(WTNH)–UConn and Duke tip off in the Sweet 16 on Saturday in Albany, and the big story is former Duke forward and current Husky Azura Stevens facing off against her former team.
Stevens was an All-American candidate as a sophomore at Duke, and set a number of school records as a freshman. When she decided to transfer to Storrs, Duke coach Joanne McCallie reportedly made these comments about her star’s transfer:
“When have you known Connecticut to take transfers? They took two this year. They took Azura and [Batouly Camara] from Kentucky. Make sure you look at this stuff from a deep point of view, because why is [UConn coach Geno Auriemma] doing that? You know why he’s doing that? Because talent is down. And he wants to continue to win. Obviously, they’re great.
“But really? Is that what we’re about now, I’m going to take transfers? That was the neat thing they used to have. Connecticut wasn’t a transfer school. Now, even if they win it, who cares? I can’t even understand it because he’s such a good coach and it’s such a great program.”
Geno Auriemma fired back with these tongue-in-cheek comments:
“Do you know how hard it is to coach at Duke?” Auriemma said facetiously. “It’s really challenging. It’s an impossible job. She’s tried so hard to get to a Final Four with all the disadvantages there. So I suggest she try a little harder and let us try to be respectable.”
McCallie said this week that she was misquoted. Either way, it’ll be an interesting challenge this weekend.
“It’s being made into like, me versus them, but it’s my team versus Duke,” Stevens said. “We’re really excited to be here.”
“I mean, she has a UConn jersey on now, and it’s UConn versus Duke, it’s not Z versus Duke.” said Gabby Williams. “I feel bad that she has to answer all of these questions about it, because I’m not sure that makes it any easier, I’m sure it’s already difficult enough.”
“She’s on our team now, so it’s just her playing another team, and it’s going to be like any other game,” said Napheesa Collier.
“I haven’t said anything,” said Geno Auriemma. “Other than, they want to win, and we want to win, so nothing else matters.”