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UConn's Geno Auriemma wears Kobe Bryant shirt while coaching vs. Oregon

Jack Baer
Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game East Carolina, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

One of basketball’s most legendary paid tribute to another during one of the biggest games of the season.

UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma sported a Kobe Bryant shirt Monday while coaching against No. 3 Oregon.

Auriemma’s Huskies had already paid tribute to Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, a basketball player who saw UConn as her dream school. The school responded to her death by declaring her “forever a Husky,” and laying out a UConn jersey for her in its first game since the helicopter crash.

Both Kobe and Gianna were UConn fans, and shared a special bond with Auriemma. Bryant was well-known as a high-profile champion of women’s sports.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, they would go on to lose 74-56 to Oregon — their worst loss ever at Gampel Pavilion and the first in the arena since 2013. Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu, who has also talked about carrying on Bryant’s legacy, came an assist and rebound away from another triple-double while Ruthy Hebard led the way with 22 points and 12 rebounds.

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