this to be an excuse for his players not to compete.

“You can’t ask your players to be better than they are, but they have to be the best of what they are. And there’s ‘controllables’ in all sports, and they have to be controlled. And UConn’s talent makes it hard to control those ‘controllables,’” he said.

“I can live with scores that are bad, I can’t live with non-competitive possessions. If a score becomes a monster against us, I can live with this. As long as our players are fighting and clawing, and competing in every single possession,” emphasizes Bruno, who doesn’t want spectators to watch an uncompetitive game.

“It’s our job to not make it an exhibition event. It’s our job to make it a real competition, and not just an event.”

When: Friday, December 8th at 6 p.m CT

Where: Wintrust Arena

How to Watch: FS1