UConn Coach Geno Auriemma Was In His Bag In The Worst Way After The Huskies’ Heartbreaking Loss To Iowa

UConn coach

When one is in one’s bag, it either means one is in their feelings in a severe way, or in a sort of psychological flow state where everything is clicking. UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma fell into the former category and was down so bad after the Huskies’ 71-69 Final Four defeat to Iowa that I don’t even know if he realized what he was saying as his postgame presser wore on.

Sure, of course, Auriemma chimed in on the offensive call heard and seen ’round the world, where Aaliyah Edwards was whistled for a moving screen on what could’ve been UConn’s go-ahead possession in the final seconds.

Can’t blame Geno for feeling a type of way about that. Despite how obvious the foul was in retrospect, it was a wild scene to witness in real time and will forever be controversial. I’ll concede that he has a point about the lax whistles on screens being set, but nobody likes a sore loser who implies the refs were giving preferential treatment.

I can recognize the human element of that, the unstoppable force that is Caitlin Clark, and how it was in everyone’s best interest for Iowa to proceed to the national title game. Nevertheless, the legendary coach didn’t have to stoop to this level.

Where Mr. Auriemma really lost me, though, was with this nonsensical diatribe of expectations-centric victimhood:

Not sure how to even begin with this. It’s a lengthy soliloquy that deserves more transcription, so please read the key chunks of the rest of it before we proceed:

“It’s more rewarding on on my end not just to win a national championship — obviously you want to win a national championship every year — but people should talk about their own accomplishments instead of talking about what we’re not accomplishing.

That seems to be the big story. […] When Tiger [Woods] was at the height of his career, the only story on every Sunday was he didn’t win. Nobody cared who did win. And now people always wanted it to be like, well, can we celebrate other people? OK well then celebrate them. Stop talking about us when we don’t win a national championship.

But again, that’s the world that we created, and we might not win a national championship, but we’re right there when it’s usually being decided. And that’s all that matters.”

OK so to the first point made: Nobody thinks the UConn Huskies program is “less worthy” of some others. Geno, you took 11 teams to a national title, and have now been to the Final Four 23 times. Are you trying to channel the Dan Hurley energy of your men’s team and manufacture some sort of “us vs. the world!” mentality? If so, that will never work.

Maybe Geno is so accustomed to the Huskies being the talk of the women’s college hoops world that he literally doesn’t know how to cope with not being the main storyline. Because Caitlin Clark has single-handedly elevated this level of women’s basketball to a new stratosphere. In fact, Auriemma’s UConn teams were so dominant for two decades that it made everything boring. Nobody outside of the greater Connecticut area cared. Sure, you’d have stars like Brittney Griner or Candace Parker pop up from time to time. For the most part, though, it was an endless parade of Huskies championship teams. They got the vast majority of top recruits in the country every single year, and shamelessly demolished everyone in their path.

So I’m sorry, Geno, you don’t get to make a comparison to Tiger Woods…

Tiger intimidated an otherwise level playing field in an individual sport. Rivals cowered in his presence. You coached with a laughably loaded deck for 20-plus years. If anyone is worthy of a Tiger comparison, it’s Clark. Like Tiger in golf during his prime (and arguably to this day), Caitlin Clark doesn’t simply move the needle for women’s college basketball. She is the needle. I can promise you, women’s Final Four ticket sales lapping that of the men’s had nothing — I repeat: NOTHING — to do with UConn. It had everything to do with Iowa’s transcendent superstar.

What is Auriemma on about? Seriously! Nobody is talking about the fact that UConn didn’t win. Their reign of terror atop NCAA hoops is a f*cking afterthought compared to what Clark is doing. Everybody is talking about what Clark and Iowa are accomplishing, as opposed to literally anything Huskies-related other than that offensive foul.

Congrats to UConn on another Final Four appearance. That’s old hat. I wrote this last night and I’ll say it again: Auriemma is a good coach, an excellent recruiter and a great leader of women. However, again, Caitlin Clark is the needle. The story. Iowa’s on to the natty and South Carolina. The Huskies can still get back-to-back national titles like Auriemma is used to. It’ll just have to come from the men’s squad.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock