The UConn women's basketball series with Notre Dame this year has raised Husky frustration to an art form. Three times the Huskies had a great chance — or several great chances — and three times the Fighting Irish fended them off, once by a point, once by two points, once in triple overtime.
Now, as fate would have it, they meet again in the national semifinal game Sunday night in New Orleans. Is the lucky leprechaun hiding behind the Notre Dame basket? Or can the Huskies stop playing Sisyphus and start playing to win?
Notre Dame is powered by the remarkable Skylar Diggins, she of the basilisk stare, who like UConn's Diana Taurasi a decade ago seems able to will her team to win. But she's not a solo act. "Notre Dame is just a really, really good team. They are well coached, in great shape, play tough defense and have a scoring offense," according to the well-regarded UConn sports blog The Boneyard ("Destroying worker productivity since 1998").
So is the Bone throwing in the towel? Perish the thought. It's predicting a seven-point UConn win. This is based on the much-improved play of the three talented freshmen Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, and a sense that the team has kicked it up a notch since the Irish picked their pockets.
But the Bone concedes that Notre Dame is the scariest team UConn will face. The feeling is mutual; a South Bend sportswriter likened Huskies coach Geno Auriemma to Darth Vader. What fun; what a great moment for women's college basketball.
We would be remiss in not observing that three of the teams in the women's Final Four and two in the men's are from the Big East Conference. To paraphrase Mr. Auriemma, who put it a little more colorfully, breaking up the best basketball conference in the country seems exceedingly unfortunate.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun