UConn's Auriemma fires away at attention SEC draws, refs Volatile coach says media over-cover conference

Women's notebook

March 29, 1996|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It doesn't take a lot to send Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma off into a tirade.

Auriemma, coach of the defending national champion Huskies, dominated his team's portion of yesterday's pre-Final Four press briefing, holding court on a few topics.

One of his favorites is his perception that the media focuses too much attention on the Southeastern Conference, long acknowledged as the best conference in the sport.

"No conference has more good teams in their league than the [SEC]. I understand that. I think everybody in America understands that. But I'm just sick of hearing about it," said Auriemma, whose Huskies have attracted a fair amount of attention since they capped an unbeaten season last year with the national title.

"We all know they have more good teams than any other conference and more good players than any other conference. I know that. I just wished they would say, 'But there are some other good teams in America.' That's all."

But that wasn't all. Auriemma criticized the officiating, saying referees are too willing to take the best players out of games by calling unnecessary fouls, making reference to last year's championship game in which Connecticut forward Rebecca Lobo, the national player of the year, got into foul trouble.

"There's got to be a level of play that these players have come to expect and they have to be able to play," said Auriemma. "We have some terrific players and the game is growing and we need to have everybody grow with it."

All-Americans named

Georgia guard Saudia Roundtree, the consensus national player of the year, topped the list of 10 Kodak All-American players announced yesterday.

Guards Jennifer Rizzotti of Connecticut, who also was named the Associated Press Player of the Year yesterday, and Vickie Johnson of Louisiana Tech and forwards Wendy Palmer of Virginia and Ohio State's Katie Smith were all named for a second time, while Alabama forward Sholanda Enis, Vanderbilt forward Sheri Sam, Stanford forward Kate Starbird, Louisiana Tech guard Debra Williams and Chamique Holdsclaw of Tennessee, the lone freshman, were all first-time selections.

Also yesterday, the Associated Press named named first-year Iowa coach Angie Lee, who led the Hawkeyes to a 27-4 mark and the Big Ten title, Coach of the Year.

Hollywood ahead?

Touchstone Pictures, a division of the Walt Disney Co., has purchased the movie rights to a forthcoming book on the U.S. national women's team, which played an exhibition game against the Ukraine Olympic team in nearby Fort Mill, S.C.

According to a story in yesterday's Hollywood Reporter, the movie rights to a book, "Venus to the Hoop," to be written by free-lance writer Sara Corbett, have been bought by a production company owned by actress Michelle Pfeiffer, whom Disney officials want to play head coach Tara VanDerveer.

Pub Date: 3/29/96

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