Published April 07. 2013 4:00AM
New Orleans - Muffet McGraw might have told a fib Saturday at the Final Four, suggesting the reason her relationship with UConn coach Geno Auriemma remains civil is "I don't really read anything he says."
With one notable exception, apparently.
McGraw, whose Notre Dame women have beaten UConn seven of the last eight times they've played, said she didn't deliver a motivational speech to her team before the Big East tournament championship game last month.
Auriemma unwittingly did it for her when he guaranteed a tournament title.
"That was a great motivational speech that I never had to give my team," McGraw said.
McGraw said she was unaware of Auriemma's speech last month to the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce last month, proclaiming UConn would not lose to Notre Dame for a fourth time, if the teams were to meet at the Final Four.
"I try to stay away from anything controversial," McGraw said. "Geno would love to try to get some things going, I think. But it's really not in my nature to go back and forth like that."
Lawson: Don't count us out
Kara Lawson, who played for Pat Summitt, adopted her former coach's penetrating glare Saturday when it was suggested to her that injuries and Asjha Jones' absence might have already derailed the Connecticut Sun's 2013 season.
Lawson's stern expression prefaced the following:
"If I'm healthy and Tina (Charles) is healthy," she said, "we're going to be all right."
Lawson was part of an ESPN panel that answered the media's questions at New Orleans Arena as a prelude to today's national semifinals.
The fortunes of the Sun, who revealed Jones isn't playing this season the same day Danielle McCray injured her Achilles' tendon, was a popular topic with Lawson.
"I know Asjha has been banged up. I've been there," Lawson said. "I probably should have sat out the 2009 season. When your body can't do what you need it to do, that's a miserable place to be. Hopefully, she can heal."
Lawson spoke later about the number of players throughout the WNBA who have emerged with the opportunity of more playing time.
"Don't count us out," she said.
Tying the knot
Louisville guard Shoni Schimmel has become one of the game's emerging personalities this week, following her team's victory over Baylor.
Schimmel told a story Saturday of how her parents got married … last week.
"My parents have been together for 28 years," Schimmel said. "But they never had time to actually tie the knot. So they had a ton of kids (eight) but they never had time because they were always out coaching us and teaching us.
"But it was Easter Sunday (the day of the Baylor game) and my dad's like, 'anything can happen.' So my mom was like, 'if you guys beat Baylor, I'll marry your dad.' That ended up happening and they ended up getting married the day after, in between the Baylor and Tennessee games. It was incredible."
Louisville coach Jeff Walz has a budding friendship with men's coach Rick Pitino. Walz said the two spoke Saturday morning.
"Coach has been great. He's been great to me. Ever since the day I arrived on campus I went in and had the opportunity to meet him. Since then, if I've got a basketball question, I can pick up the phone and call him, text him, it doesn't matter the time.
"And when this thing is over, I'm sure we'll do the same thing we do every summer, get out on the golf course a couple of times. It's kind of the way he supplements his income. Because he sandbags, boy, I'm going to tell you."
Honors for UConn
UConn's Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley were selected to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association/State Farm All-America team as announced by the WBCA Saturday. It's the eighth time multiple UConn players earned the honor and the first since 2009-10 (Maya Moore, Tina Charles).
Dolson said there her ailing leg and foot injuries were neither better nor worse Saturday.