UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Geno Auriemma won his 1,000th game as top-ranked UConn beat Oklahoma 88-64 on Tuesday night in the Hall of Fame women’s Holiday Showcase.
Auriemma became the fourth women’s coach to reach the 1,000-win mark, joining Pat Summitt, Tara VanDerveer and Sylvia Hatchell, who earned her milestone victory earlier Tuesday. Mike Krzyzewski is the only men’s coach to have won 1,000 games.
He is the fastest to achieve the mark, doing so in his 1,135th game. The Hall of Fame coach has gone 500-36 since winning his 500th game in 2003. That includes winning 100 of his last 101 contests.
Sitting by Auriemma’s side for the 1,000 wins has been associate head coach Chris Dailey. She’s been with Auriemma since he took over at UConn in 1985. Dailey led the Huskies to seven of those victories while filling in as head coach. Auriemma was suspended for four games in 1989 for playing an extra game that season. That year, the Huskies won their first Big East tournament title with Dailey at the helm.
She also coached three games when Auriemma’s father died in 1997. All seven of those wins are credited to Auriemma.
As the final buzzer sounded, the Huskies dumped Gatorade buckets full of confetti on Auriemma and Dailey. Fake $1,000 bills dropped from the ceiling with Auriemma’s picture on them.
Players from Auriemma’s first team in 1985 that beat Iona for win No. 1 were in attendance and introduced to the sellout crowd. His current team held up masks of Auriemma and Dailey with their pictures from 1985.
Fans held up signs they were given that said “GEN1000 career wins.”
Auriemma was presented with a Hall of Fame jacket, a cake from the Mohegan Sun where the game was played and a commemorative plaque. A video was played that included tributes from former players like Breanna Stewart, who won 151 games at UConn — second most of all time.
“Wow coach, 1000 wins!!!! You have created and are continuing to create an untouchable legacy in the world of sports, let alone basketball,” Stewart told The Associated Press in a text. “We set the bar high at UConn and you have continued to do that. I’m so happy to say that I am a part of your 1,000 wins!”
UConn (9-0) led 48-33 at the break before Oklahoma cut its deficit to seven midway through the third quarter, shocking the crowd. The Huskies responded with a 13-3 run to close the period that was capped by a steal off an inbounds play for a layup by Katie Lou Samuelson to give UConn a 64-47 advantage headed into the fourth quarter. Napheesa Collier, who scored 21 points to lead the Huskies, had seven of them during the spurt.
The Huskies got a scare when Gabby Williams went down in the first quarter after picking up her second foul. The senior forward went to the locker room for a bit before coming back to the bench later in the period. She came back in before picking up a third foul early in the second quarter.
Maddie Manning scored 15 points to lead Oklahoma (5-6).
Oklahoma: This was the second time that the Sooners were facing a coach going for a 1,000th victory. Oklahoma beat Tennessee in Pat Summitt’s first attempt at 1,000.
UConn: The Huskies have never lost to Oklahoma in 11 meetings. The two teams hadn’t played since 2012 until Tuesday night. ... Auriemma has gone 246-62 (.798) against ranked teams in his career. ... UConn freshman Megan Walker missed the game with the flu.
Oklahoma: The Sooners host No. 8 Texas on Dec. 28 to open Big 12 play.
UConn: Heads to Toronto to play Duquesne in a homecoming game for Canadian Kia Nurse on Friday.