John Adams: UConn one big victory shy of Lady Vols

John Adams
Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma smiles after beating Kentucky in the women's NCAA regional final basketball game in Bridgeport, Conn., Monday, April 1, 2013. Connecticut won 83-53 and advances to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma smiles after beating Kentucky in the women's NCAA regional final basketball game in Bridgeport, Conn., Monday, April 1, 2013. Connecticut won 83-53 and advances to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Tennessee-Connecticut women’s basketball rivalry will resume tonight in New Orleans with a slight variation. Tennessee won’t be there.

But its fans will, if only in spirit.

Never mind if the Lady Vols aren’t playing in the national championship game. How can UT fans not have a rooting interest in Louisville vs. Connecticut? The stakes are too high to ignore it.

The Huskies are on the verge of tying Tennessee’s women’s basketball record with eight national championships, which means any serious Tennessee fan will turn a Louisville shade of red by tip-off time.

Not that it takes a trophy for UT to embrace whomever UConn is playing. Cheering against the Huskies is a Tennessee tradition more than 20 years old. The volume just increases on a championship stage.

So what if the Lady Vols canceled the series six years ago. The competition has continued.

Current score: Tennessee 8, Connecticut 7.

The score likely will have to be updated this evening. But there’s still hope for Tennessee. Fifth-seeded Louisville was good enough to upend No. 1 Baylor in the Sweet 16 and good enough to lead the Lady Vols by 20 points before winning by eight in the Elite Eight. Maybe it has more tournament magic in reserve.

Louisville’s unexpected run through the tournament has taken a curious twist from a Tennessee perspective. The Lady Vols could celebrate the upset of Baylor in that it greatly enhanced their chances of making the Final Four. Or so they thought.

But once the Cardinals defeated the Lady Vols, Connecticut became the ultimate beneficiary of Louisville’s victory over the Lady Bears.

Now, without Baylor to block their way, the Huskies are in position to claim a Tennessee-tying national title.

They have a history of not wasting such opportunities. Coach Geno Auriemma has never lost a national championship game.

If he’s 8-0 following tonight’s game, the victory will cap an impressive comeback. After Tennessee won a third consecutive national championship in 1998, it had six titles to only one for Connecticut.

There’s nothing mysterious about the Huskies’ recent success. They have won national titles, just as the Lady Vols did, by recruiting the best players.

When UT won championships from 1996 through 1998, it had four-time All-American Chamique Holdsclaw leading the way. When it won its last two championships in 2007 and 2008, it had Candace Parker, the sport’s most dominant player at the time.

UConn won three national championships with Diana Taurasi at point guard. It won two more with four-time All-American Maya Moore. Win or lose against Louisville, Connecticut should be favored to win another national championship in 2014.

Baylor will be without player of the year Brittney Griner. Notre Dame won’t have All-American point guard Skylar Diggins. And Connecticut will have not one, but three, of the best players in the country — All-Americans Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, as well as emerging star Breanna Stewart, who scored 29 points in the Final Four victory against Notre Dame.

Tennessee won’t have that much talent. But it will have 6-foot-6 high school player of the year Mercedes Russell, who should be a promising addition to a team that loses only two starters.

That should be enough incentive for UT fans to purchase Final Four tickets. After all, the event will be at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

And even if the Lady Vols don’t make it, their fans could at least have a chance to pull against a Connecticut program going for a ninth national championship.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 39

murrayvol writes:

Now this is the Louisville team that I REALLY want to win.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

John Adams, do you really think that anyone who knows anything about Lady Vols basketball doesn't already know that? What a waste of newspaper space. Once again you've managed to report the obvious.

lstbodeanvol writes:

GO LADY CARDS!!!!

tovolny writes:

Stupid article by a inept sportswriter. I think most Vol fans are just hoping the best team wins. Because at Tennessee, the basketball LadyVols make their own history. We have a bunch more banners to hang and they will be hung based on how well we play, nothing else. Adams is just like a sore hang nail, we need to just bite it off and spit it out.

SummittsCourt writes:

ja, you are such a piece... why write this crapp?

frblalack writes:

Facts are not clear...as usual. First you said UCONN was one behind Lady Vols at 7 National Titles & then you end your pathetic article stating UCONN is going for their 9TH. What is it John? Or do you not have a proofreader? Or do you even care about your discrepancies? Al Dunning...NOT!

Ready for John Adams to go the way of Andrew Drivel & a few other inept writers coddled by the KNS.

VFL

meknly writes:

To frblalack,
At the end of the article, John is talking about next season's Final Four. He is saying that if UConn wins tomorrow they would have eight titles and next season could be going for their ninth.

signed,
a proofreader

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

Yet another reason to be pulling for Louisville.

orangecountyvols writes:

"Tennessee doesn't have that much talent."
Well Adams, that is pretty much consistent with your manner of writing. What a jerk.

With your passion for anyone or anything but Tennessee, why not expand a bit and give everyone a few more lines about U Conn, the best team "money can buy."

If you had your way, you'd give the 2014 trophy to them right away. Mayber they'll win it anyway, however no need for you to get giddy this early.

NYCApple writes:

Adams!!!....phhhssssstttttt (wet fart noise)

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

I posted my first comment after reading only the headline. Now that I read this "article", I'm sorry I wasted my time.

Congratulations, John, you've reached a new low. If you had written this piece in college (did you attend?), you'd have flagged it with flying colors. It appears that as time goes on, you've gradually come out of the closet as the UConn fan that deep down, you really are.

You should move to Hartford, you'd like it there.

dirislr#209355 writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

John Adams, do you really think that anyone who knows anything about Lady Vols basketball doesn't already know that? What a waste of newspaper space. Once again you've managed to report the obvious.

Why did you read the article?

Damitman writes:

Doesn't matter what UConn does, Gino will never be able to equal Pat when it comes to the contrabutions made to Womens basketball. She actually changed the game entirely! Gino can never do that. He will always have to follow her lead no matter how many championships he wins. But he does lead in one catagory, braging! He sure knows how to run his big worthless mouth.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to dirislr#209355:

Why did you read the article?

I didn't read it !!! I didn't have to, I could tell by the byline that it was trash that only UConn fans would enjoy reading. Based on the title of his articles I read maybe one out of a hundred.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to frblalack:

Facts are not clear...as usual. First you said UCONN was one behind Lady Vols at 7 National Titles & then you end your pathetic article stating UCONN is going for their 9TH. What is it John? Or do you not have a proofreader? Or do you even care about your discrepancies? Al Dunning...NOT!

Ready for John Adams to go the way of Andrew Drivel & a few other inept writers coddled by the KNS.

VFL

yes knucklehead, next year they would be going for 9. Seriously? Can we read?

VolzsFan writes:

in response to Damitman:

Doesn't matter what UConn does, Gino will never be able to equal Pat when it comes to the contrabutions made to Womens basketball. She actually changed the game entirely! Gino can never do that. He will always have to follow her lead no matter how many championships he wins. But he does lead in one catagory, braging! He sure knows how to run his big worthless mouth.

Whatever.....he has more Final Fours. He will have more National Titles. A better winning % in the regular season as well as the tournament. He wiped the floor head to head with Pat and did all of this in less time than she did. Not to mention he did it in a better era without the benefits of outlaw transfers the way Pat built her teams.

Get it through your head. In every, not some, category Gino is the better coach....PERIOD!!!

orangehead writes:

Better coach, hardly, unless you limit your criteria--Pat saw the big picture and not only helped Tennessee be great, she helped advance Women's basketball by playing a top notch schedule which provided good TV games (thus exposure) and was willing to go on the road everywhere (more exposure). In so doing, those she played would have record home crowds thus increasing interest and exposure for that school's team. Pat helped transform a sport from an afterthought to one that has greatly expanded in interest, attendance, quality of play and resources invested by schools in the programs. In addition, Tennessee's success gave Geno a model, a target and a rivalry that helped him build his program--so he owes a lot to Pat. Geno is no doubt a great coach (his O strategy has always been the standard and this year they are playing lights out D) but when you broaden the coach category to ambassador (as Pat is continuing to do now in a different arena), integrity, respect AND winning--Geno's a great coach, but a distant second.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Whatever.....he has more Final Fours. He will have more National Titles. A better winning % in the regular season as well as the tournament. He wiped the floor head to head with Pat and did all of this in less time than she did. Not to mention he did it in a better era without the benefits of outlaw transfers the way Pat built her teams.

Get it through your head. In every, not some, category Gino is the better coach....PERIOD!!!

*yawn*. *poot*

GBOEngineer writes:

UConn will win 3 or 4 more titles before Geno retires. UT will never win another. Sad, but true.

Damitman writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Whatever.....he has more Final Fours. He will have more National Titles. A better winning % in the regular season as well as the tournament. He wiped the floor head to head with Pat and did all of this in less time than she did. Not to mention he did it in a better era without the benefits of outlaw transfers the way Pat built her teams.

Get it through your head. In every, not some, category Gino is the better coach....PERIOD!!!

What I'm trying to get through your thick skull you huskie want-a-be, without Pat Summit there would be no Gino the beno mouth of the north!!!

MetroplexMojo writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Whatever.....he has more Final Fours. He will have more National Titles. A better winning % in the regular season as well as the tournament. He wiped the floor head to head with Pat and did all of this in less time than she did. Not to mention he did it in a better era without the benefits of outlaw transfers the way Pat built her teams.

Get it through your head. In every, not some, category Gino is the better coach....PERIOD!!!

Before you go on a rant, you need to learn how to count and spell. Coach Summitt has been to 18 Final Fours. Geno has been to 14 and Gino is the guy down at the pizza shop.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to MetroplexMojo:

Before you go on a rant, you need to learn how to count and spell. Coach Summitt has been to 18 Final Fours. Geno has been to 14 and Gino is the guy down at the pizza shop.

Lil zz doesn't care about facts, he just wants some on other his mother to pay attention to him. What a miserable little girl he is. (Sorry Ladies)

cobragolfer writes:

For all of you idiots comparing Four visits... Pat had 9 extra years to get there. Since 1998, UCONN leads UT in National Titles 6-2. Geno has a better career winning percentage. Pat NEVER beat Geno in the title game. Give Geno another 9 years and then take a look at the record books. I like Louisville, but tonight, UCONN will dominate. GO GENO!!!!

TrouserCough writes:

Go UConn!!!!

VolsFan4Lyfe writes:

in response to cobragolfer:

For all of you idiots comparing Four visits... Pat had 9 extra years to get there. Since 1998, UCONN leads UT in National Titles 6-2. Geno has a better career winning percentage. Pat NEVER beat Geno in the title game. Give Geno another 9 years and then take a look at the record books. I like Louisville, but tonight, UCONN will dominate. GO GENO!!!!

Truth is both are good coaches! Pat's name will always be synonomous with women's basketball because of how she put it to the forefront..Geno came along at a time where people got tired of dominant UT and became a good foe for UT. Pat had 9 extra years because she was hired earlier. Geno was an assistant and could have applied for jobs but didnt!

They are the same age and truth is Geno has been blessed with health and is not suffering from this dreadful disease...So lets not say where he may be in 9 years because Pat may have won more titles if her health allowed it!

jt45 writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Whatever.....he has more Final Fours. He will have more National Titles. A better winning % in the regular season as well as the tournament. He wiped the floor head to head with Pat and did all of this in less time than she did. Not to mention he did it in a better era without the benefits of outlaw transfers the way Pat built her teams.

Get it through your head. In every, not some, category Gino is the better coach....PERIOD!!!

Gino is still a loser, Period!No matter what he achieves he will NEVER be Pats equal in any category. In fact he has spent most his career chasing Pats record, and only after her departure from the game does he even get a shot at tying her Championship wins. But he will never measure up to Pat in terms of class and what she did for womens BB.

MetroplexMojo writes:

in response to cobragolfer:

For all of you idiots comparing Four visits... Pat had 9 extra years to get there. Since 1998, UCONN leads UT in National Titles 6-2. Geno has a better career winning percentage. Pat NEVER beat Geno in the title game. Give Geno another 9 years and then take a look at the record books. I like Louisville, but tonight, UCONN will dominate. GO GENO!!!!

So I am an idiot for pointing out a lie and really bad spelling from a troll? It appears that you have the same reading comprehension as the UConn men's team....the team that was too stupid to make the NCAA field this year.

CauseIcan writes:

in response to Damitman:

Doesn't matter what UConn does, Gino will never be able to equal Pat when it comes to the contrabutions made to Womens basketball. She actually changed the game entirely! Gino can never do that. He will always have to follow her lead no matter how many championships he wins. But he does lead in one catagory, braging! He sure knows how to run his big worthless mouth.

Who cares? Obviously not the national media. Last night's men's championship was on network TV during prime time. Where is the women's national championship? On a cable channel going against first run high ratings network TV. Last night's men's game had reruns during most of the game. Women's basketball garners no respect and doesn't generate TV sponsor dollars. It is what it is. By the way, as Diana T. said during her senior year, "We own Tennessee!"

r2d2 writes:

I respect Coach Auriemma's record at UCONN. However, he has been the recipient of some lucky breaks to win 7 NCs. Maya Moore played for him because Pat Summitt was a divorced woman. UCONN defeated Stanford 3 years ago for the NC because Stanford's best player, Janet Appel, was injured. If he wins tonight, and he probably will, it is because Kim Mulkey allowed Louisville to score 82 points on her defense. This should not have happen with Brittney Griner, Odyssey Sims and Brooklyn Pope on her team. Louisville will not score 82 points on UCONN and UCONN could not have defeated Baylor.

volfan2002 writes:

There will always be some belief by many that Geno won a couple of those titles by cheating. Still he has been able to recruit great players up there some were even legitimate. He has a very good system when he gets these players. The fact that he gets to play home games all the way up to the final four does not hurt either. The fact will remain that all 8 of Summitt's titles were won without breaking a single rule. Geno will get that many titles probably more but how many rules he broke to get them especially in recruiting we'll probably never know.

cobragolfer writes:

in response to MetroplexMojo:

So I am an idiot for pointing out a lie and really bad spelling from a troll? It appears that you have the same reading comprehension as the UConn men's team....the team that was too stupid to make the NCAA field this year.

Not at all. But you can't compare Final Four trips based on 9 extra years of going. You have to compare wins and winning percentages. It's a fact that Geno is right there with his National Titles with 9 less years at the helm. And as far as UCONN men... not interested. This is about the women's game. Pat was a great coach, but Holly will not be.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to cobragolfer:

Not at all. But you can't compare Final Four trips based on 9 extra years of going. You have to compare wins and winning percentages. It's a fact that Geno is right there with his National Titles with 9 less years at the helm. And as far as UCONN men... not interested. This is about the women's game. Pat was a great coach, but Holly will not be.

Fist off..How do you have time to write your absurdities while practicing for the masters? Cobra Golfer my big ol' hairy butt. Little bit of EGO there. NO. 2 anybody who would come on this site and show disrespect for Pat is a classless LOSER. You aren't really worthy of anyone's time, however I will take time to tell you this before I sit back and watch you make a total ARSE of yourself. You are pure pond scum for even having the cahoonahs (sp) to post anything contrary to the fact that Pat Summit is the most honorable and respected Womens Basketball Coach of all time. With that, I leave you to wollow in your misery.
...

MetroplexMojo writes:

in response to cobragolfer:

Not at all. But you can't compare Final Four trips based on 9 extra years of going. You have to compare wins and winning percentages. It's a fact that Geno is right there with his National Titles with 9 less years at the helm. And as far as UCONN men... not interested. This is about the women's game. Pat was a great coach, but Holly will not be.

Coach Auriemma and Coach Summitt are going to be 1 and 2 in some order by the time they retire. I think Coach Auriemma will have most of the records and Coach Summitt will have the longer lasting impact on the game.

Back to the Final 4's...the NCAA didn't sanction women's basketball tourneys for Coach Summitt's first seven years (the AIAW did). So, if you are going by NCAA sanctioned Final 4's, Coach Summitt had 18 in 31 years while Coach Auriemma has 14 in 29 years.

Regarding winning percentage, UConn has never scheduled as ambitiously as UT (although they do schedule well). While the Big East is a stronger conference now, the SEC was a much stronger conference during the 80s and 90s. Those two factors more than negate the minor difference in winning percentages.

cobragolfer writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

Fist off..How do you have time to write your absurdities while practicing for the masters? Cobra Golfer my big ol' hairy butt. Little bit of EGO there. NO. 2 anybody who would come on this site and show disrespect for Pat is a classless LOSER. You aren't really worthy of anyone's time, however I will take time to tell you this before I sit back and watch you make a total ARSE of yourself. You are pure pond scum for even having the cahoonahs (sp) to post anything contrary to the fact that Pat Summit is the most honorable and respected Womens Basketball Coach of all time. With that, I leave you to wollow in your misery.
...

Did I show disrespect for your beloved Pat? NO. I even referred to her as a great coach. I said that Geno will end up being the better coach as far as numbers are concerned. Pat Head Summitt NEVER beat UCONN for the National Title. Now, am I showing disrespect for you? YES! If I wasn't worth anyone's time, I'm glad I captured 10 minutes of yours to read my post and respond... it probably took you that long to think of something. If I'm pond scum, then you are a nasty carp cruising around as a bottom-feeder!! So go wallow in the MUD!!

Ewecon writes:

in response to MetroplexMojo:

So I am an idiot for pointing out a lie and really bad spelling from a troll? It appears that you have the same reading comprehension as the UConn men's team....the team that was too stupid to make the NCAA field this year.

MetroPlex, Your comment about the UConn men's team was ignorant enough without the facts, but when you add the facts - that there's not a current player on the team that was responsible for the poor scores that kept them out of the post season this year - you take ignorant to new levels. Just sayin'

claiborneh writes:

Pat and Geno won all their championships with the best of the best in a sport without as much parity as other sports. Get a Griner, Taurasi, Holdzclaw and you are expected to be in the title game. The TN vs UConn was about recruiting not as much coaching. When Moore went to UConn, Summitt knew the ramifications.

MetroplexMojo writes:

in response to Ewecon:

MetroPlex, Your comment about the UConn men's team was ignorant enough without the facts, but when you add the facts - that there's not a current player on the team that was responsible for the poor scores that kept them out of the post season this year - you take ignorant to new levels. Just sayin'

Ewecon,

I was referring to the UConn men's basketball program in general but I can see how my comment could be construed towards only the 12-13 team. I know it takes several years of stupidity to get a APR post-season penalty and that the players on the current roster had nothing to do with that. The poster I made that comment towards has previously criticized the results of UT's student athletes in the classroom so it's fair game. I do admit that I could have worded it better.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Whatever.....he has more Final Fours. He will have more National Titles. A better winning % in the regular season as well as the tournament. He wiped the floor head to head with Pat and did all of this in less time than she did. Not to mention he did it in a better era without the benefits of outlaw transfers the way Pat built her teams.

Get it through your head. In every, not some, category Gino is the better coach....PERIOD!!!

Geno is a great coach and UConn has a great program. However, your implied slam against Pat is completely uncalled for, not that that has ever stopped you before. In the days of the AIAW, when very few programs even offered athletic scholarships to women, there were no rules against transfers such as exist today. This was the way it was for everybody, so Pat's transfers were no more "outlaws" than anybody else's.

Of course, if you had read Pat's latest book or bothered with any other factual source, you would have known this. Heck, you probably knew it anyway but just couldn't resist another gratuitous slam against what will ALWAYS be the greatest coach of the greatest program in women's basketball history. Even Geno has stated that without Pat and her program, nobody would even care about women's basketball today. Others can be great, but no one can ever be the pioneer Pat was, and few will ever approach her character. Too bad we can't say the same about YOU!

tennezz writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Whatever.....he has more Final Fours. He will have more National Titles. A better winning % in the regular season as well as the tournament. He wiped the floor head to head with Pat and did all of this in less time than she did. Not to mention he did it in a better era without the benefits of outlaw transfers the way Pat built her teams.

Get it through your head. In every, not some, category Gino is the better coach....PERIOD!!!

If Geno wins 40,000 games and 1,000 NC`s he will still be the AH of women`s basketball!

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