Kellie Harper feels the shadow of Pat Summitt nevertheless looms throughout the Tennessee Lady Vols, plus the expectations that are included with coaching the program that is winningest womenвЂ™s college basketball history.
The second-year Tennessee head coach additionally knows the program is a shadow of exactly just what it absolutely was under Summitt, and therefore trying to be her isn’t the method to create a contender.
вЂќThatвЂ™s simply not planning to work,вЂќ Harper said. вЂќAnd the things I may do is function as the most useful me personally that i will come to be. a me that discovered from her, that played on her, that provided every thing I had to your program. But at the conclusion of this day, youвЂ™re going to offer yourself brief if youвЂ™re trying to be somebody that youвЂ™re maybe not.вЂќ
One concept Harper discovered well while winning three national championships playing for Summitt is play the most readily useful groups within the country anywhere, when.
ThatвЂ™s why No. 25 Tennessee (9-2) will host No. 3(8-0 that is UConn the very first time in fifteen years Thursday evening when you look at the 2nd game associated with Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Revival Series.
Her Lady Vols destroyed to UConn 60-45 this past year, the time that is first groups had met in 13 years. Thursday nightвЂ™s game caps from the 10thвЂќWe that is annual PatвЂќ week to aid Summitt and also the foundation inside her title fighting AlzheimerвЂ™s.
UConn advisor Geno Auriemma, whom passed Summitt along with his 1,099th job win Tuesday night, does not see their Huskies playing Tennessee as a deal that is big. He does not have the buzz when you look at the media and sometimes even in their areas which used to stir for this rivalry.
вЂќMaybe as itвЂ™s been too long. Maybe it is as it ended up being never about Tennessee and Connecticut. Perhaps it absolutely was Pat and Geno before long,вЂќ Auriemma stated. вЂќI donвЂ™t have a peek at this hyperlink understand, but we donвЂ™t feel it. We donвЂ™t determine if Kellie does. IвЂ™ve never asked her.вЂќ
A major basis for a not enough attention on these groups playing once again may be that Tennessee simply hasnвЂ™t calculated as much as to the conventional nevertheless being met by Auriemma and UConn.
Auriemma now has 11 national championships, their final in 2016, and their Huskies stay a premier five system.
TennesseeвЂ™s eighth and last title had been in 2008 with Summitt, whom died in June 2016. Harper could be the coach that is second Summitt retired in April 2012, in addition to Lady Vols slipped in to the Top 25 the other day the very first time this season.
UConn freshman Paige Bueckers said sheвЂ™s too young to keep in mind the rivalry involving the Huskies and Tennessee, which will be simply history to her now.
вЂќonce I ended up being growing within the massive rivalry ended up being with Notre Dame, for myself,вЂќ Bueckers said so I didnвЂ™t really get to see that UConn-Tennessee rivalry. вЂќBut just seeing all of the videos and all the pieces theyвЂ™ve done I understand how big it really is. about it through the years,вЂќ
Auriemma happens to be in a position to recruit talent that is top underneath the Lady VolsвЂ™ noses. Crystal Dangerfield of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, opted for Auriemma in 2016. Whenever Harper had been employed, Evina Westbrook utilized in UConn where sheвЂ™s began every game this year after being TennesseeвЂ™s scorer that is leading.
вЂќIвЂ™m actually just centered on obtaining the вЂWвЂ™ with my group,вЂќ Westbrook said. вЂќIвЂ™m certainly not focused they have actually happening over there. on it and whatвЂќ
Auriemma noted every thing changed, including himself.
вЂќThe only thing that’ll be exactly the same could be the building that individuals head into, the locker space we utilize,вЂќ Auriemma stated. вЂќBut, we donвЂ™t think anything else is similar. ThereвЂ™s nothing equivalent about Tennessee womenвЂ™s baseball want it ended up being 15 years back. TheyвЂ™ve experienced amazing modifications, since have we.вЂќ
Harper stated she surely has fascination with scheduling games against UConn as time goes on. She additionally stated the girl Vols are actually excited and that lots of people searching for ahead to the game.
вЂќI think lots of people worked difficult to make this a game that is big womenвЂ™s basketball nationwide,вЂќ Harper said. вЂќAnd to possess those games within our sport, i do believe is truly good because people listen in and individuals view, and ideally, they are going to do this on thursdayвЂќ
Auriemma stated not everyone loves to play excellent groups plus itвЂ™s feasible this series can carry on without another long space.
вЂќThe proven fact that Kellie really wants to do this is a neat thing,вЂќ he said, вЂќand says a great deal about Kellie.вЂќ
AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg and AP Sports Writer Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this report.
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