On March 6, 2001, the top two women’s college basketball teams in the nation, UConn and Notre Dame, played what was arguably the greatest game in the history of the sport. When UConn’s Sue Bird hit a twelve-foot pull-up jumper at the buzzer over national player of the year Ruth Riley in the Big East Tournament championship game, it marked the end of an epic contest that featured five future Olympians and eight first-round WNBA selections.
Bird at the Buzzer re-creates this unique season with a detailed account of the games that led up to—and beyond—the tournament finale; profiles of the two coaches, UConn’s Geno Auriemma and Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw; close-ups of the players who made the year so memorable; and, finally, an in-depth recap of the game worthy of being designated ESPN’s first-ever women’s basketball “Instant Classic.”
Author Jeff Goldberg shows us the drama on the court and behind the scenes as the big game pitted Riley and the upstarts from Notre Dame against what many believed was the most talented team in UConn history, under Hall of Fame coach Auriemma. A see-saw affair in which neither team led by more than eight points, the 2001 Big East championship game encapsulates the quintessential inside story of the individual talents and skills, team spirit and smarts, and the moment-by-moment realities of college athletics that made this season a snapshot of sports at its finest.
Jeff Goldberg covered the 2001 Big East Tournament final for the Chicago Tribune and was the Hartford Courant’s UConn women’s beat writer from 2001 to 2006. He is currently the Red Sox beat writer for Metro Boston. Doris Burke is a television reporter who covers both men’s and women’s college and pro games for ESPN and ABC Sports.
“This is the definitive account of a landmark game told by someone with unique access and insight. If you love UConn women’s basketball, you’ll love this book.”—Rebecca Lobo, UConn ’95 player, ESPN women’s basketball analyst, and 2010 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee
“Bird at the Buzzer is a pulsating inside look at one of the most intriguing teams in women’s basketball history. Relive the intimate details of Connecticut’s triumph and heartbreak during the 2001 playoffs with seasoned journalist Jeff Goldberg as your host.”—Jackie MacMullan, ESPN.com NBA columnist and coauthor of Geno: In Pursuit of Perfection and When the Game Was Ours
“A well-written account of a seminal moment in an expanding sport by an intelligent, incisive observer.”—Wes Lukowsky, Booklist