but a bunch of other folks sure as heck did: Tennessee vs. Connecticut 20-year Anniversary
The series lasted for 22 games, including four matchups for the NCAA title (all won by UConn) and two others in the national semifinals (split by the teams). Former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt called a halt to the regular-season series after the 2007 season, and the programs have yet to meet again in the NCAA tournament.
Loyalists on both sides — and the rest of us who just watched and chronicled the spectacle — haven’t completely stopped talking about UConn-Tennessee ever since.
Now, though, rather than exhaustively exploring the entire series — which stands at UConn 13, Tennessee 9 — or the tangled, endlessly debated intrigue of why it ended, let’s look instead at what isn’t in dispute: How important to women’s basketball it was that the rivalry started.
From Jim Fuller at the New Haven Register: Jen Rizzotti reflects on UConn’s historic win over Tennessee
“It has become pretty apparent since that game how important it was with the rivalry with UConn and Tennessee,” said Rizzotti, now in her 16th season as the head coach at Hartford. “But it’s also the attention that is being given to women’s basketball because of that game, the tradition of having a great women’s basketball game on Martin Luther King Day. I think we all get it now. But leading up to that game, it was just a chance for us, with a little chip on our shoulder, to show we were better than maybe they thought we were. We were good enough to compete at that level and beat a team like Tennessee.”
It’s a lesson Texas is learning. First they lose to ISU, and then they get stomped by the “what’s going on with them?” Sooners. Suddenly, the Longhorns are 2-2 in the Big 12 and Oklahoma is a 4-0. Yes, Baylor looks like the class of the 12, but keep on eye on Pebley’s Horned Frogs (Oklahoma’s next opponent.).
And THIS is why I couldn’t jump in whole hog with the Mississippi State folks: The #15 Bulldogs lose their first game to Vanderbilt, and then follow that with a double-overtime loss to “Oiy, we were having a season to forget until the indefinitely suspended Danielle Ballard returned” LSU, 71-69.
Oklahoma State’s Liz Donohoe hit 1,500.
They aren’t what they have been, but the Great Danes still atop the American East (and coach Abrahamsson-Henderson earned her 200th victory). AND they’ve already beaten their competition, the NH Wildcats. Rematch on Feb. 4th.
So Conference USA looks to be having an interesting year. Perennial power Middle Tennessee fell (again) (at home) to Southern Miss in OT (77-75) and Western Kentucky is 4-0 within the conference. Mark your calendars: the Toppers face USM on Jan 31st and MTSU on Feb. 21st. BTW, next up for the Blue Raiders? Summitt’s Techsters.
The first-year Lousiana Tech women’s basketball coach was born here. He went to high school here. He went to college here. He even married his high school sweetheart, who – to no one’s surprise – is from Tennessee.
So when the 24-year-old takes the court Saturday as a head coach for the first time in the same state where he grew up and that his mother – former University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt – racked up more than 1,000 wins and eight national championships in, he should feel right at home.
Both Fordham and George Washington are undefeated within the A-10. They don’t meet until Feb. 21st, but the Rams shouldn’t overlook their next opponent, VCU (3-1 in-conference.). BTW, congrats to Kimberly Beck and nice of WaPo to notice the Colonials: Jonquel Jones has GW women’s basketball team plotting return to NCAA tournament
Jonquel Jones returned to the Washington area because she wanted to play college basketball in a winning environment. In her first full season since transferring to George Washington, she is helping restore one.
Man, the WCC looks like it’s going to be fun.
The Gazette’s Mike Hlas notes: Iowa women’s basketball team wins, entertains – Hawkeyes are 40-12 since start of last season
This isn’t exactly a news bulletin, but Lisa Bluder is getting it done at Iowa.
Bluder has been the Hawkeyes’ women’s basketball coach for 15 years, and her teams of the last two seasons have been as good as any she’s had at Iowa. They may be her best.
BTW: A note from AP’s Doug on the Arizona/ASU “error:” It was fixed once it was noticed — and it wasn’t a “not knowing the difference” mistake. The voter actually had Arizona State in their poll originally, but there was a cut and paste error.