THERE'S NO SIEVE CHANT IN BASKETBALL. Marquette Warrior fans manage to rattle Connecticut capo Geno Auriemma anyway.

The No. 6-ranked Huskies, one of the nation's premier women's programs, squeaked past the 16th-ranked Golden Eagles, 52-48. As the final score would indicate, it was anything but easy.

Not even an energized capacity crowd of 4,000, the first sellout in the three-year history of the Al McGuire Center, could help the Golden Eagles. But the crowd, especially the students seated near Connecticut's bench, managed to get under coach Geno Auriemma's skin in his first coaching trip to Marquette.

"I don't know about the quality of a Catholic education when I hear some of the things I heard tonight," Auriemma said. "I know it's Milwaukee and the kids drink a lot of beer.

"But I don't think there will be any place tougher to play than here. The (fans) were fun at least."

A less-well-known pack of Huskies secures a winning season in a game that matched former college rivals as coaches.

[Maria] Fantanarosa was recruited by Northern Illinois in 1985 and she had the Huskies among her top three choices, but decided to play guard at Miami. If she had attended NIU, she would have been teammates with [Carol] Owens, a Hall of Famer for the Huskies.

“Jane Albright was here at the time (as head coach) and I thought the world of her,” Fantanarosa said. “Cary Groth was here, there were a lot of neat people. I joked with Carol before the game. I said, ‘Gosh, we could have been teammates Carol, how many assists would I have had?' She just started laughing.”

Miami of Ohio and Northern Illinois both play in the Mid-American; years ago they were in something called the North Star Conference.

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