It has come to Geno Aureimma’s attention that Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw may have his number.
In the most literal sense she likely does. For instance, if the Hall of Fame coaches want to chat their numbers are as close as their contact files.
But that’s not what this suggestion refers to.
It means McGraw may have finally mastered the master, figured out how to put her players into position to beat his players on a regular basis.
Monday at Purcell Pavilion, the Irish and the Huskies play for the Big East regular-season championship, on the final day of the season, for the second season straight.
If Notre Dame (15-0 in the Big East) wins, the title belongs to it alone. If the Huskies (14-1) win, they will share it with the Irish.
But UConn will win the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament by virtue of a tiebreaker involving both team’s records against Marquette and Providence.
UConn beat Marquette twice. Notre Dame beat Providence twice. Marquette will finish higher in the Big East standings.
Since April 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, the day the Irish (27-1, 15-0) avenged three earlier losses in the season by beating the Huskies in the national semifinals, the numbers scream at you.
“Anytime you play an opponent that is capable of beating you, as many times as Notre Dame has, it certainly changes the game a little,” Auriemma said. “It impacts the coaching staff, the players.
“You start to look at everything through a different lens.”
Consider the zoom that brings UConn’s plight to light: Notre Dame has beaten UConn (27-2, 14-1) five of the last six times they’ve played.
“People say she has my number, well, it took 28 losses [from 1996-2011] for her to get it and she’s lot smarter than that,” Auriemma said. “It’s not me against Muffet.
“What the world doesn’t want to believe is, when I had Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Rita Williams and Renee Montgomery, I [UConn] had everyone’s number. She [McGraw] has Skylar Diggins now, who may be the best point guard in the country. They have everyone’s number now.
“It’s funny how the phone number is attached to a really good point guard.”
Ring-ring-ring. It’s time for UConn to answer the call.
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