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Stanford comes to Gampel tonight looking for some revenge

Storrs - Programming note for those interested in watching the No. 1 UConn women tonight at 7 on ESPN2:

The Huskies might lose.

No, really. Stanford's No. 3 ranking didn't come because voters drift toward smart people. The Cardinal have forward Chiney Ogwumike, among others. She might be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft.

And if the Huskies lose, coach Geno Auriemma won't likely lose any hair. He's more worried about Tuesday anyway.

"I think what happens after Monday's game is always bigger than what happens in Monday's game," Auriemma said Saturday, after the Huskies dusted Hartford. "We went out to Stanford (last year) and played well. But when we came home, I think the next five days of practice weren't great and we didn't play great against Notre Dame (a loss). What we do Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is more important than what happens Monday night."

UConn took a highly anticipated game last year at Maples Pavilion and turned it into the normal Tuesday night vs. Seton Hall (61-35 win). Auriemma wasn't expecting such dominance. He doubts Stanford has forgotten.

"When you have a lot of players back, which they do, it's pretty hard not to bring that up," he said. "It doesn't happen very often to them and certainly not on their homecourt. It's certainly not anything I foresaw happening. They've done that to a lot of people in trips to other people's gyms. When you are a proud program like they are and accomplished what they've accomplished, I'm sure it didn't go over very well. I'm sure it'll be mentioned a few times."

Stanford, which defeated Boston College to open its season Saturday at Conte Forum, begins perhaps the most competitive week of the season for Connecticut. No. 8 Maryland and No. 13 Penn State loom on the road. Such is life for what has emerged as the nation's elite program.

"I remember when we used to play in these games and everyone would go 'wow Connecticut's pretty good. Where the hell did they come from?'" Auriemma said. "Now if we win (tonight), everyone will go, 'big deal they're supposed to win.'

"I really don't know the absolute best approach to take," he said. "The approach that's helped us the most over the last 10 years is probably that it's November, we're home, we're playing a really good team. It's national television and we want to play great. And Tuesday morning, we get to get ready for Friday and Sunday."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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