SAN ANTONIO -- I should have known better.
Never leave a Geno Auriemma press conference. At least, not without leaving behind the tape recorder.
While this intrepid reporter was dashing down the hall at the AT&T Center to the Texas locker room to get a quote from Longhorns coach Gail Goestenkors -- who had declined to come to the media room Tuesday night following her team's 83-58 loss to top-ranked Connecticut -- Auriemma made sure that there'd be more to the story than the blowout win.
I came back into the room just as Auriemma was being asked about whether he and Tennessee coach Pat Summitt had greeted one another in the past couple of days.
Here are the rest of the quotes courtesy of John Altavilla's blog for the Hartford Courant. Altavilla has covered Auriemma long enough that he knows better than to leave the room when the coach is at the mic.
Asked whether it is important that Tennessee and Connecticut resume their regular-season matchup, Auriemma responded:
"I don't know that it's important any more," Auriemma said. "I'll give you a for instance. Last night [Monday], we had a dinner here for the teams and Carol Stiff [the senior director of programming and acquisitions of ESPN], the person most responsible for putting games on television, was sitting in the audience when the master of ceremonies said, 'For the first time ever, ESPN's College Game Day [for basketball] and everything that goes with it, will be in January [at UConn] when Notre Dame is plays them on Jan. 16.'
"That's huge; Dick Vitale, Digger Phelps, and they will be there all day. There was no response in the room. Dead silence. I was so embarrassed for Carol, after all the hard work she put in. Do you know how the other three programs [Tennessee, Texas and Texas Tech] in the room reacted? They couldn't have cared less; if it isn't about us, we don't care.
"That was embarrassing. So you know what? The biggest game of the year is going to Notre Dame at UConn. The biggest game next year will be UConn at Notre Dame. The year after that it will be UConn against whomever."
Auriemma said ESPN hasn't asked about putting the UConn-Tennessee series back on the schedule.
"Carol knows better than to ask me about that. She knows the answer to that question," Auriemma said. "We've already talked about future matchups and Tennessee's name doesn't come up. I don't bring it up and neither does she.''
UConn and Tennessee played each other 22 times during the regular season from 1995-2007. The Huskies hold a 13-9 series lead, although the Lady Vols won the last three games. UConn is 5-2 vs. Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament, including 4-0 in the title game.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt pulled the plug on the annual series following the 2007 season after she and Auriemma clashed over the recruitment of Maya Moore, who ended up at Connecticut.
"People have to understand that the only people who wanted this UConn-Tennessee thing were those outside women's basketball," Auriemma said. "All the others in Div. I basketball were tired of UConn-Tennessee. It was like, 'Come on, let's see some other teams.'
"Hey, we used to play them twice. How did it get to once? How did it get to none?"