By Carl Adamec
STORRS, Conn. — After playing four times in each of the last three seasons and 15 times over the last four years, it seemed like it was a mistake that the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team’s 2013-14 schedule did not include Notre Dame.
But earlier this year when the Catholic 7 broke away to form a new version of the Big East, the Irish decided to move up their departure to the Atlantic Coast Conference while the Huskies ended up in the new American Athletic Conference. UConn’s 31-game regular season schedule, which included 18 games in the American, did not have room for a contest with Notre Dame.
The Huskies hope, though, the hiatus in what has become the most intense and best rivalry in the sport will last just one year.
UConn senior women’s administrator Deb Corum said Friday after the press conference announcing Geno Auriemma’s appointment as United States national team coach that she will contact Notre Dame officials to gauge their interest in trying to put a deal together.
“I actually met with Geno this week and I’ll be reaching out to Notre Dame,” Corum said. “We had some conversations early on when it was first announced that Notre Dame was leaving (for the ACC). But a lot has changed since then. Notre Dame called. They were interested in playing us this year but our schedule was full. From that we’re assuming that Notre Dame would be interested in playing us so we’re going to be reaching out to them in the next week or so to see if we can get them on our schedule.”
UConn leads the series with Notre Dame 30-11. It began on Jan. 18, 1996 — the Irish’s first season in the Big East. The Huskies won the first 11 meeting and at one time had a 28-4 advantage. But Notre Dame then won seven of eight, including the first triple-overtime game in UConn history last March 4 in South Bend and its first Big East tournament championship game over the Huskies eight days later. UConn did get the last laugh on April 7 by ousting Notre Dame 83-65 in the NCAA Final Four semifinals in New Orleans en route to its record tying eighth national championship.
The teams have met four times in the Final Four semifinals with Notre Dame owning a 3-1 edge thanks to victories in 2001, 2011, and 2012. UConn won 10-of-11 in Big East tournament play and was 6-1 in title games.
The Huskies had never played a team four times in one season before doing it with Notre Dame the past three years.