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Geno: Women’s tourney should stay its own entity


HOUSTON — UConn girls’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma is attending his first males’s NCAA Closing 4 since 1981, when he occurred to dwell within the host metropolis of Philadelphia and had a ticket. He recalled occurring the identical day that President Ronald Reagan was shot.

His return to the occasion greater than 4 many years later reaffirmed his opinion that the lads’s and girls’s Closing Fours ought to by no means be mixed. This has been a dialogue matter since gender fairness points arose through the 2021 NCAA tournaments and it included a proper advice of mixing the lads’s and girls’s Closing Fours.

“The Houston Astros are the defending World Collection champions,” Auriemma instructed ESPN at NRG Stadium on Sunday. “No one cares (right here). They do not even know they exist. The Lakers and Rockets (enjoying on Sunday) and these items. The Closing 4 swallows all of it up, like whales eat winnows. If we had been to be put on this surroundings as a girls’s match, we might lose all the pieces that is occurring in Dallas proper now.”

Auriemma mentioned that having the ladies’s Closing 4 in a distinct venue than the lads’s is not indicative of the caliber of the video games being much less compelling.

“What you are seeing (this weekend) is that when you’ve got your individual distinctive product it really works, as a result of it is an alternate,” Auriemma mentioned. “It is not one thing that is inferior. It is an alternate. (For those who do not prefer it), then do not flip the sport on. However six million folks flip it on. It is an alternate. It is a completely different viewing choice.”

Whereas Auriemma spoke exterior UConn’s males’s follow on Saturday at NRG Stadium, the NCAA girls’s remaining was being performed in Dallas. It marked the primary time in 14 years that Auriemma did not have a group within the Closing 4, and he is excited to see the game have a galvanizing second. Even when his Huskies weren’t concerned.

“Earlier than the ladies’s World Cup Closing within the Rose Bowl, how many individuals in America thought that that was one thing that was going to be must-see TV?” he requested. “How about no one? Look what one match did to provoke your complete nation behind girls’s soccer. So it takes a second like that, a match like that.”

Auriemma added that the game must be targeted on capitalizing on the momentum, which included 6 million viewers on ESPN for the semi-final recreation between South Carolina and Iowa. (The ladies’s remaining, which noticed LSU defeat Iowa, 102-85, was on ABC for the primary time and the looks on broadcast tv will solely assist rankings.)

Auriemma talked about that the second that Iowa star Caitlin Clark was having this weekend, regardless of shedding within the remaining, did not go unnoticed by this star guard, Paige Bueckers. As a freshman, Bueckers gained a number of Nationwide Participant of the Yr awards after averaging 20 factors and 5.7 assists per recreation. She missed time with an harm as a sophomore and didn’t play all this season after tearing her ACL over the summer time.

Auriemma predicted one solution to capitalize on the momentum was for Bueckers to face-off with Iowa’s Clark, who averaged 27.7 factors per recreation this 12 months, within the title recreation. “Subsequent 12 months, if it is these two within the remaining,” Auriemma mentioned, “it will not be six million, it’s going to be 10 million.”

After Clark scored 41 factors in each the Elite Eight and the nationwide semi-final, Auriemma mentioned his center daughter, Alysa, introduced up an correct analogy of Clark’s expertise and magnificence.

Auriemma mentioned: “My daughter mentioned, ‘She’s Pete Maravich.’ And I believed, ‘You understand what? She’s proper. She’s Pete Maravich with the 3-point line.’ She has free rein to take any shot, anytime, from anyplace and he or she believes that it is getting in.”

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