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Big East commish contacts schools

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma's exchange with a Syracuse player after a game last week has caught the attention of Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese.

Auriemma had words with Syracuse's Nicole Michael in the handshake line after the Huskies' 107-53 victory Saturday, and was pulled away from the junior forward by assistant coach Shea Ralph.

When Auriemma went back through the line to leave the court, Michael appeared to step in his direction, and he tripped over her foot. He was then led away by his players.

Big East director of communications Rachel Margolis said Tranghese reached out to both schools' athletic directors and will speak to them again later this week.

"We believe that talking about this issue through the media will not benefit either university," Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said in a statement Monday. "Our student-athletes, coaches and staff believe in the importance of sportsmanship and will continue to conduct themselves with the highest regard for our opponents."

Auriemma also received a technical foul with just over 6 minutes left and his team up 56 points for screaming about Syracuse's physical play.

Auriemma played it down later.

"I think I stepped on someone's foot, stumbled or something," he said with a smile after UConn's victory. "I wish I could tell you there was more to it. Kids do funny things when they lose. They were [mad] they lost by 50. They didn't want to have any part of shaking hands. None. Zero ... I hope my players don't do that."

Top-ranked Connecticut routed No. 2 North Carolina 88-58 on Monday night.

UConn spokesman Randy Press said Auriemma was aware the Big East was looking into the issue and wouldn't comment on it further.