BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Texas senior Imani Boyette scanned UCLA’s roster on Friday.
“Yes …. yes …. yes … yes … yes … yes.”
She was referring to UCLA players whom she played with or against during her high school days at Winward School in Los Angeles.
Texas’ Sweet 16 matchup with UCLA on Saturday is a reunion of sorts for Boyette.
“I went to high school with Jordin Canada (UCLA’s leading scorer) at Winward for two years,” Boyette said. “Kacy Swain, I played travel ball with her and have known her since the seventh grade. Kori Korver, I played against her in travel ball. I played against Lajahna (Drummer) in high school. When you grow up playing against them and getting a chance to play against them now, it’s going to be a really fun competition.”
UCLA, meanwhile, has no recent memories of Boyette. When Texas defeated the Bruins 75-65 last season in Los Angeles, Boyette was injured and did not play. In her place, guard Brooke McCarty had one of her best games of her freshman year, pouring in 20 points, and Nneka Enemkpali had 12 points and 10 boards.
Boyette, at 6-7, won’t be the tallest player UCLA has faced this season. In three matchups against Pac-12 opponent Oregon State, 6-8 center Ruth Hamblin averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds against the Bruins; UCLA went 1-2 in those games.
“We’ve played against some really big girls, and we hope to continue to attack her and not be afraid of her big presence,” Korver said.
UCLA coach Cori Close, who recruited Boyette, said Boyette has made great advances in her game, giving credit to coach Karen Aston and UT’s staff for her development.
“Imani has developed in her strength, her consistency, her aggression, her ability to block shots without fouling,” Close said.
Saturday’s UConn-Mississippi State and Texas-UCLA games at 10,000-seat Webster Bank Arena are sold out.
Texas, UConn agree to play: Texas and Connecticut have agreed to play each other the following two seasons, UT director of women’s athletics Chris Plonsky said Friday.
The Longhorns and Huskies will meet in November at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., Plonsky said. The exact date has not yet been set.
Then UConn will play at the Erwin Center in 2017.
UConn searching for Title XI: Huskies coach Geno Auriemma was asked Friday whether he had a “pyramid of success,” similar to what John Wooden established at UCLA. Auriemma is tied with Wooden with 10 national championships.
“If you asked me where Coach Wooden’s pyramid of success was, I couldn’t name you one of them,” said Auriemma, in his 31st season. “So my pyramid of success is the same as his. His was Alcindor, Walton and Gail Goodrich, and you name them down the line. My pyramid of success are Diana (Taurasi), Maya (Moore) and Stewie (Breanna Stewart). So once you start with that, (Wooden) got the best players in America every year. We get the best players in America every year. … Every day we try to live up to our potential.”