Saturday, May 26, 2018
Sports

Connecticut-Louisville women's preview

NEW ORLEANS — Geno Auriemma has never lost an NCAA Tournament championship game.

Of course, his Connecticut Huskies haven't had to face a team like Louisville, which is making an unprecedented run. A victory tonight would be UConn's eighth title, matching Tennessee for the most in women's basketball.

Auriemma didn't want to think about it: "Talking about things that haven't happened yet is never a good idea.''

History is on the Hall of Fame coach's side: UConn is 7-0 in finals, including 2009 against Louisville and 2004 in a game also played in New Orleans.

This trip to the Big Easy could begin a new dynasty for the Huskies, led by Breanna Stewart. The heralded freshman was named most outstanding player of the Bridgeport Region, then had a season-high 29 points in the semifinal victory over Notre Dame.

Auriemma said he couldn't remember a better game in such a setting.

Stewart has scored 82 points in the NCAA Tournament in just four games. The Syracuse, N.Y., native sat out the opening round rout of Idaho.

And the Huskies have had their way with the Cardinals, winning the past 12 meetings, including that 2009 title.

"I don't remember a thing, you try not to remember anything about those games," Louisville coach Jeff Walz deadpanned. "We're playing better basketball. The kids are confident, not much more to say.''

The Cardinals have rolled through the tournament behind freewheeling guard Shoni Schimmel.

"It's going to take the best game we've played to date," Walz said. "We are going to have to play better than we played against Baylor, Tennessee and Cal. We're going to have to play 40 minutes of pretty much perfect basketball."

That will start with Schimmel. Whether hitting 3-pointers from way behind the line or a behind-the-back bounce pass to her sister Jude, Schimmel has starred for the No. 5 seed.

"We're not done with what we've come out here to do and that's win a national championship," Schimmel said. "Why not go out with a bang?"

She developed her range in the family driveway, sometimes so late at night that her parents urged her to stop to avoid annoying the neighbors.

Louisville can become the lowest seed to win a women's championship. Villanova, a No. 8, was the lowest ever to win a men's title in 1985.

No matter who wins, the Big East, which will split apart after this season, will have a ninth championship.

"It's a special thing," Walz said. "Every time you turn on a Final Four there's Big East teams playing in it. This is the best league in women's basketball."

Honor: Baylor All-American Brittney Griner was named the Naismith player of the year, the seventh repeat winner.

Clemson: Audra Smith, who spent the past nine years as UAB's coach, was hired to take over the Tigers.

Comments
Andre Dawson’s new and sometimes awkward career: funeral home owner

Andre Dawson’s new and sometimes awkward career: funeral home owner

By DAVE HYDESun Sentinel (TNS)The first time Andre Dawson drove a hearse, he turned to the woman in the casket and said, completely serious, "I'll do my best to make sure this isn't bumpy."The first time he told Hall of Fame baseball friends Tim Rain...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

By Joey JohnstonTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough deserved better Friday. But the offense didn't offer much, allowing the Orioles to escape with a 2-0 victory before an announced crowd of 11,354 at Tropicana Field."It ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG – In January, sure.In July, absolutely.But, now?And, once again, for someone who they hope helps in the future.The Rays made a shocking trade at a surprising time of year Friday, dealing All-Star closer Alex Colome and Tampa...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said Thursday, one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the C...
Updated: 4 hours ago
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places: a city new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world, Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first first-year expansion team to win a championship.And t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

The Rays made a major trade Friday afternoon, sending All-Star closer Alex Colome and OF Denard Span to the Mariners.The return is two minor-leaguers, RHP Andrew Moore and RHP Tommy Romero. The Rays also sent cash to the Mariners.Span, a Tampa produc...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Stand down on anthem, NFL

Stand down on anthem, NFL

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Updated: 7 hours ago
For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

By JOEY JOHNSTONTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For openers, the Rays will use RHP Sergio Romo, the 35-year-old career reliever, as tonight's starter against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.Romo is making his third career "sta...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

TAMPA — Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has always been generous with his time, staying after practice to work with younger players. That should be a real added benefit for first-round pick Vita Vea.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"That's my M.O.'' Mc...
Updated: 11 hours ago