When top-ranked Baylor and third-ranked UConn met Monday night in one of the most anticipated games of the women’s college basketball season, the showdown delivered more than just a potential national championship preview.
[Forde Minutes: College basketball coaches go a bit crazy]
It also produced one of the most bizarre photos of the season.
AP photographer Jessica Hill captured a shot of UConn coach Geno Auriemma patting Baylor coach Kim Mulkey on the backside before the start of the Bears’ impressive 76-70 road victory. Everything about the photo is memorable, from Mulkey’s stance, to Auriemma’s laser focus, to the giggling assistant coaches in the background.
Thankfully, the Connecticut Post’s Rich Elliott asked Auriemma about the exchange after the game and got an explanation for the unusual scene. Auriemma clarified it was a lighthearted, harmless moment between two longtime friends.
“She was staring at my butt and she was commenting on it and I said, ‘Really? How about yours?’”Auriemma told the Post. “She went, `Yeah, look at it,’ and I went (slap), ‘I’ll teach you a lesson.’ And then she started talking about how she only dated Italians her whole life and that she wanted me to set her up with some Italians and I said `The Italians I send to see you aren’t going to date you.’ We’ve had a long and great relationship since, gosh, she was an assistant at Louisiana Tech. It goes back a long ways.”
Despite Auriemma’s explanation, UConn hoops fans at the Boneyard still had some fun with a create-a-caption contest. The best of the responses? “One more example why the women’s game is different from the men’s.”
Very true. If the UConn and Baylor men ever play, Kevin Ollie and Scott Drew probably won’t share a pregame exchange quite like this.