UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma fired back at Muffet McGraw on Monday following the former Notre Dame coach's recent comments alleging "complete bias" when it comes to the Huskies and Connecticut-based ESPN.
"I think the bias has something to do -- if there is any -- with the 11 national championships, which is a lot more than two," Auriemma said on the "UConn WBB Coaches Show." "At least I remember that on 'Sesame Street.'"
McGraw's remarks came during a Dec. 22 appearance on the "Off the Looking Glass" podcast by Kate Fagan and Jessica Smetana, who asked her if UConn has an "outsized" influence on women's basketball.
"Absolutely," said McGraw, who retired after the 2020 season and now works as an analyst with the ACC Network, which is owned and operated by ESPN. "UConn has done great things, and they've won way more than anybody else, except Tennessee. What they've done has been amazing. I think people measure their team by them. When we joined the Big East, we were like, 'We want to get to where they are. That's what we want to be. We're trying to emulate them.'
"But I think it goes over the top with ESPN. That is Connecticut's network. Notre Dame has NBC. Connecticut has ESPN. That is absolutely complete bias there."
Auriemma, contacted by ESPN at the time, said he had no comment on McGraw's remarks. But he didn't hold back when addressing McGraw's claims on Monday.
"I guess Muffet's bored," Auriemma told show host Bob Joyce. "I guess she doesn't have a whole lot to talk about. Usually when she was coaching, when she did talk, nobody listened anyway. I guess she figures she's got a platform now.
"If people didn't want to watch us on television, I'm sure they wouldn't put us on. If we didn't generate the ratings, I'm sure people wouldn't have us on. When you tend to win a lot, people want to watch you play a lot."
Auriemma then added sarcastically, "I do want to thank the people at ESPN for helping us win those 111 [games] in a row. If it wasn't for them, there's no way we could have done it. Hopefully, there's some people there that can take some credit for that."
UConn has had four games broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC this season, with two still to come. However, most of the Huskies' games are broadcast on SNY, and Fox is the official network of the Big East, including its conference tournament. The ACC and SEC networks, both owned and operated by ESPN, broadcast multiple women's basketball games each week from those leagues throughout the season, along with covering those conference tournaments.
"Notre Dame has their own network; our network is SNY," Auriemma said. "I don't know why anybody would think ESPN is our network. I'm just glad we don't go 30 years between winning championships. So maybe NBC ought to help them a little more."
NBC is Notre Dame's network for college football.
"We started getting on ESPN in 1995 ... we've been on ESPN a lot," Auriemma said. "There are a lot of other schools within proximity to ESPN. I don't think the bias has anything to do with where ESPN is located or where UConn is located."
This is the latest saga in the war of words over the years between Auriemma and McGraw, longtime rivals in the old Big East conference. UConn and Notre Dame have a series dating back to 1996, with the Huskies leading 39-13. That includes eight meetings in the women's Final Four, where Notre Dame leads 5-3; all of the Fighting Irish victories were in the national semifinals. UConn won both times the programs played in the NCAA finals, in 2014 and 2015.