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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, December 29, 2014

End of the line for Duke/UConn series?

Changing conferences was not the only alteration in the UConn schedule making process.

It wasn't long that Stanford, Duke, Hartford and Holy Cross would face the Huskies on an annual basis. However, when the 2015-16 schedule is finalized Stanford is likely the only one of the four to have a scheduled showdown with the Huskies.

Hartford, coached by former UConn All-American Jen Rizzotti, played the Huskies in December for six straight seasons but this is the third time in the last five seasons that the teams won't play in the regular season.  Holy Cross and UConn played 20 times from the time UConn coach Geno Auriemma arrived n the scene including one game for 15 straight seasons but haven't met since 2011.

Now it is Duke's turn to pass on annual games against the nine-time national champions.

The writing was on the wall when Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie had some cryptic remarks at a dinner promoting the 2013 Jimmy V Classic about exploring different non-conference rivalries. The hope that somebody in the Duke administration would step in and push for the series to be continued, that doesn't appear to be happening.

Looking at UConn's current seven-game winning streak against Duke when the closest game was a 16-point Huskies win in 2012, the emotions surrounding the ending of the series can't compare to the sentiments when rivals UConn and Notre Dame didn't meet in the regular season last year or when the Tennessee series was abruptly canceled. Still,. UConn coach Geno Auriemma made it clear he would gladly continue to play Duke on a regular basis.

"I have always enjoyed it," Auriemma said. "We have had some great games against them, some that we won, some that we lost. It has always been a great trip for us to go down there and play down in Cameron. The place, from what I remember, when Diana (Taurasi) was playing especially the crowds were great, the intensity level that game has always had, I know it has been kind of one sided lately but there have been a lot of great moments that I remember playing them. It has always been a game that I know we look forward to and it is a shame they don't want to play anymore."

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