IT’S A CRISP, sunny October afternoon, and Paige Bueckers is at the door of the holiest of basketball temples. She sees her reflection in the glass as she pulls open the door to the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center. The brick edifice stands in stark contrast to the concrete behemoth of its next-door neighbor — and UConn’s home arena — Gampel Pavilion. The Champions Center is the house that Auriemma built.
The first things Bueckers sees are 15 crystal basketball trophies on display. Thirteen of them glitter behind a wall of glass; the remaining two — from the most recent men’s and women’s championships — rest in their own cases just inside the door. Eleven of these trophies belong to the women’s program.
Dynastic greatness gleams at Bueckers with each step she takes through the facility. In front of the stairs that lead up to head coach Geno Auriemma’s office are the “Pillars of the Program” — rectangular glass displays for some of the players who have walked through these same doors: Rebecca Lobo, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart. All of them All-Stars. Most of them Hall of Famers — and the ones who aren’t yet will be.