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Duke coach blasts Geno Auriemma, UConn, ex-players

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In her first public comments since she was investigated for player mistreatment, Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie came out swinging, and took some serious jabs at her former players -- and UConn head coach Geno Auriemma.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Update 5:00 p.m.

Auriemma has responded to the comments by McCallie in the Hartford Courant:

"Do you know how hard it is to coach at Duke?" Auriemma said facetiously. "It's really challenging. It's an impossible job. She's tried so hard to get to a Final Four with all the disadvantages there. So I suggest she try a little harder and let us try to be respectable."

It's not often you see this in women's basketball, where a sitting head coach from a top-flight university takes a shot across the bow of the top luminary in the sport.

But that's exactly what we have here, as Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie, in her first public comments after her player mistreatment investigation, calls out UConn, their head coach Geno Auriemma, and her ex-player Azura Stevens, who has transferred to play for the Huskies.

In a Q&A with the Chronicle, McCallie doesn't hold back, here's one snippet:

"When have you known Connecticut to take transfers? They took two this year. They took Azurá and [Batouly Camara] from Kentucky. Make sure you look at this stuff from a deep point of view, because why is [Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma] doing that? You know why he's doing that? Because talent is down. And he wants to continue to win. Obviously, they're great.

"But really? Is that what we're about now, I'm going to take transfers? That was the neat thing they used to have. Connecticut wasn't a transfer school. Now, even if they win it, who cares? I can't even understand it because he's such a good coach and it's such a great program."

If you think that's something, look at this scathing quote regarding former player Angela Salvadores:

"Obviously a terrific player, no doubt, but wrong fit, and me and my staff were completely responsible for that, and I think she set a tone of—although she was a talented player—she set a tone of not doing the team things. The best example I can give you is until the day she left here, she could never do a drill right and get into the end of the line without running through the drill—a simple concept like that, she never got it."

Like I said earlier, this NEVER happens, so it'll be interesting to see the reaction from Storrs, Connecticut, because if anyone knows anything about Auriemma, he's not the type to forget things like this, and he doesn't let it slide.