A little trash talking never hurts

The UConn-Tennessee rivalry that Pat Summitt snuffed out four years ago may not ever be fully replaced, but UConn’s Big East battles with a superior Notre Dame team are taking on a healthy edge.

Especially after the Irish guards sizzled in the second half in Hartford Monday night to down the Huskies for the third consecutive time and earn the Big East regular season title outright.

“A source” told Connecticut media earlier Monday that after Notre Dame beat UConn in last season’s Final Four semifinals, an Irish player stuck her head in the Huskies locker room and said:

“It must suck to be you.”

Given how UConn wilted down the stretch last night, and with the prospect of the rivalry being renewed at the Big East and NCAA tourneys, there may be more misery for a Huskies team that, like Tennessee, is suffering some unaccustomed losses.

And may be seeing more of its new nemesis before the season is done.

Writes Jeff Jacobs in The Hartford Courant:

“We could have as many as eight meetings in 15 months and 11 within 27 months.

“And we have one delicious story.”

Those women’s sports reformers who tout their gender’s perceived inherent virtue won’t like this, of course. It runs counter to their aims of shaming the dominant male sports culture into better behavior, instead of having it influence how women are interacting.

I will admit this is not great sportsmanship, if this incident did take place. But the nature of the competitive beast is that this sort of thing cannot be fully “reformed.”

This rivalry is becoming more heated, which is good for the game, and good for the entertainment product of women’s college basketball that needs all the compelling storylines it can get.

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  1. Bern
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Probably true but I wouldn’t have expected the trash talking to be coming from a Notre Dame program, men’s or women’s. It was a good, competitive game which was nice to see.

  2. Kat
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I played D1 (women’s tennis) in college and we had some great rivalries that were congenial, and some that were quite chippy. It’s the name of the game.

    Assuming the report is true (sounds a bit apocryphal to me)…

    1.) If I were a UConn player… that ND player better watch out because I’m going to hip check her into the seats within the first 5 minutes of the next game we play. If she blows out a knee on the play, well, “it must suck to be you”.

    2.) If I’m the ND coach… that ND player is going to be running suicides early Saturday morning until she pukes. I might bench her for the next UConn game too, if only for her own protection. I’m not disciplining her for being competative–I’m disciplining her for not being mature enough to realize there’s a time and place for trash-talking, and that wasn’t it. On court in a tight game, jabber away. Stopping by an opponent’s locker room after a tough loss in a Final Four game to rub it in is unacceptable. My job as the coach is to teach a young woman that. However, it’s also my job to teach her that lesson then move on–young people make mistakes. Doesn’t make her a bad person.

    3.) As a very casual fan (watch/follow a lot of sports, but not basketball in general), more and stronger rivalries are always a good thing.

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