Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Summitt Mum On Series

By JOHN ALTAVILLA | The Hartford Courant

If anyone expected Tennessee coach Pat Summitt to offer a better explanation about her decision to cancel the women's basketball series with UConn, they likely were disappointed with her response Monday when the Lady Vols' 2007-08 schedule was released.

"I don't want to take away from schedule we have," Summitt told reporters. "I'm really excited about the schedule."

And that was it.

Tennessee, the defending national champion, announced in June it would not renew the series that began in 1995 on ESPN and has helped increase the popularity of the sport.

It has been suggested Summitt is upset with UConn coach Geno Auriemma over a variety of issues and simply does not want to deal with the hype that seems to accompany each game between the programs.

Auriemma also has not issued a public statement.

While UConn has scheduled another road game with LSU on Feb. 25 to replace its trip to Tennessee, the Lady Vols will host North Carolina (Dec. 2), Rutgers (Feb. 11) and LSU (Feb. 14) at Thompson-Bolling Arena in Knoxville. All were Final Four teams last season. The Lady Vols defeated Rutgers in the national championship game. Tennessee will also play Oklahoma on Nov. 15 in Tampa, Fla., the site of this season's Final Four. There, Tennessee's Candace Parker will take on the Sooners All-American center Courtney Paris.

The Lady Vols will open the preseason against the United States senior national team on Nov. 4, a game that will feature UConn All-American Diana Taurasi against Summitt, whom Taurasi criticized in an interview with The Courant about the decision to stop playing UConn.

The Huskies also are expected to play a preseason game against the national team the first week of November at Gampel Pavilion. UConn's schedule will not be formally released for another few weeks.

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