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Geno's spiritual beads are UConn's latest attempt to turn luck around

The Huskies have tried healing dances, sage and holy water. Can spiritual beads fix the Huskies' woes?

Photo: Ian Bethune

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Last week’s Weekly:

Geno's spiritual beads are UConn's latest attempt to turn luck around

Over the summer, Geno Auriemma traveled to Debrecen, Hungary for the U18 3×3 World Cup. During a break in the action, he walked around the city and found himself drawn into a local store. As he entered, the coach told the woman working that he needed some good luck. She pointed to a bracelet of beads.

Auriemma bought them for less than 10 euros — he estimated they were €7.80 — and now wears them on his wrist.

“I think that was a con job sales job,” he laughed, “but I'm trying anything.”

It’s not the first time UConn has gone outside the box to fix the injury problems that have plagued the problem over the last two seasons. First, they brought in a Native American hoop dancer to try a healing dance. The next day, associate head coach Chris Dailey fainted during the national anthem of the NC State game.

After that, assistant coach Morgan Valley brought in holy water and burnt sage — the latter of which caused a mild panic when Nika Mühl, Dailey and others thought a fire had started in the Werth Champions Center. They even thought about turning to the divine for help.

“I think Xavier had a priest on their bench and I was thinking about maybe asking him to come over to our side,” Dailey joked back in January.

None of it worked. Even though Paige Bueckers is fully cleared and prepared to return, UConn lost another player for the season when Jana El Alfy ruptured her Achilles during the U19 World Cup with Egypt over the summer.

So now, Auriemma will see if the beads can help.

It’s not completely about injury prevention, either. Because of all the Huskies have been through recently, there’s a constant anxiety that lingers in the back of everyone’s minds.

“You just hold your breath every day, at the end of every practice, at the end of every workout or when you go home that you didn't get a phone call,” Auriemma said.

That worry is amplified when it comes to Bueckers considering she suffered a pair of freak injuries — a tibial plateau fracture and lateral meniscus tear on an innocuous play at the end of a game then a torn ACL in a pick-up game on campus.

“The other day, we had a work out and she came up lame and walked over to the sideline and sat down. Everybody's like [Auriemma gasps] and she just tied her shoe again,” Auriemma said. “Everything that happens, it’s gonna be magnified. So we're gonna have to get past all that.”

So how does the coach plan to put it in the past? Simple.

“I have spiritual beads.”

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