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.”
If it were to happen, it wouldn’t be this season. The Huskies have a full schedule of non-conference games already set for 2013-14 and the program does not like to back out of existing deals to make room for others.
The programs have combined to win 13 of the past 19 NCAA titles. UConn, the defending national champ, has defeated the Lady Vols in four national national championship games, the last in 2004.
They had played annually in the regular season from 1995-2007 before Summitt pulled the plug, citing her disappointment with the UConn program and Auriemma.
In her memoir “Sum It Up,” Summitt said her relationship with Auriemma had deteriorated because of unspecified problems, thought to be associated with the way the Huskies recruited Maya Moore, who became UConn’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
But Summitt, now battling early-onset dementia, also said the two have a renewed friendship.
“We are in the best place we’ve ever been,” Summitt wrote. Auriemma donated $10,000 to her foundation.
After the original photo of Auriemma and Warlick appeared in June, The Courant contacted the Tennessee women’s basketball office in the effort to interview Warlick. UConn has already admitted it would be in favor of a series renewal.
Tennessee would not put her on the phone, issuing a statement that the program had not changed its mind about playing UConn.
Sources have since told the Courant that Warlick will not reschedule UConn out of respect to Summitt’s wishes and that while Summitt’s relationship with Auriemma has apparently mended, Warlick apparently is not ready to forgive and forget.