STORRS, Conn. – Shabazz Napier and Niels Giffey were texting Stefanie Dolson on Monday, moments after the Connecticut women beat Texas A&M to earn their way into the Final Four.
They were making fun of her postgame television interview and teasing her over a reverse layup she had made after putting the ball high off the glass.
But most of all, they were congratulating her for helping to secure the school’s bragging rights as the college-hoops capital of the nation.
“That’s the magic about UConn,” Giffey said Tuesday as his team prepared to leave campus for Texas and the men’s Final Four. “You just have those two big-time programs and everyone gets along really well.”
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The women’s 69-54 victory, coupled with the men’s 60-54 decision over Michigan State on Sunday, advanced both Huskies teams to the national semifinals in the same year for the fourth time.
“We were in the hotel room and watching their game, and when we realized they won and made it to the Final Four, we all ran out to the hallway, screaming and excited,” Dolson recalled.
“It’s just a camaraderie between the two teams, and it’s pretty special and something not a lot of schools have.”
Seven other schools have sent both their men’s and women’s teams to a Final Four in the same year.
Louisville did it last season. Georgia was the first to do it, in 1983. The feat has also been accomplished by Duke, Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan State and Louisiana State.
But UConn is the only school to do it more than once.
In 2004, the Huskies went a step further, becoming the only school to win the men’s and women’s national titles in the same year.
The teams have appeared in a combined 20 Final Fours since 1991.
“What’s happened, and what’s happening, is just nothing short of remarkable and the only people who probably don’t celebrate it enough are the people in Connecticut — us,” women’s coach Geno Auriemma said. “We at times take this stuff for granted that, yeah, we’re UConn and we’re supposed to be there.”
Marquette hires Wojciechowski as coach
Marquette found its replacement for Buzz Williams in Mike Krzyzewski’s coaching tree.
The Golden Eagles introduced Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski, 37, as their next men’s coach.
During his introductory news conference in Milwaukee, Wojciechowski said Krzyzewski “allowed me to understand just how fun and incredible the game of basketball is, but when used the right way, how it can change your life. I hope to do that here at Marquette.”
Wojciechowski replaces Williams, who left for Virginia Tech last month after leading Marquette to a 139-69 record and five NCAA tournament appearances in six seasons.
“I wasn’t going to leave (Duke) for just any job,” Wojciechowski said. “I was only going to leave for a job that I thought is the perfect job for me, and I feel like Marquette is that place.”
• Louisiana State forward Johnny O’Bryant III said he will bypass his senior season and make himself eligible for the NBA draft.
• Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he might advise sophomore guard Gary Harris to turn pro.
• Brigham Young guard Matt Carlino, who averaged 13.7 points this season, plans to transfer for his senior year of eligibility. He is expected to graduate in June.
• Tyler Summitt, 23, will coach the Louisiana Tech women. His mother, Hall of Famer Pat Summitt, guided Tennessee to eight national women’s titles. Tyler Summitt has been an assistant at Marquette.