Morgan Valley
Year: 2000 - 2004
Position: Guard
Hometown: Colchester, VT

Morgan Valley was a Guard for the UConn Huskies from 2000 – 2004. While at UConn she was a team member who won three National Championships, and established a National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s basketball record with 70 consecutive wins. I spoke to Morgan in July 2006, about her basketball memories and experiences.

Morgan grew up in Colchester, Vermont. Her dad was a basketball coach of a boys’ team so Morgan, and her sister Ashley were often at the gym. Their dad soon became their basketball coach. Morgan went to a private catholic junior high school that had no girl’s basketball team so she had to settle for playing on the boys Amateur Athletic Union basketball team. She went to Rice Memorial High School in Vermont, and was a stand out player enjoying many honors; Women’s Basketball Coaching Association All-American Team member, two time Full Court Press First Team All-American, state Gatorade player of the year, and Vermont player of the year. Morgan led her team to two consecutive undefeated seasons, and state titles, and set new records in points, assists and steals. While in high school Morgan enjoyed playing against Essex Junction High School who were, and still are the powerhouse of Vermont. Rice Memorial had been beaten by Essex Junction six consecutive times until Morgan’s junior year when Rice Memorial won.

It was time to make a college decision. “A lot of schools were recruiting me. I’ve always been a winner so I just wanted to go to a winning program.” Morgan didn’t know a lot about the University of Connecticut other than that they won the National Championship in 1995. Morgan narrowed her college choices to five schools; Old Dominion University, Rutgers University, Boston College, University of Notre Dame and University of Connecticut. After a visit to Connecticut, and having played in some pickup games during her visit to UConn, Morgan went back to Vermont, and told her dad she wanted to go to UConn. “I love basketball. The players at UConn were like basketball gurus. It felt like they played basketball all the time, and when they played, they played hard, and I just felt like there was no other place like UConn.”

The transition from high school to college didn’t seem that difficult at first because Morgan was used to working hard, and being prepared. “At first nothing seemed too hard. I wasn’t tired like some of my classmates. I didn’t realize it at the time but I didn’t balance myself. I worked so hard that I worked my body down, and my body just eventually broke down causing injuries that slowed my career. You go to college to win a National Championship, and I did that. I didn’t necessarily do it the way I wanted to but three championships out of four years of college is not bad.”

Morgan and her sister Ashley Valley

While at UConn Morgan ’s most memorable game overall was a game against Texas Christian University in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2003. UConn almost lost except Diana Taurasi scored 35 points to win the game for UConn. Morgan said she enjoyed winning the third National Championship the most. “The first Championship was expected with players Sue Bird, Tamika Williams, Swin Cash and Asjha Jones. The second Championship was by fluke. UConn really wasn’t the best team in the country. The third National Championship was the same team as the prior year. UConn needed to win that championship to reinforce to everyone that we were a great team.”

Morgan graduated from UConn with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Currently she is an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team at Holy Cross University in Worcester, Massachusetts. “I wanted to play basketball until I couldn’t anymore, then I got a job coaching which is the next best thing to playing. As a coach I try to bring the same passion, and energy that I brought on the court as a player, and I try to make my players work hard, and feel like when they leave the gym they’ve done something.” A day in Morgan’s life during basketball season as a coach is very hectic. She gets to the office early in the morning, watches a lot of basketball films, works with players individually, goes to team practices, then there is on-going recruiting, and of course the games.

Morgan’s thoughts on Coach Auriemma, “He’s the best coach that has ever walked on to the basketball court, and he is a great man. He taught me so much through basketball about life, and I’m honored to have played for him. He gave me some of the best years of my life to this point.”

What UConn needs to get back to the Final Four is time. “It’s a cycle; you can’t be on top all the time. It’s just a down time; they’ll be right back there in no time.”

Morgan also had the pleasure of having her sister Ashley on the UConn team for three years. They each had their own friends from their class, and their own experiences but it was great to have each other to lean on when they needed to.

Morgan ended our conversation by saying, “Having gone to UConn was exactly what I wanted, athletically, academically, and some of the best friendships I’ll ever have. It was all worth it.”