UConn Women Basketball Players at Windham Middle School

Breanna Stewart (left) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis talk to students at Windham Middle School on June 10. (Melanie Savage / June 10, 2014)

Just hours after hanging out with President Barack Obama at the White House, members of the UConn women’s championship basketball team appeared before a group of very excited sixth-graders at Windham Middle School on June 10.

The sixth-graders were chosen for the honor due to their commitment to their school, their community and their studies, according to administrators.

The main theme of the Huskies’ conversation was the importance of staying healthy during the upcoming summer months. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis opened the discussion by introducing her fellow teammates. “There’s a lot of open area in Iowa,” she said, handing the microphone over to Kiah Stokes, who hails originally from Marion in the Hawkeye State. Stokes talked about healthy nutrition and exercise, and encouraged the students to “make sure you get your school work done.”

Incoming freshman Courtney Ekmark revealed a love for ice cream, but reminded the students that “it is really important to eat well and take care of your body.”

Six-four forward Breanna Stewart revealed a love for Skittles, especially the sour variety.

A question-and-answer period drew a large variety of responses from the audience, ranging from statements to thoughtful questions. “I saw you on TV,” said one sixth-grader. “Can I touch your trophy?” asked another. The answer? The team hadn’t brought the trophy along on the visit.

Moriah Jefferson responded to an inquiry into how the players had developed a passion for basketball. She said that at the age of 5 or 6 she’d begun playing against her brothers. “By seventh or eighth grade, I started to get more serious about it,” she said.

“Where’s Stephanie Dolson?” asked a voice from the audience. Jefferson explained that Dolson had graduated after the 2013-14 season, and was now playing with the Washington Mystics. “We got to see her yesterday at the White House, though,” said Jefferson. “She has purple hair now.”

“Was there any dancing at the White House?” asked a student. The answer was no, although “Stephanie tried to dance and she fell over,” said Jefferson.

“What was the hardest team you faced?” asked the audience. Notre Dame, was the unanimous response.

“What’s the team’s favorite food?” the students wanted to know. Pizza and wings, was the answer. “And vegetables,” added Jefferson, after considering the theme of the visit.