They said what? Volume 10: Dan Shaughnessy’s Twitter account and the UConn women’s basketball team

I’m not sure what’s going on with old people these days but there must be something in the nursing home cafeteria food that’s making them cranky.   First we had Oscar Robertson belittling Steph Curry’s MVP season by criticizing the modern state of the NBA.  Then we had Goose Gossage say Jose Bautista was disrespecting his race by celebrating home runs a little too flippantly.  Now we’ve got Dan Shaughnessy cracking on Geno Auriemma and his once again undefeated UConn women’s basketball team.

I guess they can’t leave well enough alone.

Let’s be clear about one thing both Shaughnessy and I agree upon.  UConn’s dominance is unmatched.  The 2016 Golden State Warriors aren’t that dominant. Ronda Rousey wasn’t.  Tiger Woods wasn’t.  Heck, it wasn’t all that long ago that an Auriemma coached team bested the long-standing UCLA men’s basketball record for consecutive wins.  Between 2008-10, UConn won 90 consecutive games.  They are currently in the middle of another sixty-game win streak and are two wins away from a fourth consecutive national championship.

DAN SHAUGHNESSYThat, my friends, is dominance.

Yet, in a single Tweet, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, who has written for that newspaper since Larry Bird was wearing short shorts, said what they were doing was bad for the sport.

Here’s Mr. Shaughnessy’s Tweet:

“UConn Women beat Miss St. 98-38 in NCAA tourney. Hate to punish them for being great, but they are killing women’s game. Watch? No thanks”


Shaughnessy’s comments weren’t Don Imus-like but they certainly weren’t flattering for the game.  Picking on a bunch of teenage girls who a) are the very best at what they do and b) are doing their best to perpetuate interest in their sport for an entire gender is in poor taste.  Shaughnessy should have known better.  Clearly, he didn’t.

Let’s be honest.  Women’s college basketball isn’t exactly drawing flocks of viewers to their television sets but ratings are on the incline.  It’s enough of a struggle for nineteen to twenty-three year old women who are doing what they love to draw fan interest without some dinosaur blowhard Tweeting about how they’re bad for the game.

GenoHave no fear.  Enter their head coach, mentor and perhaps one of the most underappreciated head coaches of our time: Geno Auriemma.  I mean, the guy has won ten championships and he ain’t done yet.

Geno’s not someone you want to mess with.  He’s lost about as many arguments as he has basketball games.  His girls know he’s got their backs.

The gist of Auriemma’s perfectly calm retort to Shaughnessy came in two simple words.  Don’t watch.  Who needs 140 characters to express what one can get across so eloquently in ten?  Pretty smooth reply, I must admit.  After all, this isn’t Auriemma’s first publicized war of the words.  His back and forth banter with former University of Tennessee head coach Pat Summit was stuff of legend.  And he’s had plenty of run-ins with the media over the years although this might be the first with someone the status of Shaughnessy who has written for the Globe since they used typewriter ribbons and Wite-Out.

Shaughnessy has since recanted his Tweet in a follow-up article but it’s a little too late.  It’s okay.  Nobody outside of New England reads Shaughnessy anyway.  After the slew of angry responses that ensued, I’m guessing that Bushmills on the rocks on the way home from the Globe didn’t go down as smoothly as it normally does.

A few months ago, I went to see the record-settingly, dominant Golden State Warriors play basketball in Orlando.  After all, this is history in the making.  A few years ago, when Auriemma’s undefeated UConn team was en route to breaking UCLA’s record for most consecutive wins, they came to Tampa to play USF.  I saw them too.

Just because it’s women’s basketball and not a more mainstream sport doesn’t make it any less of an accomplishment.  And if UConn’s blowing people out, that just means they’re that good.  In one of numerous responses to Shaughnessy’s Tweet, NBA analyst for ESPN Doris Burke wrote “What Connecticut is doing is hard. Do they make it look easy? Yes. But this is hard. And we should appreciate sustained excellence. They’re coached hard.  I wish more women were exposed to his coaching because, you know what? As a player, I want to maximize my abilities. And that’s what Geno Auriemma does.”

UConn women

Geno Auriemma is not going to apologize for making his college athletes the best they can be and he’s not going to apologize for beating anyone by sixty.  He shouldn’t have to.  Just because his girls are mauling opponents, well, that’s their problem, not his. Shaughnessy never got that memo.

If the Warriors were doing what UConn is doing, if they seamlessly rattled off two or three more championships while barely losing a game, I can’t help but wonder whether Shaughnessy would think that would be bad for the NBA.  Or maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t care what Shaughnessy has to think at all.

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15 Replies to “They said what? Volume 10: Dan Shaughnessy’s Twitter account and the UConn women’s basketball team”

  1. Geno Auriemma walks on water , as he’s one of the twelve disciples . Is he ready to be canonized ? I digress , but the U Conn Huskies Women’s Basketball team have rarely been challenged in the NCAA Tournament over the last twelve to fifteen years .

    As good a coach as Auriemma is believed to be , I seriously doubt he would be able to achieve the same sort of success, were he coaching a men’s team at the D1 Level of College Basketball !

    Tophatal ….

  2. He’s 66 years old, Al, and has ten championships going on eleven.

    As long as he keeps this up, there’s no end in sight to what he can accomplish.

    Pat Summit has more coaching victories 1097 but he’s not all that far behind and he’s got ten titles to her eight.

    He’s not as likeable as Summit but I’ll tell ya’ what, he has built an incredible dynasty.

    Too bad no one’s watching, right?

  3. UCONN women win because they get the best players. They get the best players because they win. They win because they have the best coach who gets those best players. Same story with Nick Saban. They wil continue to win. As for winning by sixty, that deserves a hearing. That almost rises to the level of bullying. As for watching women’s sports, few sports are as competitively played as women’s softball. Women tend to listen well to their coaches and play as a team better than men. That’s why I watch them.

  4. Could make similar argument for Anson Dorrance at Carolina and his dominant teams of the 80s/90s

  5. Chris

    Don’t get me wrong , Auriemma’s achievements are historic and to be admired. Both he and Pat Summitt , have been a credit to Women’s Collegiate Basketball. However , if I were to ask you this , name three female players who you believe have reshaped the game at the Collegiate Level and then in the WNBA, who who were also the students of both of these legendary coaches , would you be able to do so ?

    Other than Baylor , Duke , U Conn and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers what other programs in the Women’s Collegiate game can really be looked with any type of glowing admiration ?

    Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski having won multiple titles , also taught several players , who went on to achieving great things in the NBA. Yet to see the same or make the same sort of claim concerning either Geno Auriemma or Pat Summit when it comes to the women’s game.

    Dan Shaugnessy is simply being himself ,something of a self-righteous and a pompous @ss.

  6. I see the Rays were taken behind the woodshed and given a good ol’ @ss kicking by the Pirates yesterday , in the game between the two teams ? More doldrums for the Tampa Bay Rays this upcoming season, while there’s continued speculation they will trade James Loney . Is Evan Longoria still contributing anything of note to the franchise , other than having a hot looking girlfriend (Jaime Edmondson ) , most men would drool over ?

  7. I ain’t watching it, but he’s definitely built a brand that has the best girls headed his way. All U Conn has to do is call and they get the player they want.

  8. You’re correct, Jim.

    If you’re a top notch female basketball player coming out of high school and UConn offers you a scholarship, you go.

    Same as in the men’s game with Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, UNC, etc, although I would argue that men’s college football and basketball are a little more competitive.

    Geno’s done built himself a monopoly and a dynasty all in one.

  9. William…

    I’m almost ashamed I had to look that one up.

    21 national championships and still going strong?

    You learn something new every day.

    Good luck to your Heels in the tourney, my friend.

  10. If you ask me, Al, I’m going to say Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper and Lisa Leslie, ironically none of whom played for either Auriemma or Summit.

    That’s not to say UConn hasn’t had a slew of huge names come out of that program.

  11. Great players you’ve mentioned and Auriemma has produced some notable players who have played in the WNBA . Sue Bird , Rebecca Lobo , Nykesha Sales , Diana Taurasi , Swinn Cash and Tina Charles . Several of them went on to win a WNBA championship also.

    39-0 and it simply says it all about the San Antonio Spurs (64-12) at home this season .

    The title game in NCAA Men’s Tournament is it the Final you had wished for ? Villanova crushed the Sooners . I’m just glad Syracuse didn’t make it , with the Tar Heels prevailing !

    No good can from Jim Boeheim and the Orangemen making to the championship game , especially in light of the numerous and repeated infractions and other violations which took place. Boeheim is in complete denial, with his claims of no wrongdoing on his part even with his suspension.

    Are you heading to any of the Rays’ games during the opening month of their schedule ?

  12. I’d like to hit a Rays game, Al, but it already looks like they’re off to a rough start. Back to back losses to the Jays?

    I’m sure I’ll hit a game or two with some friends.

    Here’s just hoping they can get some bats working… finally.

  13. Not only did Chris Archer get roughed up, but the bats of the Rays were very silent. So much was being made about the offense and then we find out the Rays got rid of James Loney ? Is there any common sense within front office of the Tampa Bay Rays ?

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