UConn celebrates the greatness of Rebecca Lobo.
STORRS: It's hard to think of a better role model than the women honored in the place she called home during her college career that put the school on the national map.
The University of Connecticut honored that legend, Rebecca Lobo on Friday night before the Huskies took care of visiting California, 82-47 behind a balanced offense that had six players score in double figures.
On a night dubbed #LoboNight, the fan base at Gampel Pavilion rained down massive quantities of love on a player who deserved every minute of it for what she did and continues to do for women's basketball and more importantly, society in general.
Ok, that may sound like a strong statement that one person could have that great an impact on those around her but to spend time with Lobo is to understand why.
She embraces her role as one of the greatest ambassadors the game has ever know and understands how she can impact the lives of young girls who can look to her when deciding how high they want to soar in life.
No obstacle was ever too big for Lobo to overcome, no barrier too intimidating for her to find her way through.
The honors are as long as she is tall.
The plan to honor the Naismith Hall of Famer was put into the planning stages a while back and developed into something more than even Lobo thought it might.
"Kathy Auriemma texted me," Lobo said. "And asked if I would be able to come to the Cal game, this was months ago. She said that they want to honor you. I said, let me check, I'd love to come but it wasn't until well after that that someone mentioned a banner and I said, "Hold on, I get a banner?"Â. It was so cool it was awesome. I only get to come to Gampel a couple times a year, I never played at the XL (Center), so all of my memories are here. I love coming here."
Her former head coach spoke about the player who became so much more since her days in this building and feels blessed to have had it happen under his watch.
"The longer you are in this,"Â Auriemma said. "The more you realize how fortunate you really are to have gotten to know some of these people that I have been fortunate enough to get to know. We had dinner last night, Kathy and I with Steve and Rebecca and talked about a lot of things from the beginning to the end and all of a sudden, that 17-year old kid who you recruited is enshrined in a place that is reserved for the greatest basketball people of all time and she's a part of that."
Did he see it coming way back then?
"It's hard to think back and say, yeah, I knew this was going to happen and yet at the same time, I'm not surprised one bit that it happened,"Â Auriemma said. "She's just a unique woman who has qualities that you don't find very often in people. A lot of people have a few of Rebecca's qualities but very few people that I have ever met all the qualities that Rebecca has. She's a great person, she's a great ambassador, she's a great mom, great mom, great daughter and great sister. She's got every single box checked of what you would want to accomplish in life."Â
High praise from a guy who pushed her just about as hard as anyone ever did but each time, the Hall of Famer, who now also has a banner right next to her coaches one, rose as high as the rafters she now hangs above.