Remember when Villanova coach Harry Perretta helped UConn coach Geno Auriemma orchestrate a lay-up for an injured Nykesha Sales that allowed her to then become the team’s career scoring leader Feb 24, 1998. Well, Perretta was at it again Saturday night in the second round of the Big East tournament at the XL Center.
This time he was directly involved in helping Georgetown senior Sugar Rodgers set the tournament single-game scoring record of 42 points during an 89-58 win over the Hoyas. Miami’s Frances Savage had scored a record 41 points in an 82-70 win over Providence in the tournament semifinals at Gampel Pavilion March 8, 1992.
Rodgers had 40 points when she left the game with 37 seconds left. Perretta then made it a point to alert Georgetown coach Keith Brown that Rodgers was within one point of the record. Brown sent Rodgers back in the game and with 23 seconds left the Hoyas fouled Katherine Coyer in order to give themselves one more possession.
Coyer made two free throws. Caroline Coyer then promptly fouled Rodgers in the backcourt. In turn, Rodgers made both two free throws with 21.8 seconds left to seize the record.
“I thought she deserved a shot at it,’’ Perretta said. “She played so well. We fouled her and she had to go earn it at the foul line. If she had missed, I wouldn’t have fouled again. I told her she had one shot at it and that was it.’’
“I want to thank Harry,’’ Brown said. “He’s a class act. I had no idea. Harry’s yelling and screaming at me trying to get my attention and I’m trying to figure out what he is yelling at me for. So I thank him so much.’’
Auriemma did not find out about the latest orchestration by Perretta until this morning. He was asked why there was no outrage this time. Auriemma was hammered nationally after the incident involving Sales.
“There’s no outrage because Geno didn’t do it,’’ Auriemma said. “There’s only outrage when I do something that somebody doesn’t like. Then there’s the outrage. Everybody likes Harry.’’
Once Auriemma was told that Perretta had one of his players intentionally foul Rodgers to help her get the record he then delivered one of his patented sarcastic responses.
“I don’t know where he gets off doing that,’’ Auriemma said. “I just think that’s a disgrace to the game. Sugar should be ashamed of herself for accepting it. I know I would never do that for one of my players. I just think that speaks very poorly of women’s basketball. I don’t know why you’d want to be that considerate and that kind and that generous and that humane. What the hell? This is big-time sports, man. Dog eat dog. Every man for himself. If she didn’t get 42 she didn’t get 42. Who the hell are we to orchestrate this crap? Hasn’t he learned anything in the last 20 years?’’
Auriemma barely finished speaking before starting to laugh.