Geno Auriemma: Gender fueling critics

Updated: December 21, 2010, 11:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- After win No. 88 in a row was in the books, Geno Auriemma finally let loose: He thinks some people are rooting against his record-setting players because of their gender.

"I just know there wouldn't be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman's record," the Connecticut coach said Sunday near the end of his postgame news conference. "The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record, and everybody is all up in arms about it."

Already with no equal in women's basketball, UConn won its 88th straight game Sunday to match the men's streak set by coach John Wooden and his UCLA teams from 1971 to '74. The top-ranked Huskies routed Ohio State (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) 81-50 in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.

"All the women are happy as hell and they can't wait to come in here and ask questions. All the guys that loved women's basketball are all excited, and all the miserable bastards that follow men's basketball and don't want us to break the record are all here because they're pissed," Auriemma said. "That's just the way it is."

The no-nonsense Auriemma had downplayed the significance of the streak as his team closed in on UCLA, promising that once the run was over he would finally open up.

But the Hall of Fame coach, known to rub folks the wrong way at times, has never been afraid to say what's on his mind.

"Because we're breaking a men's record, we've got a lot of people paying attention," Auriemma said. "If we were breaking a women's record, everybody would go, 'Aren't those girls nice, let's give them two paragraphs in USA Today, you know, give them one line on the bottom of ESPN and then let's send them back where they belong, in the kitchen.'"

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Graham Hays was used in this report.

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