When the UConn women take on Stanford Friday night in the Final Four, fans across the country will be watching, including a team of middle school basketball players from back home.
The Mansfield Middle School Roadrunners girls basketball team plays their games two miles away from Gampel Pavilion. UConn is in the middle school's backyard and the students say the UConn women are an inspiration to their entire team.
"They just make us really proud," said Kalyani Tihaiya, a student at Mansfield Middle School.
The middle school team even has a shooting drill named after the Huskies.
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"These are just every day girls and they are doing such amazing things on the basketball court and off the basketball court," said student Charlotte Christenson.
The school's principal, Candace Morell, said former Huskies have visited the school in the past and volunteered with the students.
"What they see is what they can be in the future - not only as an athlete, but as a strong female leader, a strong academic student and a role model to those around them," said Morell. "It's a really special opportunity."
The members of the girls basketball team said they will be watching the Final Four game. They are confident in the team and thankful for the example the UConn Women have set so far.
"They taught me that if I really love something, I should go for it, work hard and nothing comes easy," said Aisaa Hopson, an eighth grade student at Mansfield Middle.