BROOKLYN – The next generation of Connecticut stars was on display Friday at the girls Jordan Brand Classic. And while not all of them were at their best – they showed off more than enough talent to make it clear that a new winning streak is likely to begin soon in Storrs.
Three future Huskies took part in the game. Mikayla Coombs and the West Team registered a dominant 122-81 victory against an East squad that included Lexi Gordon and Megan Walker.
Gordon put up the most points of the troika, tallying 14 for the losing East side. Coombs had a strong game for the victorious West – scoring 12 on 4-for-6 shooting. Of the three, only Walker struggled, putting up just four points on 1-for-11 shooting. But Walker, an American Family Insurance ALL-USA First Team selection from Monacan (Richmond, Va.) is the No. 1 ranked player in the espnW HoopGurlz 100, so Huskies coach Geno Auriemma likely isn’t fretting about this performance from a future star.
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Coombs – a product of the Wesleyan School (Peachtree Corners, Ga.) – spent much of the contest matched up against her future teammate Gordon, out of LD. Bell (Hurst, Texas). Each came away with a newfound appreciation for the other’s skills.
“Lexi’s strong,” Coombs said. “I definitely learned that.”
“I learned Mikayla’s an extremely good passer,” Gordon said. “She passes the ball very well. And she plays hard, every position. So I appreciate that.”
For Coombs and Gordon, the on-court duel was secondary to getting another chance to spend some time with each other before they head to Storrs. Along with Walker and Andra Espinoza-Hunter, a fourth UConn signee, the group has bonded both in person and online over the past year. And they enjoy spending time together.
Coombs said earlier in the week that the freshman need to report to UConn for summer session on May 29.
“We’ve always been close,” Coombs said. “We have a group message between all four of us and we constantly talk.”
“We always get closer when we’re together,” Gordon said. “It’s fun to be around them.”
She added, “It’s kind of like a little bit of a look into the future.”
A look into the immediate future shows the incoming freshmen arriving at UConn to help the Huskies bounce back from an extremely rare loss in the Final Four against Mississippi State.
Both Gordon and Coombs are excited for the opportunity to play for the premier program in women’s college basketball. But they both know that the key to success at UConn will be to keep the bond they’ve struck intact.
“It’s going to be the four years of my life,” Gordon said. “I already know it. Just trying to adapt to their system, coming in as a freshman, is going to be really hard. So we just have to stick together. Stay strong, stay together and learn the system.”