I think you’re feeling a cough coming on. Yep, something where you need to leave work early on Tuesday in order to be home for the 3 p.m. tip-off between No. 1 Connecticut and No. 2 Baylor on ESPN2.
It’s the earliest top teams have faced each other in a NCAA women’s season and the clash is already being billed as the “Game of the Year,” dismissing the fact that UConn faces No. 3 Stanford in December. Yet the excitement is understandable given Baylor sensation Brittney Griner and UConn junior Tiffany Hayes scoring a career and school-record 30 points in the opening half of a 117-37 rout of Holy Cross on Sunday. It was UConn’s 79th consecutive victory, nine shy of the historic NCAA record set by the UCLA men under legendary coach John Wooden.
Surprisingly, however, 3,000 tickets remain for Huskies-Bears matchup at XL Center. The facility in Hartford holds 16,294 for basketball. There were just 7,158 at Gampel Pavilion on Sunday, making Louisville’s Big East Conference-record 22,124 the highest attendance this weekend.
The Cardinals retired former star Angel McCoughtry’s No. 35 jersey in a pre-game ceremony. She’s currently starring with the Atlanta Dream, which lost the WNBA title to the Storm in September.
Joining UConn and Baylor as this week’s game highlights are Southern California at No. 6 Duke Monday. No. 15 UCLA plays at No. 12 Notre Dame on Thursday while No. 3 Stanford plays at Gonzaga on Sunday.
“Our point of view is, we still have a chance to accomplish our goal at the end of the season,” UConn senior Maya Moore told ESPN regarding the hyped Tuesday matchup. She’s pictured above by the Associated Press. “It’s so early … it’s not the NCAA tournament. It’s not win-or-go-home. We’ll still have practice the next day.
“If you’re a competitor, you want to win. Even though in the long run, it’s not going to make that much of a difference. But as far as the course our season can take, it’s not going to change.”
AP RANKINGS: You may have seen on Twitter that I replaced the Guru, Mel Greenberg, in AP voting. Here’s this weeks poll, which didn’t have much movement from the preseason rankings since only St. John’s lost in the NCAA’s opening weekend.
POW: USC junior G Briana Gilbreath’s heroics against Gonzaga, posting 21 points and 10 rebounds, earned her the Pac-10’s first Player of the Week honors this season. The Trojans topped the Zags 79-73.
GOLDEN APPLE: The Times’ pick for the women’s basketball player of the week (from this area, any level), is Washington junior F Mollie Williams for her game-winning 15-footer against Portland State on Sunday. True, she was 1 of 10 from the field. But the versatile player also had a career-high 13 boards and five assists.
HIGH-LOW: Washington State was the stinker of the weekend, losing to UC Davis 77-38 on Sunday. The Cougars are 0-2 to start the season…Storm director of community relations Chauntelle Johnson won her second consecutive 3A state title as swim coach of Mercer Island High School on Saturday. Until Johnson, Mercer Island hadn’t won a title since 1998.