Category Archives: 2013 Big East Tournament

The American Way: Follow The Money To Mohegan Sun

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, American Athletic Conference, Danielle Donehew, Jeff Walz, Jose Fernandez, Louisville women's basketball, Mohegan Sun Arena, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

   More information is beginning to emerge regarding the decision of The American Athletic Conference to hold its first women’s basketball tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

  You’ll recall, especially if you enjoyed dining near the XL Center in Hartford, that the Big East conducted the tournament there for the last nine years.

  But in March 2014, and maybe March 2015, it will be played at the home of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.

 Why did it leave Hartford? Well, primarily because of money.

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Walz Will Have Many Suitors

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Jeff Walz, Louisville women's basketball Date:

Jeff Walz has taken two Louisville teams to the Final Four in his six seasons and now he’s expected to be one of the most sought-after coaches in game this offseason. Ohio State, already turned down by Auriemma, Dawn Staley and Gail Goestenkors, is expected to top the list of suitors.

“Coach is a great guy on and off the court,” Louisville sophomore Sara Hammond said. “ And off the court?? well, on the court as well?? he’s always just making sure that we’re having a good time.  He cracks jokes with every one of us and makes sure we have smiles on our faces.  And he does go above and beyond to make sure that we need everything necessary off the court and on the court.  And he’s there to make us not only better players but better people and prepare us for life.”

Meanwhile, Walz believes there is now reason to believe UConn won’t remain a national power for years to come.

“Right now, no.  I mean, Breanna Stewart is a freshman, so we’re dealing with her for three more years.  And then again, what I like about them is he’s not one to stockpile kids.  It’s not 15 deep with 15 McDonald’s All?Americans.  He’s going to get three or four each year, and then he builds players that go around his system.”

When All Is Said And Done, They Are Just Kids

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Breanna Stewart, Kelly Faris, UConn women's basketball Date:

How did Breanna Stewart celebrate her career-high 29 points in Sunday’s semifinal win over Notre Dame?

“We went back to the hotel. I talked to my parents, got some food, did some rehab and went to my room,” Stewart said. “Bria Hartley is my roommate and we watched SportsCenter for a while. Obviously, they were showing clips of UConn/Notre Dame and it was cool to watch.”

When asked how college has changed her life, Kelly Faris, whose career ends Tuesday, was very honest about it.

“My biggest thing was over-thinking things, being constantly frustrated and trying to fix stuff,” Faris said. “I’m somebody who wants to make things perfect and if it’s not perfect I try to make it so. It doesn’t always benefit us. So that was certainly a big change.”

BREAKING: Jeff Walz To Resign After Title Game To Work For Geno

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Big East women's basketball, Geno Auriemma, Jeff Walz, Louisville women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

In a surprise announcement during his pregame press conference, Louisville coach Jeff Walz said Tuesday’s game will be his last at the school.

A new, lucrative opportunity has come up that will bring him to Connecticut to work for Geno Auriemma:

Here is the Walz’ statement:

“This is going to be my last game at Louisville. It’s been a great six years for me. As a women’s basketball coach, you often wonder what you are going to do [after]. I’ve been to three national championship games in my career [one as a Maryland assistant, two as Louisville coach].

“And now that Geno has given me the opportunity to be a waiter at Geno’s restaurant, I don’t know what the hell else anyone could want out of life. So my goal is to become the head waiter, not just one who sits in the back of the place. I want to be the best damn one he has. I will talk to him after the game Tuesday to see when I can start, to see if we can talk the contract through. Hopefully, we can get things taken care of. It will be an honor to work in his restaurant.”

OK, CALM DOWN, FOLKS. Walz was just kidding after Geno said his shirt Sunday night looked like a tablecloth and that he might hire him to wait in his new place.

Plus, Walz said Geno has promised him that will not need to wear a tie.

“I ran into Shoni Schimmel’s parents on the way over here, and they said they’re all for it [Walz leaving] and the Schimmels are transferring to Connecticut.  So that’s the plus side of him resigning or retiring.
“He doesn’t dress well enough to work in the front room of my restaurant, so he’ll be bussing dishes and taking out the trash in the back until he fixes his attitude.”

McGraw Says She Used Geno Comment To Fire Up Irish Before Big East Final

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Big East women's basketball, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball Date:

Muffet McGraw says she tries not to read many things Geno Auriemma says because they are friendly and she’d like to keep it that way.

She knows Geno likes to dig and McGraw said her nature isn’t to fire back in a public forum. And she was smiling when she said it.

Then she was reminded Saturday of something Auriemma told the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce in March.

Undaunted by three previous defeats to Notre Dame this season, Auriemma said he was confident the result would be different if the teams met again at the women’s basketball Final Four in New Orleans.

“Had we been beaten decisively in all three games, I would feel terrible,” said Auriemma. “But I don’t feel that way at all. My staff, my players and I feel like we lost those three games.

“And we’re not going to lose the next one.”

McGraw said she hadn’t heard about that. But she did hear what he had to say before the Huskies played the Irish for the Big East tournament championship on March 12.

Notre Dame senior Skylar Diggins had said the Irish don’t dislike the Huskies as much as they have a “distaste” for them.

Auriemma said he could relate to that.

“If I was her, I would feel the same way,” he said. “We have seven national championships, they have one. We have Big East [tournament] championships, they have none. If I was her, I’d be upset, too. I think she is telling the truth.”

McGraw said she heard about that and used it to inspire her team.

“I did hear the guarantee for the Big East championship,” McGraw said. “And so that was a great motivational speech I didn’t have to give my team. That was something I did see.”




ESPN Looking Into Notre Dame-UConn Reprise; Lawson Not Worried About Sun

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Asjha Jones, Connecticut Sun, ESPN, Notre Dame women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

Even though UConn and Notre Dame are not scheduled to play next season – the Irish are joining the ACC – an ESPN executive said Saturday the network is trying to work something out between the programs for next season. UConn already has 31 games scheduled, one more than usual. A Notre Dame game would likely mean bumping or delaying a game against another non-conference opponent.

Lawson Says Not To Worry

ESPN’s Kara Lawson, who doubles as a guard for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, says she is not concerned about the problems already mounting for her team a month before training camp begins.

Veteran Asjha Jones, who played for the 2012 Olympic team, announced last week she would not play this season because of lingering injuries. And on Friday, it was learned that third-year forward Danielle McCray would miss the season with an Achilles tear suffered in Italy.

“Asjha’s banged up. I’ve been there before, too. I probably should have sat out the 2009 [WNBA] season,” Lawson said. “When your body can’t do what you need it to do, it’s a miserable place to be. So at least she can rest up and get better.

“But as long as Tina [Charles] and I are healthy, we will be all right.”

Geno Loves Stewie, Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Breanna Stewart, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball Date:

I’m mean, just read this for yourself and draw your own conclusion about how UConn’s Hall of Fame coach feels about his fabulous freshman, Breanna Stewart….

“I think God played a huge trick on everybody else in college basketball. Breanna Stewart walks out on the court and people are thinking, “This is the best athlete in college basketball by far? Really, that’s got to be an April fool’s joke.’

“When you look at her, you don’t expect her to be able to do the things she does, both good and bad. But I am sure that teams don’t expect her to block shots the way she does, to be around the rim as much as she is, to be able to make the plays that most 6-4 or 6-5 kids cant make.

“I know Brittney Griner is 6-8 and she is everything people say she is. But she can’t make the plays Breanna can. That said, Breanna can’t do some of the things Brittney can.

“But there is something about Stewie. When its going well for her, I just have confidence she can do anything on both ends of the floor.”

Geno Says Why He Is Still Coaching UConn – And Will Be Forever

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball Date:

To things you may or may not be aware of:

1). New Mexico head coach Steve Alford, days after signing a 10-year contract to stay at the school, left to become coach at UCLA.

2). Geno Auriemma has been the head coach at UConn for 28 years and apparently, just last week, pushed aside the chance to move to Ohio State to replace Jim Foster:

Why, you might ask:

“Well, Steve Alford hadn’t been at New Mexico for 28 years,” Auriemma said Sunday. “But early on in my career, if someone had come along and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this great offer for you at a larger school with more resources,’ I might have gone. I might have decided it would be better for me [to leave].

“Even after going to the Final Four for the first time in 1991 and winning the national championship in 1995, there weren’t a whole lot of options for me. There weren’t people knocking my door down to coach their programs.

“I guess I am lucky that I just got stuck at Connecticut to win all these championships and making all this money [a five-year extension for $10.86 million signed next week]. And I am still mad about it.”

Geno said the biggest reason he decided to stay, and likely will forever, was that by the time the money and locations were right, his roots were just too deep to dig up.

“It’s funny. When you are young and do not have roots tied to a community, it’s easy to pick up and go,” he said. “You build a program and four or five years later you go some place else.

“Had that opportunity risen [when he was younger], there is no way I would not have gone. There was no way I could envision in 1991 that this would have ever happened [at UConn].

“But its impossible to make a move, especially at this part of my life, unless there is something you really don’t like about where you are or there is something somewhere else you find impossible to resist. That never came up for me. My chances [to move] came later in my life and by that point, I had no interest in them.”

It’s Been A Tough Road For UConn

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball Date:

If you think going 32-4 this season has been easy for Geno Auriemma and his team, this will likely surprise you:

“I don’t think anything could match what we’ve already gone through this season,” Auriemma said. “Stefanie [Dolson] is hobbling, Kaleena [Mosqueda-Lewis] got knocked around Saturday. Its been one thing after another every week.

“In spite of it, we have put ourselves into this situation. Some years it’s been easy, like riding a bike. You just get on it and go. This year has been really, really hard and it’s taken a toll on our players, our coaches and especially Rosemary Ragle [the athletic trainer]. And Dr. Trojian [the team physician]. It’s been a real grind. But despite of it, we are right where we were last year and do something we set as a goal five months ago.

“But we were able to convince them that this [the NCAA Tournament] is a new season and we are almost playing like we played in November when it was all new and all fresh and we weren’t carrying any baggage.

“We’ve taken a different approach as coaches. The players have taken a different approach and so far it is working.”

One other item:

Multiple blogs in Connecticut reported on Saturday that Ohio State basically put a blank check in front to Auriemma in an effort to lure him to replace Jim Foster. Ironically, the intermediary reached out just as the ink was drying on Auriemma’s new five-year, $10.86 million deal at UConn.

Dawn Staley, the former coach at Temple, current coach at South Carolina, is considered the front-runner now.