Geno Auriemma was in a feisty mood following tonight’s 81-38 win over Lehigh at the World Vision Challenge. He took shots at freshman center Stefanie Dolson and Tennessee coach Pat Summit during his postgame session with the media.
Dolson was replaced in the starting lineup by fellow freshman Samarie Walker after having only two rebounds in 15 minutes Friday against Howard. Dolson did not enter the game until the start of the second half.
Here is Auriemma’s reasoning behind the move, part seriousness, part sarcasm:
“I just thought Samarie’s been working at a real high level in practice,’’ he said. “I thought defensively she’d be a little better able to help us because most of their big guys are perimeter guys or want to play on the perimeter. So I thought Samarie would be better defensively to do that. And Stefanie played (15) minutes against Howard. So we don’t want to wear her out. Those two rebounds took a lot out of her. So we want to save her for the stretch run here. She came to practice today and she was really beaten up, and I didn’t realize the toll it was taking so I wanted to give her a rest.’’
Dolson finished with eight points (4-of-4 FG) and six rebounds in 10 minutes. Walker had 11 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes.
Auriemma certainly saved his best jab for last. This one was aimed directly at Summitt. Earlier this season, she again accused Auriemma of cheating in recruiting.
And after the Lady Vols defeated Louisville 63-50 in the season opener on the road Nov. 12 Summitt said she would not mind again playing Louisville in the future because Cardinals coach Jeff Walz does things the right way.
Fast-forwarding to tonight at Gampel Pavilion, LSU coach Van Chancellor said he would like to again open a series with UConn. Auriemma was asked about a potential series with the Lady Tigers and ran with it.
“We’re not playing any SEC schools this year except them,’’ Auriemma said. “So, yeah, I could see us getting that series back with Van. He does things the right way. So I wouldn’t be opposed to playing Van going forward.’’
With that he got up from his chair and made his way toward the door to his right … “Hey … That was a good one. Time to go,’’ he said.