Rivalry has packed plenty of memories

Updated: February 5, 2004, 10:03 PM ET
ESPN.com

Connecticut and Tennessee have played 18 times, including six clashes in the NCAA Tournament. And since their first encounter 10 years ago, the rivalry has produced many memorable moments. A look at the favorites from ESPN.com columnists Mechelle Voepel and Nancy Lieberman:

GAME OF THE SERIES
Mechelle VoepelTheir 1996 national semifinal in Charlotte, N.C., an 88-83 overtime win for Tennessee on March 29, 1996, is easily the best game in this series. It was fabulous, one clutch shot after another.

UConn had won the matchup the year before, but Tennessee came back the very next year. And very early on, it cemented what type of rivalry it was going to be. It was punch, counterpunch, attack, counterattack.

The game also was very exciting to watch on TV, and was a fitting contest to mark the return of women's college basketball on ESPN. Throughout all the years I've watched basketball, this game sticks out. There haven't been many overtime games in the Final Four, and I can still remember specific things that happened.

I also remember how classy UConn coach Geno Auriemma was after that loss. Though the loss had to be really tough on him and his seniors, he was very gracious and said that Michelle Marciniak and Latina Davis deserved to win a national championship.
Nancy LiebermanIn the 1999-2000 season, UConn lost only one game. And it's the most memorable matchup of the Huskies' series with Tennessee.

On Feb. 2, 2000, Tennessee fought a 13-point deficit to beat the Huskies 72-71 at Gampel Pavilion on a mid-range jumper from Semeka Randall with just 4.4 seconds remaining. It was a great ending that had you holding your breath.

Despite the last-second heroics, this game had plenty of other drama. Everyone was anxious to see if things would heat up again between Randall and Svetlana Abrosimova, who had tangled on the same floor a year earlier.

In the end, this wasn't just two really good teams playing a nonconference game. This was really becoming a rivalry. And by the time the game was over, it cemented the animosity in the rivalry. It turned into a thing of pride, of bragging rights. UConn had just won on Tennessee's court less than a month before, and the Lady Vols made sure to do the same.