STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut, Notre Dame, Stanford, and Tennessee women's basketball teams have combined to win 20 national championships and make 51 NCAA Final Four appearances.
And in about a one-year span, all four will have played at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee, against UTC.
The Mocs stunned then-No. 4 Tennessee on Nov. 26 and followed that up Wednesday with a 54-46 upset of No. 7 Stanford. UConn will start a home-and-home series with UTC in Chattanooga next season, while Notre Dame will also visit Chattanooga in 2015-16 to wrap up a home-and-home that started with a game in South Bend last month.
Chattanooga coach Jim Foster gave UConn's Geno Auriemma and Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw their starts in college coaching as assistants when he was at Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia. Foster also has a long relationship with Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer as both have worked with USA Basketball.
"Jim said they wanted to play us," Auriemma said after the Huskies' practice on Wednesday. "I told him to call (UConn senior women's administrator) Deb Corum and they put it together. I think it's great.
"It wasn't my idea. I didn't go up to him and say we should be playing. It was his idea. He wanted to do it and I'm glad it got done."
UTC has won 43 of its last 44 home games. It had its 40-game home winning streak snapped by South Florida on Nov. 16.
UConn and UTC have never met. The Mocs' first meeting with Notre Dame was the game at Purcell Pavilion on Nov. 21 while Wednesday's game was their first meeting with Stanford. UTC has won two of the last three meetings against Tennessee, both at home, though the Lady Vols lead the series overall 19-2.
Foster -- who was hired as the Mocs' coach on May 9, 2013, after Wes Moore left to take over at North Carolina State -- led UTC to a 29-4 record and the Southern Conference championship a season ago. The Mocs are 7-3 this season with their second win over a Top 10 team in school history and of the young campaign.
"He's got a pretty ambitious schedule -- us, Notre Dame, Stanford, Tennessee ...," Auriemma said. "But they're in a conference that's usually a one-bid league. They're doing the right thing. If something were to happen that they lose in their league tournament, they could have the kind of record or kind of resume that might still get them in the NCAA tournament. Chattanooga was always good when Wes Moore was there and Jim has picked up right where they left off."
Auriemma, who admits he's been reluctant to schedule Foster's teams in the past due to his long-time friendship with him, has a 3-3 record against his former boss. He was 0-1 against Foster's teams at Saint Joseph's, 2-2 against his teams at Vanderbilt, and 1-0 against his teams at Ohio State. The last meeting was an 81-50 UConn victory over the Buckeyes in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 19, 2010, that was win No. 88 of the Huskies' NCAA record 90-game winning streak.
Edwards' decision no surpriseWhen freshman Sadie Edwards met with Auriemma last week and told him that she wanted to transfer, the move didn't catch the Hall of Fame coach off guard.
"I said, 'Hopefully you learned something while you were here and hopefully you have a better idea of what it is going to take to play college basketball at this level. If there is anything we can do to help you land the right place for you, certainly we are going to do that,' " Auriemma said. "It didn't work. It didn't work."
UConn announced on Dec. 9 that Edwards, a 5-foot-10 guard from Meriden, Connecticut, would leave the program. She played in six games and totaled five points and two rebounds in 29 minutes. She played just the final 38 seconds of UConn's win at Notre Dame on Dec. 6.
"You have to be all in," Auriemma said. "At this level you have to be all in, 100 percent, everything.
"Everybody thinks it's going to be a lot easier than it is. It always looks great from the outside, because what do you see from the outside? You see the crowds, the adulation, the Final Fours, the parades, all the All-Americans. What you don't see is how all that comes about. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."
Edwards' teammates seemed to see it coming.
"I'm not necessarily surprised that she left. I am surprised that it happened as quickly as it did," UConn senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said. "She just wasn't happy. You could tell she wasn't happy that she wasn't playing, and her demeanor just changed over the past couple of months. You could tell that it was deteriorating more and more the more she wasn't playing.
"It takes a lot for people to stay here all four years. But it also takes a lot for someone to know when enough is enough and how much you can handle. And I think that she did the right thing by looking at what she can handle and what's best for herself."
If Edwards enrolls at a Division I school for its Spring 2015 semester, she would be eligible at the end of the school's Fall semester for the 2015-16 season.
Her departure leaves the Huskies with nine full scholarship players.
Second-ranked UConn (6-1) takes on No. 25 DePaul at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport Friday (SNY, 7:30 p.m.).