UConn Women’s Insider: Kerry Bascom Was The First ‘Great One’ Geno Had

Comparatively speaking, UConn was still playing in the black and white era of women’s college basketball in the late 1980s when Kerry Bascom showed up from New Hampshire and began to change the color scheme.

Know this: Before there were Lobo and Rizzotti, Sales and Bird, Sveta and Taurasi, Charles and Moore, Dolson and Stewart, there was Bascom, Geno Auriemma’s first significant recruit and his program’s first All-American.


“There is a great sense of pride knowing that I played a part in helping the program become what it has become,” Bascom said. “I don’t think the current players really understand what we went through playing at Guyer Gym that ultimately led to the success we had when I was a senior as the team went to the Final Four.

“I don’t think anybody at that point, even Geno [Auriemma], would have ever thought, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to be doing.’ Everyone has dreams of going to the Final Four, but to actually go, to know you’ve had a piece of that is just an awesome thing. I am so happy to be a part of it.”

Bascom, a combination forward-center, was the focal point of the first generation of players who led the 10-time national champions to greatness.

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She was the Big East’s player of the year in each of her last three seasons. She helped take UConn to its first Big East regular season championship (1989), first Big East Tournament championship (1989), first NCAA Tournament appearance (1989), first NCAA Tournament win (1990) and first NCAA Final Four appearance (1991).

And after her final game, the Huskies’ epic national semifinal loss to Virginia in New Orleans, she retired as UConn’s all-time leading scorer with 2,177 points, a record that would stand until Nykesha Sales broke it in 1998.

Still fifth on UConn’s all-time scoring list, Bascom’s single-season scoring average of 22.6 as a sophomore and career-scoring average (18.1) both trail only Maya Moore.

“I just played the role Coach gave me,” Bascom said. “Our success wasn’t just because of me. All of my teammates played roles just as big and important as I did. … I truly believe that the role I played [in the evolution of the program] is exactly the role I was supposed to play.”

Bascom, 46, who still lives and works in New Hampshire, never really wished she could have been born at a different time, one when she could have been part of the escalating passion around the program.

“I think anyone would look back at what’s happened and wish they could be born even five years later, so I could have played when Rebecca [Lobo] played,” Bascom said. “The opportunities that would have presented themselves would be so different, just based on how differently basketball was then being looked at.

“But things that have happened to me have happened for a reason, just like the choices I made were made for a reason; like if I had gone to Boston College and not UConn at the start of everything. How would that have turned out? I wouldn’t have changed a thing about what’s happened along the way for me.”

After playing briefly in Europe after her graduation, she didn’t try out for either the ABL or WNBA, both born in what would have been the prime of her career.

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“I thought about trying out,” Bascom said. “I remember having the discussion about whether I should try. But I was getting older. I had a coaching job at the University of New Hampshire, which was 20 minutes down the road. That was what ultimately weighed out. No regrets. I feel pretty grounded about everything in my life.”

Bascom, who lives in Exeter, N.H., is immersed in her community, working in the human services field and running Special Olympics programs. Her devotion to community support is focused on helping individuals with disabilities who live in the community.

This is what she has always wanted, it seems, what makes her happy.

“The opportunities [from playing at a different time] would have been nice, but to be honest, I kind of like it better this way,” Bascom said. “I am not the type of person that would have really liked all of [the notoriety] on me all the time; you know, everyone constantly wanting to know what I am doing, how I am.

“In that regard, I feel fortunate. The friends I have in New Hampshire are friends I’ve had for a really long time. I have friends that just knew I was tall, but really didn’t know much about anything else [about her basketball career] until someone else told them.”

She gets to as many UConn games as she can and tries to stay in touch with Auriemma, Chris Dailey and the players in the program — past and present — as much as time allows.

“Things haven’t changed much, although [Auriemma] seems softer and doesn’t yell as much,” Bascom said. “The concepts that are being taught all seem the same.

“I think everyone can shoot the three now, but one thing I believe is lacking somewhat is the ability to make the pull-up jumper. You don’t see a lot of players any more with the mid-range jumper. It’s either you are inside banging or you are launching a three. There isn’t much of a middle game anymore.”

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