What can be said that hasn't already about Rebecca Lobo ? It's been 25 years since the 1995 Team won UConn's first National Championship. But Rebecca today is as popular as she was when she could have run for Governor...and won. I've been asked about the Women's Edition of Mt Rushmore, strictly players. Yes, Rebecca has to be included. It's more than the numbers, it's her personality. I have never, ever heard a bad word about old #50. And now ?? She's in the Basketball Hall of Fame. The first UConn Basketball player, and certainly not the last Women's player that'll be enshrined
Rebecca comes from a very strong family as both parents educators. Rebecca could have gone anywhere, including Stanford. Scoring over 2700 points at Southwick-Tolland Regional High School in Massachusetts. A state record that stood until 2006. But a special bond was forming between Lobo, Coach Geno Auriemma and Associate Coach Chris Dailey that made her want to come to UConn. Thus, the decision to come to Storrs a season after the Huskies were coming off their first Final Four. Playing on a Team that featured the Senior Class of Meg Pattyson, Debbie Baer and Wendy Davis, the Huskies went 23-11, lost in the Big East Championship Game against Miami, then fell in the 2nd Round of the NCAA's to Vanderbilt. Lobo showing her potential averaging 14p-8r per game while shooting 49% and blocking 46 shots.
The 1992-93 team was turning into a younger team and they struggled thru a 18-11 season. Losing to Providence in the Big East Semi's before after a bye in the first round of the NCAA's, lost a heartbreaker to Louisville. The last time a UConn Women's Team has lost back to back games. Crazy to think eh ?? Lobo averaged a double-double in year two 17p-11rpg shooting 45% with a growing nucleus of Pam Weber and a pair of freshman. Jen Rizzotti & Jamelle Elliott.
The 1993-94 team made a loud statement going 30-3, winning both Big East Regular Season and Tournament Title and earning it's first Top Seed in the NCAA Tournament and reaching the Elite 8 for the second time. Where they weren't quite yet ready as they lost to eventual Champion North Carolina in the Regional Final at Rutgers. Lobo again averaging a double double for the year, 19p-11rpg and a career best 131 blocks. The core group was taking shape as 6'-7" Kara Wolters and guard Carla Berube, both from Massachusetts.
With the addition of Bloomfield's Nykesha Sales, the 1994-95 Team had hopes of doing more. The schedule was toughened with early season wins over N.C. State and Cal and a late January win at Kansas. But the January 16th win over the #1 Tennessee in Storrs legitimized the program and vaulted UConn to it's first #1 ranking, a spot they would not relinquish.Led by Lobo's 17p-10rpg and 50% shooting, she led the Huskies to a 33-0 record and the program's second Final Four berth. In addition to being named the Unanimous National Player of the Year. After a win over Stanford, the Huskies rallied to beat Tennessee again, with Lobo leading the way in the 70-64 win that gave UConn the first of 11 National Championships.
In 1996, Lobo was the on the loaded U.S. Olympic Team that won the first of what is now six straight gold medals in Women's Basketball before joining the New York Liberty in the new WNBA. After helping the Liberty to the Finals, she suffered some setbacks. In 1999, a torn ACL...then a trade to Houston in 2002 before retiring in 2003 as a member if the Connecticut Sun.
Of course now you know Rebecca as a commentator of both Women's College Basketball and the WNBA on ESPN where as a sideline reporter or now, color analyst has called many a UConn Game in her time. In 2003 Lobo married former SI writer Steve Rushin and make one of the funniest couples you'll ever meet. She's a mother of four, coaches a few in youth basketball, is on the board of trustees at UConn and is an advocate and spokesperson for breast cancer awareness. A her mother, Ruth had the awful disease that eventually claimed her life.
Lobo's contributions on and off the floor garnered her the ultimate honor, induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with her Coach and Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma presented her on stage. If you get a chance, watch her speech on Youtube. I'm sure many of you have seen it, but it's not only powerful, it's funny. As only Rebecca can be.
The First of 8 National Players of the Year...A Husky for Life, #50 Rebecca Lobo, a retired number at UConn forever..