Emotions run high as St. Joseph's faces UConn
Top-ranked Connecticut plays St. Joseph's on Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Storrs, Conn. It's a game that has a lot of emotional ties for Huskies coach Geno Auriemma.
Auriemma grew up in Norristown as a St. Joe's fan. He coached high school ball and became good friends with Phil Martelli, who coaches the Hawks men's team, and got his first college coaching job as an assistant for the women's team with the Hawks in 1978.
He also coached the mother of St. Joseph's guard Erin Shields and the sister of Hawks coach Cindy Griffin, whom he recruited out of Bishop McDevitt High in 1986.
Auriemma will put that aside as the Huskies (35-0) attempt to win their 42d consecutive game and move into the regional semifinals for a 21st straight time.
"I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for St. Joe's, the school, and the people at the school," Auriemma said. "There's a lot of really neat stuff at St. Joe's, a lot of great people, and they played their butts off against Georgia. They were the better team from the opening tap until it ended. They lead the country in free-throw percentage, they don't make a lot of mistakes, and they're a typical Philadelphia team."
"I remember the beautiful drive up," Griffin said of visiting Storrs. "It was October and all the leaves were changing. It was just beautiful. Chris Dailey and Geno did an unbelievable job. I knew Geno from home, from Philadelphia, so that was a comfort level for me. They did a great job but I went with what I knew more, and that was St. Joe's. A couple of my family members went to St. Joe's and my first cousin, John Griffin, was the men's coach before Phil Martelli. So there's a lot of family blood in there and in that situation.
"What would have happened if I had come to Connecticut? I probably wouldn't be the St. Joe's coach."
DePaul 74, Duke 65 - Megan Rogowski drained six three-pointers and scored 22 points as the seventh-seeded Blue Demons (29-6) upset the Blue Devils in Durham, N.C. Duke (28-7) to become the first top-four seed to lose in the tournament.
Notre Dame 84, Arizona State 67 - Natalie Achonwa recorded 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish (34-0) past the Sun Devils (23-10) in Toledo, Ohio.
Brigham Young 80, Nebraska 76 - Jennifer Hamson posted 15 points and 14 rebounds as the Cougars upset the fourth-seeded Cornhuskers (26-6 in Los Angeles. BYU (28-6), which became only the third No. 12 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 in tournament history.