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Home Sports Sport News ESPN attempting to set up UConn-Louisville women’s game

ESPN attempting to set up UConn-Louisville women’s game

Louisville coach Jeff Walz seemed to shut the door months ago on the possibility of playing UConn during the 2020-21 season.

But, behind the scenes, efforts are being made to try to prop it back open.

Carol Stiff, ESPN’s vice president for programming and acquisitions, said Thursday that the network is trying to arrange a matchup between the two women’s basketball powerhouses as it reworks its broadcast schedule because of COVID-19.

“We thought we had Notre Dame-Connecticut confirmed for our Jimmy V game, and that’s not going to happen,” Stiff said in a phone interview with Hearst Connecticut Media. “We find out that Louisville versus Kentucky, which we were going to have also on that weekend, those two teams decided not to play each other because of COVID and the lack of fans. So that piece falls out.

“But then I know that Connecticut’s looking for a game and Louisville’s looking for a game. … Presently, we’re trying to see if we can schedule a matchup.”

At the moment, the Huskies are scheduled to play in the Hall of Fame Challenge with Quinnipiac, Mississippi State and Maine on Nov. 28-29 at Mohegan Sun. Road games against Baylor and Tennessee — which appears to be scheduled for Jan. 21 — and a home date with South Carolina are also on. That doesn’t leave them much room to work within the NCAA’s guidelines, assuming they maintain their 20-game Big East slate.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma, though, said Wednesday that he’s trying to pick up another game after having to postpone the series with the Fighting Irish.

Louisville would make sense as a suitable replacement, but it could take some convincing. Walz told reporters in May that plans to play the Huskies this season at the Barclays Center in New York, though never official, had been scrapped due to concerns over lack of attendance and travel amid the pandemic.

The Huskies are 17-2 all-time against the Cardinals, including 2-0 in national championship games. UConn won the most recent meeting 80-72 in the 2019 Elite Eight in Albany, N.Y.

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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