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April 07, 2004

Princess Diana: Roundball's Reigning Royalty

By Nick Infante, College Athletics Clips Editor

FROM SoCal comes a player whose awesome abilities transform her into royalty every time she steps on the court. UConn’s Diana Taurasi has been blessed with—or has worked hard to acquire—an impressive collection of skills that solidify her status as college basketball’s best player.

She wears her hair in a bun, like an elegant tiara. Her jersey is like a royal robe. Her retinue of supporting players is enthusiastic and loyal. She rules her subjects (UConn fans) with benevolence and appreciation.

Princess Diana holds court with surpassing dignity, class and assertiveness. Her munificent and benevolence are such that no one has a negative thing to say about her.

However, basketball is ultimately a team game. Even the great Michael Jordan The Great was unable to single-handedly win a championship in his early years with the Chicago Bulls.

And this year’s supporting cast of teammates was capable—but not outstanding. Thus, there were great expectations for Diana to step up and lead the Lady Huskies back to their throne.

Between Taurasi’s unselfish style of play and the stewardship of mercurial Coach Geno Auriemma, the Lady Huskies survived an uncharacteristically shaky season. Along the way they suffered defeats to such non-stalwarts as Boston College, Notre Dame and Villanova.

When time came for the Final Four in New Orleans, Taurasi shoulders were not sagging, despite the burden of having carried her team for much of the season.

The title game versus arch enemy Tennessee was a rather perfunctory formality. UConn jumped out to an early lead, but the game Lady Vols closed the gap at halftime.

Tennessee coach Pat Summit gyrated through her usual histrionics on the sidelines; nearly saving the day for her undermanned Lady Vols through sheer force of will. After the Huskies pulled away again in the second half, Tennessee made a run in the closing minutes. But Taurasi and her entourage were having none of that, and the night was theirs.

So now the jubilant faithful at UConn’s Storrs campus have an unprecedented x2 victory celebration. I hope no one gets hurt amidst the revelry (other than a few overturned cars).

Any UConn fan could distill the essence of UConn’s championship season into one statement, and it goes like this: “We have Diana and you don’t.”

Long live the Princess.

Editor Infante is a proud UConn graduate.