The long and always interesting rivalry between UConn and Rutgers in the Big East and American Athletic Conference will live on after this season as non-conference opponents.
Senior women’s athletic administrators from both programs said Sunday the teams are likely to play next season on a neutral floor, either Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
After that, pending a signed contract, the series will continue with a home-and-away in 2015-16. Rutgers moves to the Big Ten after this season.
Both Geno Auriemma and Vivian Stringer, Rutgers Hall of Fame coach, have said all season that the series would continue, although both weren’t clear about how it would look once the contracts are signed.
“We know that we want to play,” Stringer said. “We are going to make it happen. I have made it clear that this is something we want. And we are going to do everything we can to make it happen.”
In addition, UConn will begin a series with LSU of the Southeastern Conference with a game in Connecticut in 2015-16.
“Deb Corum [UConn’s senior athletic administrator] and I talk all the time about looking for possible games in the five major conferences,” Auriemma said. “We especially want to play in those leagues we don’t have a big presence in [like the Big Ten].
“We talk every week, she tells me whose interested in playing us and when, and by the time I hear about a possible series or game, it’s pretty much definite.”
And UConn’s game with Notre Dame will be played on Dec. 6, 2014 in South Bend, Ind.
Tuck petition coming soon
Corum said Sunday the university will file the application to secure a medical hardship season for sophomore Morgan Tuck immediately after the end of the season.
Corum said the university is confident that Tuck, who played in only eight games before knee surgery ended her season in January, will meet the requirements needed to qualify for a fifth year.
The application will be forwarded to the NCAA by the American Athletic Conference and is expected to be adjudicated soon after.
The postseason brings its own syncopation to the way the players must prepare. In many ways it’s different than the pace they deal with in the regular season when games are most spread out than they are at events like the AAC Tournament where they will play three games in three days.
“It can be [different],” Auriemma said. “I like it when the kids are busy in class during the day. It’s better for them not be sitting around just thinking about the game. You get sluggish and when kids sit around in dorms or hotel rooms with nothing to do they sleep. And the more you sleep, the more you want to sleep.
“Then again, at this time of year every team is in the situation. We’re all going through the same thing. So there’s no substitute for the experience of having been through it all before, knowing how to prepare for it. … Hopefully, we have enough players who know what to do when it’s time to get ready.”
So far, so good
Danielle Donehew, associate commission of the Big East for women’s basketball, said Sunday that the Mohegan Sun has been getting rave reviews from AAC athletic directors and senior women’s administrators in attendance.
“In fact, I think they [Mohegan Sun] should think about having a holiday tournament [for the women] here,” Stringer said. “I think it would go over well.”
What that means, of course, is the AAC seems likely to pick up its option and return to the facility for the 2015 tournament. The decision will be voted up on the AAC meetings in Miami Beach in late May.
UConn has trailed for just 38:49 in the first 1,320 minutes of the season … Stefanie Dolson scored 15 points and now has 1,709 in her career, passing Ann Strother (1,699) into 12th place in UConn’s all-time scoring list. … Bria Hartley (1,890) continues her assault on 2,000 career points. She would be just the eighth player in program history to do that. .. Rutgers outscored UConn, 38-33, in the second half and did not take a three-point shot this season, a first in UConn’s 33 games. “If you can’t hit them, why would you take them,” Stringer said.