Tennessee women’s basketball coach Holly Warlick admitted Monday in an interview with the Associated Press that she approached UConn about the possibility of resuming the long-latent series between the two national powerhouses.
But it’s extremely unlikely that it will happen – mostly because Tennessee isn’t really interested in the concept.
Geno Auriemma and Warlick were photographed together at last month’s Women’s Hall of Fame ceremony in Knoxville. Both were smiling. That indicated to some a possible break in the ice between the programs dating to Pat Summitt’s decision in 2007 to end the series.
Warlick told the Associated Press that she mentioned to Auriemma she’d like to talk about a resumption, at some point, but then added the talks haven’t progressed since then.
“I don’t think it’s going to work out,” Warlick told The Associated Press Monday. “I don’t know. I’ve put it out there. We haven’t discussed it since.”
Was roaming around the web this afternoon – what else to do on a rainy day – and noticed this piece on SwishAppeal.com that mentioned the possibility of UConn and Tennessee playing again some day in the regular season.
I had to look because I would love it if it happened.
But I need to tell you this: Earlier this week I called Tennessee after seeing a picture of Geno and Holly Warlick in the Knoxville News taken on Women’s Hall of Fame induction night last Saturday.
They were smiling. Broadly. I grew hopeful. Peace at last.
So I called Tennessee on Monday and asked if I could speak to Warlick to ask her if this picture meant good things for the renewal of the series that ended in 2007.
Tennessee would not even put her on the phone.
I was told the program had made a statement in May saying the series would not be renewed and they were sticking to their story.
So take that for what its worth. I have been told by a few people that ride the fence in this rivalry, meaning they don’t take partisan sides, that Warlick will not reschedule UConn out of respect to Coach Summitt’s wishes.
And as long as Coach Summitt is anywhere near the program, it is not expected to happen – not for the good of the game, not to promote the Summitt’s charity, not if ESPN crawls to Knoxville on its knees.
So be it, Tennessee. Good luck to you.
UConn likely will be there in March playing for a ninth national title, not the least bit exhausted from its season in The American.
Maybe the Lady Vols will be, too.