It was reported Monday night that former Notre Dame post player Becca Bruszewski took a verbal shot at the Huskies in the moments following Notre Dame’s 72-63 win in the NCAA national semifinals in Indianapolis last April 3.
A source said that Bruszewski poked her head in the UConn locker room and said, `Sucks for you guys.’
In the interest of fairness, here is Bruszewski’s side of the story courtesy of Curt Rallo of the South Bend Tribune …
“Bruszewski, a senior last season who is now playing professional basketball in Finland, told The Tribune in a telephone interview on Tuesday that she did not open the Huskies’ locker room door and shout that at the UConn players.
“I’m getting called out for this,’’ she said in phone conversation Tuesday. “The fact that hurts the most, they’re saying that I barged into another team’s locker room. The fact that when I ran by, nobody but the UConn coaching staff was outside the door, with a security officer. I don’t know how they fabricated this. I don’t know where it came from. I’m going to deny it until it’s over with, because it’s not true.”
According to Bruszewski, she made comments to a teammate about the pain of losing with the Connecticut coaching staff within earshot, but that it was not intended as a slight to the Huskies.
“We celebrated with our team on the court and hugged a lot of people,” Bruszewski said of the aftermath of Notre Dame’s stunning victory over the favored Huskies in the Final Four in Indianapolis. “As we ran back through the tunnel, I was not by myself. I was with my team. I never stopped, I never talked to anyone from Connecticut, I never touched any doors. I never slowed down and walked. I never saw any UConn players, because they were all in their locker room.
“But outside the door was the entire coaching staff and their security, because at the Final Four, and even home games, everyone has security at their locker rooms. I did not make eye contact with them, I did not say anything to them. As I walked by, my words were, ‘Oh, man, that sucks. It could have been us.’ It was a realization that this great team, their season was over. Two days later, I realized that same sort of defeat.”
Bruszewski is fuming at the attack on her character.
“I’m known as a ‘bruiser’ on the court,” Bruszewski said. “I’m the attitude of the team. Off the court, I’m completely different. There is no way I would represent myself or the university by barging into someone else’s locker room and saying something as awful as that is.
“I’m very upset. If this scenario happened, why is it just coming out now? Why wasn’t this addressed immediately after the game? Nothing was brought out when it happened. Nothing was brought out the first game Notre Dame played against Connecticut this season. Now, I’m overseas, and I’m hearing about it, and it’s just awful that (someone) would even try to attack someone like that and lie.
“Maybe somebody wanted to cause a distraction. Maybe somebody wanted to rile up the Connecticut team. But for it to get to the magnitude it got, and to try and attack my reputation and attack the things I stand for, it’s really upsetting.’’
Irish coach Muffet McGraw said Auriemma told her about the incident at the Big East meetings in May.
“When Geno told me about this in May, we hadn’t heard anything about it,” McGraw said. “I was appalled when I heard this. When we got back to campus, we met with our players and said, ‘Here’s what Geno said.’ They had no idea. They were appalled and thought that it couldn’t be. We talked to Becca and she denied it. She said that she never went in their locker room.”
Notre Dame women’s basketball sports information director Chris Masters said security was tight for the Final Four, and that NCAA representatives were stationed outside and inside of every locker room.
“There were NCAA observers right there,” Masters said. “If this happened, we would have gotten disciplined. There would have been a letter of reprimand. That never happened.”
McGraw wondered about the timing of the leak to the media by the unnamed UConn source, when her team was playing at Connecticut for Notre Dame’s first outright Big East crown.
“This may have been embellished,” McGraw said. “To come up now, a year later, (Auriemma) may have been trying to motivate his team. Something could have been said at some point, but Becca swears that she did not go in their locker room.
“I don’t want to turn it into a back-and-forth thing. It’s not worth it. Geno and I actually get along very well. I do feel like this year has been hard on him, I guess.”’’