BATON ROUGE, LA -- Texas A&M coach Gary Blair says the best thing about playing Hartford in tonight's second-round NCAA women's regional is that Hartford coach Jennifer Rizzotti isn't playing.
Rizzotti's a former Connecticut All-American who played briefly
for the Aggies' coach when Blair was an assistant on the 1996 U.S.
Jones Cup team. Blair says he knew right away that Rizzotti would
be a great coach.
No. 10 seed Hartford plays No. 2 seed A&M tonight in Baton
Hartford narrowly advanced to the second round, needing
MaryLynne Schaefer's 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining to beat
Rizzotti craves the kind of exposure for Hartford that she was
accustomed to while playing for UConn. Beating the Aggies to get to
Oklahoma City would be a major step in that direction.
For A&M, however, the regional round is a minimum goal. The
Aggies haven't been there since 1994. But this year they won the
Big 12 tournament, then won handily in their first-round NCAA game
over Texas-San Antonio. They were bolstered by the resurgence of
Louisiana-born senior Morenike Atunrase.