Category Archives: ACC

Auriemma On Playing ND, DePaul And South Carolina

by Categorized: ACC, American Athletic Conference, DePaul women's basketball, Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

Here is Geno Auriemma talking about the resumption of multi-year series with Notre Dame, DePaul and South Carolina beginning next season. The Huskies will play at Notre Dame and host DePaul and South Carolina.

Please note places where Geno’s tongue is in his cheek:

On DePaul: “Doug Bruno [the DePaul coach and Auriemma's great friend] came up to me and said he really wanted to continue the series if there’s any way we can do it,” Auriemma said. “I said, ‘Fine.’ Then it was just a matter of working it out and I didn’t care where the game [next season] would be played. He told me he needed the game to be [in Connecticut]. so it was just a matter of finding a date. That was painless.”

On Notre Dame: “Notre Dame was a different story. It was difficult. But I did see where Muffet said that we need the game more than [the Irish] do. So I really appreciate her giving us the chance to play them again. i don’t know where we would be without their help the last 10 years or so. Any time you get the chance to play The University of Notre Dame, I don’t think you can pass it up.”

On South Carolina: “The South Carolina game was a product of Deb Corum [UConn's senior athletic administrator] trying to spread [the non-conference schedule] around a little. the focus of it is take the five best conferences in the country and figure out how to balance it out [with series] to get a good mix without it being top heavy.”

“For a while it got kind of top heavy with ACC teams, Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia Tech. We tried to set things up with a couple SEC teams [Tennessee and Georgia] didn’t want to play. But South Carolina wanted to play. So that’s how it came about.”


Four UConn Undergrads Get USA Basketball Invitation To Join Geno In Vegas

by Categorized: ACC, American Athletic Conference, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball Date:

As we told you earlier this week, UConn is going to have a significant undergraduate presence at USA Basketball’s first women’s basketball camp of the new Olympic quadrennial.

Sophomore Breanna Stewart, last year’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player, and All-Americans unior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley will be among a group of college players invited to join the pros in Las Vegas from Oct. 4-6.

Includied in Coach Geno Auriemma’s first player-group are also 13 Olympic and/or FIBA World Championship gold medalists, including WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne. And we all know what that means, right UConn fans?

The camp will be used to identify players for the USA National Team pool, from which the 2014 USA World Championship Team will be selected. Invitations to attend the training camp were issued by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee.

  Returning veterans are three-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); two-time Olympic gold medalists Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) and Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks); 2012 Olympic gold medalists Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx); and Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Further, Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), both of whom aided the USA to a gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, are set to attend camp.

            Also accepting invitations were: DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix Mercury), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Lindsey Harding (Los Angeles Sparks), Briann January (Indiana Fever), Glory Johnson (Tulsa Shock), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Kayla McBride (University of Notre Dame), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Odyssey Sims (Baylor University), Alyssa Thomas (University of Maryland), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx) and Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars).

            Athletes involved in the WNBA Finals will be unable to attend the training camp.

            “The Committee did a great job of identifying players for this camp,” said Geno Auriemma, 2013-16 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach. “First, you have some who have helped us already win world championships and gold medals at the Olympics and those who certainly we need to take a look at to prepare for the future. Ideally you would love to have a team that is comprised of enough veteran leadership, enough young players with experience and enough young players who might be there for the first time. Within this group we have a mixture of all of those.

            “I think what the Committee did, which I think is interesting, there are a lot of young WNBA players who are on the list, and with an eye toward the future there are players who have excelled at the college level already and who have also excelled at USA Basketball at a young age, who three years from now, four years from now, are going to be WNBA players. So, it’s great to get a head start to see where the future really lies. I think that’s one thing USA Basketball has always been great at, preparing for the future. This is another great example of that.”

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ESPN Announces Times Of Two More UConn Games

by Categorized: ACC, American Athletic Conference, Louisville women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

The complete UConn women’s basketball schedule is to be released on Wednesday at 1 p.m. But little bits and pieces continue to seep out of the secret vault.

The latest: ESPN’s announcement Monday that it will televise both games between the Huskies and Louisville, its opponent in last season’s national championship game and likely its toughest competition in the first year of The American Athletic Conference.

The two games will be played Feb. 9 at UConn at 1 p.m. and March 3, the regular-season finale at Louisville at 7 p.m.

So here is what we have right now:

Nov. 1 vs. Gannon (exhibition)


Nov. 6 vs. Philadelphia (exhibition)


Nov. 9 vs. Hartford


Nov. 11 vs. Stanford


Nov. 15 at Maryland


Nov. 17 at Penn State


Nov. 20 vs. Oregon


Nov. 22 vs. Boston University (2013 Hall of Fame Classic)


Nov. 23 Monmouth (2013 Hall of Fame Classic)


Nov. 24 St. Bonaventure (2013 Hall of Fame Classic)


Dec. 1 vs. Ohio State (2013 Hall of Fame Classic) at Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, Mass.


Dec. 5 vs. UC Davis


Dec. 17 at Duke (Jimmy V Classic)


Dec. 22 vs. California (Maggie Dixon Classic) at Madison Square Garden


Jan. 13 at Baylor

Feb. 9 Louisville

March 3: at Louisville

Louisville leaves the American after this season for the ACC. UConn? Who the heck really knows the answer to that question right now?


Make Sure You Tip Your Waiter: It Might Be Jeff Walz

by Categorized: ACC, American Athletic Conference, Jeff Walz, Louisville women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

During the summertime, I often reach out to various women’s basketball programs and coaches, for no other reason than just say hello or try to include them in one of the stories I am writing.

The majority of them get it and are a pleasure to deal with.

Some of them don’t get it at all and throw up walls.

Anyway, one of my favorites is Louisville coach Jeff Walz, who has every right to be standoffish since his program has played in two national championship games since 2009, unlike some of the other programs I’ve dealt with. But he’s far from it.

I contacted him the other day to talk about The American’s decision to play its inaugural postseason tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena because I knew it was something he’d long wanted to try.

It’s too bad Louisville will only play in one of them before joining the ACC. But if you look at the The American’s roster of women’s teams, you’d have to think the Cardinals will be in the conference championship game along with UConn.

Anyway, I asked Jeff what he thought and his mind returned to one of the funniest exchanges from last year’s Final Four between he and Geno Auriemma. You’ll remember when Geno joked about the checkered shirt Jeff wore in the national semifinal game against California.walz

“He looks like a waiter,” Geno said.

Walz laughed it off and is still laughing about it. This is what he said about Louisville playing at Mohegan Sun, the home of Geno’s Fast Break Restaurant:

“I’m hoping to be a guest waiter one night during the Tournament at Geno’s Restaurant,” Walz said.

I see a promotion brewing in my mind…….

As It Waits For AAC Approval, Mohegan Sun Doubtful To Get NCAA Blessing

by Categorized: ACC, American Athletic Conference, Chris Sienko, Connecticut Sun, Gampel Pavilion, Mohegan Sun Arena, NCAA, UConn women's basketball, Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, WNBA Date:

The Mohegan Sun Arena’s capacity to host postseason women’s basketball was heartily endorsed this week by the coaches and athletic directors of the American Athletic Conference at their inaugural meeting in Florida.
The facility is now waiting for the AAC presidents to approve the start of formal negotiations with the building that is expected to confirm the site as host of the 2014 postseason tournament.
That will process will be starting soon now that the conference coaches and athletic directors have supported it.
Still, that is not how the Mohegan Sun Arena wants this all to end. But it’s motivation to become a big-time suitor for future NCAA Tournaments is likely to be to contested by the NCAA.
On Thursday, Chris Sienko, the GM of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, which open the 2013 season in the arena on Saturday against New York, said the building, host of the 2014 All-Star game in July, wants to immediately bid on future NCAA subregional and regional tournaments.
“We [the Mohegan Sun Arena] were told [by the NCAA] that we couldn’t bid last year [for a regional final] once the NCAA took it away from  Trenton,N.J.,” Sienko said.

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Covering The Bases On The UConn Women

by Categorized: ACC, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

Hey everyone….

Just wanted to take a second to bring your attention to some things. While I’ve been prepping for the start of the WNBA season this weekend, the Courant was kind enough to fly Paul Doyle of our staff to Florida to attend the inaugural spring meeting of the American Conference, in which UConn  will play this season – and into the future (until something better comes up).

The meetings produced two strong bits of news. And you can see what those are by clicking here to read Paul’s wrap-up story

Also, Dom Amore was in the New York City last night to attend the Winged Foot Dinner at the New York Athletic Club where Geno Auriemma and Louisville’s Rick Pitino received their trophies for winning the Division I women’s and men’s basketball  championships in April.

Coach Pitino had some remarkably complimentary things to say about Geno and one UConn player in particular. And you can see what he said simply by clicking here.

Also in regard to UConn, freshman Saniya Chong will be arriving on campus in time for the summer semester that begins July 14. For now, she’s just enjoying the remainder of high school life and working out to prepare herself for what’s to come.

The Connecticut Sun are due to make their final cuts very soon, if not today. They open their first season under Anne Donovan Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena against New York.


Notre Dame AD Mum On Question Of Future ACC Support For UConn

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, ACC, Notre Dame women's basketball, UConn football, UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Tuesday  he “would not comment on hypotheticals” when asked if the university would someday support UConn’s candidacy to join the ACC.

“Twenty-eight years as an attorney has taught me never to [answer hypothetical question]. So I will pass on that hypothetical,” Swarbrick said.

Notre Dame and the Big East reached agreement Tuesday to allow the Irish to move immediately to the ACC after this season instead of delaying their departure until 2014-15.

“We said in September when we made the decision that we thought it was in everyone best interest [for the separation to take place],” Swarbrick said.

Swarbrick would not say whether Notre Dame was asked to pay an exit fee, saying only the university’s deal was the same as the Catholic 7 received to leave.

“It provided us a template,” Swarbrick said. “Whatever you feel the Catholic 7 deal was you can transport to us.”

Swarbrick said the ACC did not ask for any concessions from its football program in return for early entrance.  Notre Dame will play five ACC opponents each season while maintaining a strong non-conference framework.

“There are so many things about [the ACC], the academics, the institutions, the geography,” Swarbrick said. “It works very well for Notre Dame. We contemplate it being a long-term resting place.”

Swarbrick also said he hasn’t heard whether the ACC plans to expand beyond the 15 teams it will have next season. It will remain a 15-team league after next season when Louisville replaces Maryland, who will join the Big Ten

Big East’s Future Could Impact An XL Center Staple

by Categorized: 2012 Big East tournament, ACC, Big East women's basketball, Chuck Steedman, Danielle Donehew, UConn women's basketball, XL Center Date:

While the Big East waits for its seven catholic institutions to decide their future, the conference is busying itself planning for any contingency that may result – including where future conference women’s basketball tournaments will be played after this season.

Danielle Donehew, associate commissioner of the Big East for women’s basketball, says the conference office is waiting just like everyone else for a resolution, buti is not inactive as it does.

“Everything is on the table now, as far as timing and pending litigation of some of our members is concerned,” Donehew said. “That requires to us to pay attention to what may happen, the timing of it all, in terms of making a decision for the future of our sport.”

The Catholic 7 have retained a lawyer and consultant to help it decide what its options are. There’s a possibility the schools could secede and start play in 2013-14, either in a newly named league or one that bears the conference name.

Donehew says the Big East office staff has managed to stay focused on working at if all will be status quo.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with our staff. It’s a tremendous group, talented and committed to the league,” Donehew said. “Many of them have worked here for more than 15 years. It’s been encouraging for someone like me, just in my fourth year, to see.

“And we have taken the approach that we will work with the information we’re given and think outside the box by preparing for any scenario that might happen. We’ve developed a number of contingency plans and strategies which has provided us solid exercises for preparedness.

“There are many possibilities we will be ready when something happens.”

With SMU, Temple, Central Florida, Houston and Memphis, perhaps even Tulane, scheduled to join UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida as basketball schools, the Big East could have as many as 17 or 18 teams or as few as eight next season, depending on the Catholic 7 and Louisville and Notre Dame, which have not officially announced when they will join the ACC.

“We committed, as a conference last year to an 18-year conference schedule [in 2013-14],” Donehew said.

Still, one thinks if a mass exodus left the conference with just eight or nine teams next season, the conference would need to reconsider the format or else be faced with a logistically difficult task.

The Big East currently plays a 16-game conference schedule in women’s basketball.

The Big East tournament, which has been played at the XL Center since 2004, is in the final year of a two-year deal. No one knows what the future of the event will be.

“The XL Center is in its own [managerial] bid process,” Donehew said. “AEG Management is trying to retain its management of the facility. So once that decision is made, then we can do what we need to do as a conference to take into account what our membership wants for what’s best for the future.”

Donehew has had a close working relationship with AEG during her tenure. But she knows change in XL Center management, and a change in league membership, could result in the tournament being moved to a new location.

“As the membership continues to change, we’ll have different people at the table [league members] and we will be able to continue to work on what to do about the championship. We’ll see what the right choice might be.”


Notes From UConn-Duke

by Categorized: ACC, Big East women's basketball, Chris Sienko, Connecticut Sun, Kelly Faris, UConn women's basketball Date:

The Huskies have now won 14 of their last 19 games against teams ranked in the Top 5 by the The Associated Press. That includes this season’s win over No. 1 Stanford and loss to No. 5 Notre Dame.  …Kelly Faris is still ranked first in assist/turnover ratio. She now has 79 assists and 27 turnovers … Duke is the nation’s top three-point shooting team, in terms of percentage (43.2) was 5 of 10 on Monday. But the Huskies are averaging nine per game, which not only leads the nation, but is on course to break the program record (7.2) set during the 2008-09 season. They were 9 of 21 on Monday with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis leading the way by shooting 4 of 8.

Next to a grand

Faris scored 18 points Monday to move within 95 of 1,000. She now has 252 steals, tied with UConn assistant Shea Ralph for seventh in program history … Mosqueda-Lewis , who scored 21 against the Blue Devils, is 137 shy of the 1,000-point milestone. Mosqueda-Lewis is now (48 of 97) from three. … The Huskies have trailed for just 19 minutes, 26 seconds of the first 660 minutes this season.

Block party

Duke sophomore Elizabeth Williams came into the game with at least one block in every game she’s played in college (49) and has totally recovered from a stress fracture in her right leg. She leads Duke in points (15.8), rebounds (5.9) and blocked shots (3.3) per game. She had two more blocks, but scored just 11 points in 33 minutes with six rebounds. … Guard Chelsea Gray was 1 of 6 for two points in 31 minutes.

The Blue Devils came into the game averaging 79.0 points, the most the school has scored since the 2005-06 season. … Connecticut Sun GM Chris Sienko was the game in a scouting capacity.


Duke-UConn: The Belief In The Power Of “Self”

by Categorized: ACC, Big East women's basketball, duke women's basketball, Gampel Pavilion, Geno Auriemma, Joanne P. McCallie, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball Date:

Many programs aspire to be great. Some reach the intersection, get stuck in traffic, grow frustrated and decide it’s easier to just turn and settle for good.

One of the talking points UConn has always used to define its winning way is how it perceives itself heading into big games. The Huskies simply believe success rests more in how they perform than how their opponent does.

Does it work? UConn has played in the last five Final Fours and won seven national championships since 1995. What do you think?

No. 4 Duke is currently the nation’s only unbeaten team (16-0). Two years ago, with a vastly different team and 20-0 record, the Blue Devils came to Gampel Pavilion and left on the tail end of a staggering 36-point loss.

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