Megan Rapinoe roots against Sue Bird's UConn rival, wants beef with Lady Vols great Candace Parker

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·3 min read

Megan Rapinoe is here for some good basketball beef.

The USWNT star was the WNBA's No. 1 (and only) fan this summer while watching fiancée Sue Bird win the championship with the Seattle Storm. Now she's tuning in and throwing down about the NCAA women's basketball tournament that tipped off Sunday.

No one is immune from her barbs, including Candace Parker.

Rapinoe, Bird hate on No. 3 Tennessee

Rapinoe is solidly in her partner's corner and that means hating on Tennessee. The Lady Vols and Bird's Connecticut Huskies were heated rivals in the day (and arguably still are).

She made it clear who she was rooting for in the first women's basketball tournament game to air on a broadcast channel since 1995. Ryan Ruocco and Rebecca Lobo, who also call WNBA games, were on it for ABC in the afternoon session.

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Rapinoe was rooting for No. 14 Middle Tennessee over the third-seeded Lady Vols in the River Walk Region and received some love from Bird's former Storm teammate, Alysha Clark.

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Clark led Division I in scoring both years with the Raiders and entered the Middle Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2020.

Rapinoe drags Candace Parker into it

Rapinoe wasn't going to leave it alone at one tweet. She wants the drama. The beef. The back-and-forth smack talk.

Obviously she went big and tagged Candace Parker, who led Tennessee to consecutive national titles in 2007 and 2008.

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Parker hadn't responded when the game ended, but she's also an incredibly busy person. She's an NBA on TNT analyst and is preparing for her first season with the Chicago Sky.

Tweet backfires on Rapinoe

Middle Tennessee had everyone on upset alert early and went into the break tied at 39-39. But the Lady Vols outscored the Raiders, 48-23, in the second half by dominating the paint. The dynamic duo of Rennia Davis and Rae Burrell exploded with a combined 44 points.

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Davis had a 24-point, 14-rebound double-double. Burrell was all over with 22 points, seven rebounds, two steals, two blocks and an assist. It was the first time since 2007 the team had two scorers each with at least 20 points. They out-rebounded the Raiders, 56-21, and shot 52.4 percent overall.

Tennessee will face the winner of No. 6 Michigan and No. 11 Florida Gulf Coast in the second round on Tuesday.

Maryland goes with Pinoe pose

Maryland, the No. 2 seed in the Hemisfair region, doesn't play until Monday afternoon but is already on Rapinoe's radar. After she gave lead scorer Ashley Owusu the starry-eyed emoji in a tweet, the team came back with Owusu in Rapinoe's famous World Cup pose.

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Maryland takes on No. 15 Mount St. Mary's on Monday at 4 p.m. The game is on ESPN. Maybe next we'll see some beef with Kristi Toliver, Alyssa Thomas and Crystal Langhorne, who retired from the Storm last month.

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