I totally believe Becca Bruszewski’s contention, told to Curt Rallo of the South Bend Tribune on Tuesday, that she did not say or do the things she is accused of in relation to verbally dissing UConn after Notre Dame’s win over the Huskies at the Final Four last season.
I also totally believe UConn’s contention something was said that did not sit well with the team or the coaching staff, and because of it, there are some hard feelings among the Huskies.
In all matters such as this, the truth lies somewhere in between Sacramento and Storrs.
I think the most important piece of information in this entire matter was not what was said, or even who said it, but that Geno Auriemma felt it offensive enough to ask Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw about it at the Big East meetings in May, according to Rallo’s story.
Why would Geno unnecessarily confront McGraw, who he considers a friend and gifted coach, about something such as this if he felt it didn’t happen or didn’t actually hear it himself?
Geno can be spontaneous, and sometimes he says things he wishes he hadn’t, but I do not believe he would purposely antagonize her and her program. He probably just wanted an explanation. And if he got one, it may not have been what he was looking for because just last week on his CPTV television show he made reference to something that happened between the teams.
When a coach says something like that, on television, the media naturally follows the path.
Also, a sports information director in the Big East, with no axe to grind and no association with either school, admitted Monday hearing of the incident long before the blogs or Doris Burke’s mention of it on ESPN became public.
Also, a UConn player, when asked if the Bruszewski story was true, and who was in the locker room at the time and would have heard it, who I have a good relationship with, said she couldn’t remember. This is code for “none of your business.” Keeping in the family, folks.
In a way, this is even a little like what Geno said last week after UConn beat Pitt, when he mentioned how he didn’t want to lay it on like Notre Dame allegedly did during its 120-44 win over the Panthers in South Bend.
Publicly, there was no problem with Agnus Berenato and Notre Dame. Privately, there was a big problem, and when Agnus thanked Geno for his treatment, praising his program and his teaching standards, that was all you needed to know about how Pittsburgh felt about how Notre Dame treated it.
In summation, I don’t blame Bruszewski for saying something in the heat of the battle. And even if she did – and there’s some logical debate about intention or whether it even it happened – kids are kids. They are competitive and whatever was said likely was tame in comparison to what players say to each other during a game.
So those of you would want to crucify her, please stop it. Consider all the aggravation this senior had dealing with UConn during her career.
And the same goes for UConn, which may have been using the incident for internal purposes to help inspire the team. Dumber, unintentional slights are often posted on bulletin boards in an effort to make writers and broadcasters and coaches and players and pundits unwitting accomplices in the pregame hype game.
Becca, I believe you. UConn, I believe you. Now believe this, UConn needs to get a lot better quickly if it wants to beat Notre Dame this weekend.
That’s not debatable.