UConn, Lady Vols to renew rivalry in 2019-20, 2020-21
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Connecticut and Tennessee plan to face each other in women’s basketball during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, renewing a rivalry that has been dormant since 2007.
UConn will host Tennessee during the 2019-20 season, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Pat Summitt Foundation and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The teams will meet again in Knoxville in 2020-21 with portions of the proceeds benefiting the Pat Summitt Foundation, Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Exact dates for the games haven’t been set.
“I am happy to have the Lady Vols back on our schedule and am thrilled that proceeds to our games will benefit such an important endeavor like the Pat Summitt Foundation,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. “I know our fans will be excited to renew the rivalry with Tennessee and expect them to fill the building for some good basketball and a great cause.”
Summitt coached Tennessee to eight national championships but stepped down in 2012, one year after announcing she had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. She died in June 2016 at the age of 64, and her foundation is dedicated to the fight against Alzheimer’s.
“Basketball fans will be intrigued to watch these two programs meet on the court again, and I know Lady Vols and Huskies fans will be eager to pack arenas, cheer on their teams and make a difference for some very worthy causes, including one bearing the name of my coach, mentor and friend,” Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick said in a statement.
UConn and Tennessee have combined for 19 national titles. The two programs produced one of the fiercest rivalries in college sports in the 1990s and 2000s but haven’t met in over a decade. UConn leads the series 13-9, including wins over Tennessee in the 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2004 NCAA championship games. Tennessee has won the last three meetings with UConn, including a 70-64 decision in their last matchup on Jan. 6, 2007.
The series ended at Summitt’s request. Summitt wrote in her 2013 memoir, “Sum It Up,” that she had become increasingly upset with some of UConn’s recruiting tactics and didn’t like the negativity that had started to surround the rivalry.
But she also noted in her book that she and Auriemma were back on good terms and that the UConn coach had been the first person to donate to her foundation after her diagnosis. Auriemma attended a public memorial service for Summitt on Tennessee’s campus after her death.
Tennessee hasn’t kept up with UConn in recent seasons.
UConn has reached the Final Four 11 straight years and won four straight national titles from 2013-16. Tennessee hasn’t made it to the Final Four since its 2008 national championship.