twelve years the women’s basketball rivalry between UConn and Tennessee was the
most iconic matchup in women’s sports. Even now, twenty years since the annual
series started, the competition between these two storied programs still
provokes heated argument and bitter resentment.
by Hall of Fame coaches Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt, UConn and Tennessee
combined for nine national championships, with the UConn Huskies winning
five—including four against the Tennessee Lady Vols. In all, UConn won thirteen
of twenty-two matchups during the rivalry, and along the way the two
coaches—with distinctive and brash personalities and a shared determination to
rule their sport—clashed privately and publicly, generating enough heat to make
women’s basketball relevant in the national sports landscape as never
the court, the two teams produced a series of memorable games, from overtime
thrillers to timeless classics that defined the sport. Off the court, the
coaches’ encounters were often marked by their seemingly genuine dislike for
each other, until the conflict reached a breaking point in 2007 and Summitt
stunned the basketball world by canceling the series for reasons neither side
has ever revealed.
eight years after the last game, Unrivaled uncovers
the on-court and behind-the-scenes story of this intensely personal rivalry
between coaches, players, and the two most passionate fan bases women’s sports
has ever known.
Goldberg was the UConn women’s basketball writer for the Hartford
2001 to 2006 and is the author of Bird at the Buzzer: UConn, Notre
Dame, and a Women’s Basketball Classic (Nebraska, 2011). Rebecca
Lobo played for coach Auriemma at UConn and on three teams in the WNBA. She is
now a television basketball analyst for ESPN.
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