Writer: Richard Deitsch
Game: Connecticut-Old Dominion
Post time: 3:57 p.m., Sunday
GREENSBORO -- The end of the Rutgers-George Washington game can't come soon enough because today has been interminable. Greensboro Coliseum is half-empty and the upper tier is covered by black curtains. Black is an appropriate color. It's rainy outside and the atmosphere reminds me of a Knicks game. Rutgers leads George Washington 42-32 with 9:22 left in the second half and UConn beat Old Dominion 78-63 in the first game.
So here comes the first heavyweight fight of the NCAA women's tournament. You'll hear a lot of chatter over the next 48 hours about how the Rutgers-UConn rivalry (the teams split two games this year) has become the nation's best, but you won't hear that from the UConn staff.
"At this point, playing Rutgers is not about a rivalry," says Connecticut assistant coach Jamelle Elliott. "It's about winning a game that we haven't won in a few years."
No kidding. The Huskies last played in a Final Four in 2004, which for fickle UConn fans may as well be 1904. UConn coach Geno Auriemma has long described the regional final as the toughest game to win in the NCAA tournament. He is 8-6 lifetime in Elite Eight games.
"I call it the Hilary step at Everest," Auriemma said. "More people die at the spot than anywhere else."