Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and UConn coach Geno Auriemma are baffled over new developments.
TAMPA, FL–The UConn Women’s Huskies and Tennessee Lady Volunteers’ NCAA Women’s Championship basketball game has been hijacked this month by sixty-two additional games played by some 60+ additional teams. The championship, previously scheduled for March 12, will be pushed all the way to April 8. Some of these charlatan universities inexplicably challenged the two schools to matchups themselves.
“It’s just rude, quite frankly,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. “Our girls were looking forward to our annual preordained slugfest when I got a call from Erica (Naughton, NCAA “Selection Committee”) ordering me to face off against this Cornell school, or something. Never heard of them. Then we had to keep playing more until she was satisfied. I told her, ‘Yeah, sure I’ll play Rutgers, and beat them in the friggin’ regular season finale a month ago’, but she had none of it. Politics, maybe.”
Less understanding were the players themselves. All-American freshman Maya Moore wondered aloud why so many other teams faced off across the country. “I don’t understand what these ‘Regional Tournaments’ are. Is this like, for charity?” Moore said, flipping through the scouting reports of Tennessee offenses as she has each day since mid-October. “It’s very weird.”
“What the hell’s a Texas A&M?” asked Tennessee forward Candace Parker.
Perhaps most baffling were matchups between seemingly randomly chosen schools. “Two weeks ago I caught a game on ESPN2 between Temple and Arizona State in College Park, Maryland,” said Jeff McGintyre, a staff writer for Women’s Hoops Magazine. “Why would Arizona and Pennsylvania teams take a bus there? Who would care? The NCAA would never sanction such a frivolous waste. Meanwhile, the amazing Vols held a free throw shooting contest at that same time and the best we peons could get of that was a live webcast with commentary from Trey Wingo and Nancy Lieberman. Insane.”
Many of the universities were caught off guard by the surprising competitions. University of Hartford Hawks coach Jennifer Rizzotti had sent her team home for spring break after a win over Boston University in the America East Conference Championship. “I thought, great game, something to build on next year, maybe down the road we could send a nice letter to Storrs and see if we could practice against them in a November tune-up,” said Rizzotti from a hotel room in Baton Rouge. “We had to cut three players’ trips to Cancun short for this stupid thing. What’s the point?” In a sign of protest, Pittsburgh University sent only their mascot ROC the Panther to their games. The Panther defeated several women’s teams before losing its third contest to Stanford 72-53.
Not everyone is up in arms. Legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt offered surprisingly conciliatory words. “It’s okay to me, I guess, if other kids want to play. I remember back in the 80s a couple exhibitions before our coronation ceremonies. If a few All-Star junior teams want to play a three on three contest at halftime (in Tampa), I’d be okay with that. They can lower the nets down no problem. We’ll be in the locker room planning to stop that Huskies pressure defense, just like we are at the half of every game we attend.”
“Honestly though, it would be nice to just get the game over with. The fans have been waiting months for an official battle.”
Pressed for comment, NCAA representatives offered puzzling excuses. “The NCAA welcomes each and every one of its Division I schools to do their best to win the national title,” said Division I Committee chair Judy Southard in a press release. “It’s a long, hard road to the Final Four, and you never know who can get hot and win six in a row to cut down the nets. We wish the very best of luck to all our teams. Keep watching for the very best twists and turns in the 2008 season!”
Aside from each other, Tennessee and UConn have never been beaten.