Lady Vols, UConn to resume rivalry with home-and-home series

Mike Wilson

After more than a decade of dormancy, the Tennessee-UConn women's basketball rivalry is returning.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, left, shakes hand with Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma before their women's college basketball  game in this Jan. 7, 2006 file photo in Knoxville, Tenn. The two schools meet against this weekend.

(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

The two storied programs will play a home-and-home series in 2019-20 and 2020-21, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Tuesday. UConn will host Tennessee during the 2019-20 season, then the Lady Vols will host the Huskies at Thompson-Boling Arena in 2020-21. 

"We are so excited to join UConn for games that will generate incredible interest for women's basketball and benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame," Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick said in a statement.  "Basketball fans will be intrigued to watch these two programs meet on the court again, and I know Lady Vols and Huskies fans will be eager to pack arenas, cheer on their teams and make a difference for some very worthy causes, including one bearing the name of my coach, mentor and friend."

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A portion of the proceeds from both games will benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame also will received proceeds from the 2020-21 meeting in Knoxville.

According to ESPN, the first meeting will take place on Jan. 23, 2020. The second game date and ticket information will be released at a later date.

"I am happy to have the Lady Vols back on our schedule and am thrilled that proceeds to our games will benefit such an important endeavor like the Pat Summitt Foundation," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. "I know our fans will be excited to renew the rivalry with Tennessee and expect them to fill the building for some good basketball and a great cause."

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, left, reacts with her team as they pull ahead in the final minutes against Connecticut to win, 68-67, in Hartford, Conn., on Jan. 8, 2005.

The programs have combined for 19 national championships.

The Lady Vols and Huskies rank Nos. 1 and 2 in all-time NCAA wins with 1,344 and 1,119, respectively. UConn stands first in NCAA titles with 11 and 19 Final Fours, while Tennessee is second with eight NCAA championships and 18 Final Fours.

Tennessee and UConn have not met since 2007, when the Lady Vols won 70-64 in Hartford, Conn., behind Candace Parker's 30-point game. The Lady Vols and Huskies played at least once in the regular season every year from 1995-2007 with alternating home games.

They also routinely met in the postseason in that stretch, with seven meetings coming in the NCAA Tournament. They played for the national championship four times, with UConn taking all four meetings.

The series ended after Tennessee filed more than 30 pages of complaints with the SEC office regarding Connecticut’s recruiting during a five-month period in 2006. 

UT has a 9-13 mark against the Huskies and is on a three-game winning streak in the series. 

The two programs hinted at the announcement earlier Tuesday afternoon with a string of chatter on Twitter.