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    Saturday, June 03, 2023

    Taurasi to Auriemma: 'Coach ... I didn't do it"

    UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma said following practice Tuesday at Gampel Pavilion that he has spoken to former program great Diana Taurasi, under fire for testing positive for a banned substance in Turkey where she’s competing this winter, and Taurasi said she’s innocent.

    “I’m not privy to all the information,” Geno said. “I don’t know what her attorney knows. I don’t know what the Turkish federation knows. I don’t know what the doping agency knows. I don’t know any of that stuff.

    “All I know is from talking to Diana and I know she’s really, really devastated by all this. She told me, ‘Coach, I didn’t take that. Whatever they’re saying, I didn’t do it.’ I’ve got to believe her. It’s like if your kids come home and say, ‘Dad, I promise you I didn’t do this.’ You’ve got to believe them.

    “Now, if it’s proven otherwise down the road, then you deal with it. My feeling is I’m going to believe Diana until proven otherwise.”

    Taurasi’s “A” test sample came back positive for the drug modafinil prior to Christmas and she was suspended provisionally by Turkish club team Fenerbahce pending the results of her “B” sample. Turkish news reports said this week that Taurasi’s “B” sample also came back positive.

    Taurasi faces a suspension from the Turkish league and if it’s more than six months, she faces a suspension from the 2012 Olympics in London. Auriemma is the coach of the Olympic Team.

    Eyes have it

    UConn junior Kelly Faris was not on the floor at practice when the media was admitted Tuesday and came back toward the end of the session with a cut under her right eye. The cut, caused by an elbow from freshman Samarie Walker, needed no stitches, but was glued shut, according to Faris. She finished practice.

    Quote of note

    A win today will be UConn’s 70th in a row at home, breaking the all-time women’s record of 69 co-held by Tennessee (1991-96) and the Huskies themselves (2000-04). UConn’s last home loss was to Rutgers, 55-47, in the 2007 Big East tournament final at the XL Center. The NCAA recognizes UConn’s postseason games at the XL Center because it plays three or more games there during the regular season.

    Having had perhaps enough of streaks for the time being, here was Geno’s reaction to a group of reporters Tuesday when the current one was mentioned:

    “Where do you guys come up with this stuff? Jesus, Mary and Joseph.”

    UConn is home tonight against Villanova at Gampel Pavilion (7:30 p.m., CPTV).

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