Who Goes To The Ball? Cinderella Hopes It’s Her

by Categorized: 2014 NCAA women's tournament Date:

For the last month or so, as Notre Dame and UConn continued their unbeaten rolls to the NCAA Tournament, everyone who might step in their path has heard the favored national storyline reverberate.
After all, a national championship game Tuesday at the Bridgestone Arena between the Huskies and Irish would not only be a rematch of former Big East conference rivals but the title game meeting of unbeatens in the history of Division I women’s basketball.
Yes, that would a story. But it’s one Stanford would not read.
“I think the media has kind of put them [Notre Dame and UConn] in the championship game to make it some Cinderella ball; wouldn’t it be great to see these two undefeated teams?,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “But Brenda Frese [the Maryland coach] and my team are here.
“If we’re going to be someone’s hors d’oeuvres, we’re not going to get swallowed easily.  We are going to work really hard to play the best game that we can.  We definitely talk about it.  … I think if our team has had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder, then I’ve carried it, too.”
Sunday, the Cardinal (33-3) and Huskies (38-0) meet in the second national semifinal, a game that will start at approximately 9 p.m. The winner plays the Notre Dame-Maryland winner for the hardware.
For UConn, the task is an emotional one, now that its men’s team has made its way into Monday’s title game against Kentucky. The women want to join them, do their part to join the 2004 teams and create just the second dual championship in college basketball history.
And Geno Auriemma wants no part of being portrayed as an over-confident favorite.
“I don’t think [Maryland and Stanford], or anybody, should feel like they’re the extras at the Miss America pageant.  I’ve never won any pageants.”
This will be the fifth time the programs have played in the Final Four since 1995 and their second meeting this season. The Huskies beat the Cardinals, 76-57, at Gampel Pavilion on Nov. 11, 2013 – the second game of the season for UConn,.
“We’re not intimidated.  We’re excited,” Stanford All-American Chiney Ogwumike said.  “We just want to play our game.  I think no matter the outcome, if we play Stanford basketball, we’ll be happy.  But, granted, we’ll be happier if we win, obviously, and that’s what we’re working towards.”

The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on courant.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.