Published January 19. 2014 4:00AM
UConn and Rutgers developed into one of the Big East's best rivalries during a four-year stretch between 2005 and 2008 when the Scarlet Knights beat the Huskies five times in nine meetings.
But the Big East is now a thing of the past and so, it appears, is the rivalry.
Rutgers will leave the fledgling American Athletic Conference after just one season to join the Big Ten and the series, at least for the short term, could be in jeopardy.
The rivalry has also lost some stream because UConn has one the last 10 meetings - all by double figures - including a 65-45 rout at the Rutgers Athletic Center last season in Piscataway, N.J. The top-ranked Huskies (18-0, 5-0) are back at the RAC today (3 p.m., ESPN2) to face the No. 23 Scarlet Knights (13-3, 4-1) in the first of their two regular-season meetings.
"You walk into the gym and it's a bit old school," UConn center Stefanie Dolson told the Hartford Courant following a recent practice. "It does not have a lot of the glitz and glam like the new arenas do. And the fans are sitting there close to you. They heckle you and say things. It makes it a fun, challenging, kind of a different place to play."
Translation: UConn doesn't mind playing before a hostile crowd, which doesn't bode well for Rutgers.
The Huskies, the favorite to win their ninth national championship, have four potential All-Americans in Dolson, Breanna Stewart, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Bria Hartley, and a budding start in sophomore point guard Moriah Jefferson. All five are averaging in double figures led by the 6-foot-4 Stewart (18.1 points, 7.9 rebounds) and the 6-5 Dolson (13.2, 9.4).
Sophomore forward Morgan Tuck is expected to miss her third straight game with lingering soreness in her right knee.