HAMILTON, N.Y. (AP) Top-ranked Connecticut is headed to central New York to play Colgate on Wednesday night as a tribute to Huskies star Breanna Stewart.
UConn attempted to schedule the game against former Big East foe Syracuse because Stewart is a native of North Syracuse. But the No. 19 Orange, who recruited her, instead scheduled Coppin State on Wednesday night, forgoing what likely would have been a significant crowd.
''It's a little frustrating, to be honest, considering the relationship I had with Coach Q (Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman) and the staff that was there (at the time of her recruitment),'' Stewart said. ''It would have been nice to play at Syracuse because it's literally five minutes from my house. But things happen. I'm just happy that Colgate was able to put us on its schedule.''
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Hillsman declined comment on Tuesday. Both games start at 7 p.m. Colgate is about 40 miles southeast of Syracuse.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma said he asked Syracuse but doesn't know the reason the Orange declined.
''A lot of teams do that, not just Syracuse,'' Auriemma said. ''There is always someone who wants to play you. I don't know what his reason was, but the one you hear the most is, `Well, if (Stewart) wanted to play in the Carrier Dome … then they should have come here. That's fine with me.
''But in the end, we're going to make the trip and everyone is going to have a great time.''
Especially the Raiders.
''It's going to be unbelievable for our program, for Colgate, to have the No. 1 team in the country come to Hamilton, New York,'' Colgate coach Nicci Hays Fort said. ''It's going to be crazy in a good way.
''Hamilton and Colgate's been buzzing for the last couple games. People have been talking about the game for a year.''
The hometown crowd usually numbers between 500-800. This will be first sellout for the team at Cotterell Court, which can accommodate 1,750 with chair back seating along with general admission bleachers.
AP Sports Writers Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Connecticut and Doug Feinberg in New York contributed to this report.
AP College Basketball Website: www.collegebasketball.ap.org