Connecticut Huskies women's basketball

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Connecticut Huskies
2014–15 Connecticut Huskies women's basketball team
Connecticut Huskies athletic logo
University University of Connecticut
Conference The American
Location Storrs, CT
Head coach Geno Auriemma (30th year)
Arena Harry A. Gampel Pavilion
(Capacity: 10,167)
Nickname Huskies
Colors

navy [1], white [1], red [2], and gray

                        
Uniforms
Kit body thinsidesonwhite.png
Home jersey
Kit shorts blanksides2.png
Team colours
Home
Kit body thinwhitesides.png
Away jersey
Kit shorts whitesides.png
Team colours
Away
NCAA/AIAW Tournament champions
1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015
NCAA/AIAW Tournament Final Four
1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
NCAA/AIAW Tournament Elite Eight
1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
NCAA/AIAW Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
NCAA/AIAW Tournament appearances
1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Conference tournament champions
1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
Conference regular season champions
1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015

The Connecticut Huskies women's basketball team represents the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut in NCAA women's basketball competition. They currently play in the American Athletic Conference, the successor to the Big East Conference, and are the last original member of the conference to remain in the new conference. The Huskies have won 10 NCAA Division I national championships, advanced to 16 Final Fours, and won over 40 Big East/AAC regular season and tournament championships. UConn has also been one of the leaders in women's basketball attendance and has produced numerous Olympians and WNBA All-Stars. The team plays its home games at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut and the XL Center in Hartford.

The UConn Huskies also own the longest win streak in college basketball at 90 games. They went 39-0 during the 2008–09 season, winning their 6th national championship, and followed it up in 2009–10 with another 39-0 season and their 7th national title. Their winning streak went to 90 games, lasting until a 71-59 loss to Stanford on December 30, 2010.[3] Therefore, the UConn Huskies have the longest winning streak in NCAA college basketball (men’s or women’s) history.[4]

1991 Dream Season[edit]

Auriemma's early years showed steady signs of progress. After going 12–15 in his first season in 1985–1986, Auriemma would lead UConn to winning seasons in 1987 and 1988. Auriemma pulled off one of his biggest and most important early recruiting successes in 1988 when he convinced an All American from New Hampshire, Kerry Bascom, to come to UConn. Bascom made an immediate impact on the UConn program. In 1989, Bascom won the Big East Player of the Year award as a sophomore and led UConn to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance. UConn would also win its first Big East Regular Season and Tournament Championship. It would be Bascom's first of three Big East Player of the Year awards. With Bascom and role players Laura Lishness, Megan Pattyson, Wendy Davis, and Debbie Baer, UConn made the NCAA Tournament in 1989 and 1990, losing in their first round both years. In Auriemma's 6th season in 1991, the program broke through in a surprising way on the national scene. UConn went 29–5 record, again capturing the Big East regular season and Tournament titles.

UConn earned its highest seed in the NCAA Tournament up to then when seeded third in the East. UConn won a thrilling opening round game against Toledo at Gampel Pavilion, 81–80. UConn moved on to the regionals at The Palestra in Auriemma's hometown of Philadelphia. UConn upset heavily favored ACC power NC State in the Sweet 16 and then defeated Clemson 60–57 to advance to their first ever Final Four, also a first for any Big East school. UConn's dream season would end in the National Semi Finals at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans with a 61-55 loss to top seeded Virginia. Bascom was hit with early foul trouble and Virginia held off a late UConn rally. Bascom's career would come to an end, having set UConn's scoring record, a record that would later be broken by the controversial Nykesha Sales lay up in 1998.

Rebecca Lobo and the 1995 National Championship[edit]

Championship trophy, ring, and signed ball

UConn followed up its surprise run to the Final Four in 1991 by landing All-American Rebecca Lobo from Southwick, Massachusetts.

UConn had modest success in Lobo's first 2 seasons in 1992 and 1993 but lost early in the NCAA Tournament in both seasons. In 1994, UConn had its most successful season to that point. Led by Lobo and players Jamelle Elliott, Jennifer Rizzotti, Pam Webber, and freshmen Kara Wolters and Carla Berube, UConn won 30 games for the first time in program history. They again won the Big East tournament and regular-season titles. UConn reached the Elite 8 in 1994 but came up short in their hopes to make it back to the Final Four, losing to eventual champion North Carolina.

With every major player back from 1994, and the addition of Auriemma's most highly ranked recruit to date (Connecticut Player of the Year Nykesha Sales), UConn was in for a season to remember in 1995. UConn captured the program's first national title in 1994–95, when Auriemma led the Huskies to a perfect 35–0 record. UConn became only the fifth Division I women's basketball team to go undefeated en route to a national championship, and only the second in the NCAA era (since 1982). The Huskies also became the first unbeaten team in NCAA history (all divisions, men or women) to win 35 games in a season.

UConn and Tennessee met for the first time during the 1994-1995 season on Martin Luther King Day at Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Tennessee 77–66 in front of a sold-out crowd in a game televised on ESPN and soon afterwards was ranked #1 in the polls for the first time in program history.

UConn advanced to the Final Four at the Target Center in Minneapolis after a thrilling win in their closest game of the year in the regional final against Virginia. UConn blew out Stanford in the semi-finals, reaching the championship game for a rematch against Tennessee. UConn rallied from a 9-point 2nd-half deficit and a key Rizzotti layup gave UConn the lead with less than 2 minutes to go en route to winning the championship 70–64. Lobo was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.

The 1995 UConn team was widely credited with increasing interest in women's basketball. The team was honored with a parade in Hartford, CT that drew over 100,000 spectators. The team won the Team of the Year Award at the ESPN ESPY awards that year, and Lobo became a popular symbol of the sport.

UConn also signed a landmark deal during the season with Connecticut Public Television to broadcast their games. Today, all of UConn's games are televised, the only women's team to have that luxury.

On July 25, 2009, Lobo became the first Connecticut player inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, among a class of six inductees.[5]

Escalation of rivalry with Tennessee (1996–1999)[edit]

Starting with their two meetings in 1995, the rivalry between the Tennessee Lady Vols and UConn escalated through the late 90's and became the marquee matchup in all of women's sports.

In the 1996 season, UConn ended Tennessee's home court win streak at Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville. Tennessee avenged itself in the Final Four that year in Charlotte, defeating UConn in a thrilling overtime game 88–83. The game is often thought to be one of the more memorable tournament games in tournament history with many back and forth swings of momentum.

UConn defeated Tennessee during the 1997 regular season. The two teams met in the Regional Final, a match in which Tennessee ended Connecticut's unbeaten season by winning 91–81.

Tennessee defeated Connecticut in the 1998 regular season. A mini controversy erupted in the days after the game when a Tennessee player was quoted in the papers as saying UConn looked scared during the game. Auriemma denounced that quote.

In the 1999 meeting at Gampel Pavilion, Tennessee prevailed again. During the game there was a scuffle involving Tennessee's Semeka Randall and Connecticut's Svetlana Abrosimova where Randall threw the ball down, hitting Abrosimova's head. UConn fans booed Randall the rest of the game and Tennessee fans later gave her the nickname "Boo."

The tension also increased during this time as Tennessee won three straight national titles while the Huskies suffered disappointing losses in the regionals and fell short of reaching the Final Four.

The rivalry continued into the 2000s and took on parallels to the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry in Major League Baseball. Geno Auriemma jokingly once referred to Pat Summitt and Tennessee as the "evil empire", like Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino said of the Yankees.

The season series between the two rivals came to an end after the 2007 season, when Tennessee decided to not renew the contract. The reason is said to be that Pat Summitt didn't want to play UConn because the recruitment of star player Maya Moore. Summitt accused UConn of recruiting violations. UConn held a 13–9 advantage head to head against the Lady Vols including a perfect 4–0 in championship games head to head.

Since ending the meetings in 2007, they have both gone on to win the National Championship. Tennessee won in 2007 and 2008, while UConn went undefeated 39-0 to win the 2009 championship, followed it up with another title in 2010 and then won the 2013 championship behind the stellar tournament play of freshman Breanna Stewart. But they have not faced each other since the UConn-Tennessee rivalry ended. The rivalry has later spread to other sports, with men's basketball (with Volunteers' head coach Summitt's son Tyler being involved in both games as a player), and is scheduled in 2015 to be a football home-and-home. UConn also won the 2014 title, going undefeated and beating an undefeated Notre Dame team in the national final by a score of 79-58. Breanna Stewart was again the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four as well as winning several national Player of the Year awards.

Adding the 1-1 record of Tyler Summitt as a player and in 2012, Marquette's hiring of the younger Summitt as an assistant coach, the UConn record over the Summitts is 16-10.

Nykesha Sales controversy
Auriemma found himself in a national debate following a decision he made during the 1998 season. Senior Nykesha Sales suffered a season-ending injury in one of the final games of the regular season. At the time of her injury, she was only 1 point shy of Kerry Bascom's school scoring record. The next game, with Bascom's blessing, and assistance from friend and Villanova head coach Harry Paretta, Auriemma arranged to have Sales, who was on crutches, score a basket and then allow Villanova to score a basket to start the game at 2-2. Sales then held the school scoring record.

Many people weighed in on the decision on both a national and local levels. Auriemma felt guilty that he put Sales through the ordeal and was angry that some columnists chose to fault her and not him. Auriemma was criticized for compromising the integrity of the game. Auriemma defended the decision saying it was a school record and he would never had done it without Bascom's blessing.

TASSK & Taurasi era (2000-2004)[edit]

Auriemma signed his best recruiting class in to date in 1998 when he signed five top 15 nationally ranked players. High school All Americans Swin Cash, Tamika Williams, Sue Bird, Ashja Jones, and Keirsten Walters were dubbed "TASSK Force" by Connecticut fans, using the players' initials. The class renewed hope of bringing more championships to Storrs after watching arch rival Tennessee win three in a row.

The first season for the highly ranked class in 1998-1999 was up and down and featured many injuries. Sue Bird tore her ACL and was lost for the season after only 10 games. Connecticut lost in the Sweet 16 round to Iowa State.

2000 National Championship
Motivated by the Iowa State loss in the 1999 tournament, UConn came back with intent to reach the championship level again. Led by upperclassmen Shea Ralph, Kelly Schumacher, and Svetlana Abrosimova and the TASS Force (the K being dropped due to Keirsten Walters having to give up basketball due to knee problems) UConn went through the regular season with a 27-1 record. Their only loss was a 1-point loss to Tennessee at home. UConn beat Tennessee earlier in the season in Knoxville and this was the first year the teams met twice. UConn advanced to their first Final Four since 1996 and beat Penn State in the semi-finals. The Huskies faced the Lady Vols for the championship in Auriemma's hometown of Philadelphia. Despite the two regular season meetings being close battles, UConn used tenacious defense and backdoor cuts to overwhelm the Vols 71-52 for their second National Championship. Connecticut's final season record was 36-1 and Shea Ralph was named the Final Four's MVP.

Arrival of Diana Taurasi (2001)

Diana Taurasi Naismith Award

Auriemma pulled off another huge recruiting coup when he convinced All American guard Diana Taurasi to travel across country to attend Connecticut. Taurasi hailed from Chino, California and attended Don Lugo High School where she was the recipient of the 2000 Cheryl Miller Award, presented by the Los Angeles Times to the best player in southern California. She was also named the 2000 Naismith and Parade Magazine National High School Player of the Year. Taurasi finished her prep career ranked second to Miller in state history with 3,047 points.

With Taurasi joining the core of the 2000 Championship team, Auriemma confidently predicted another championship in 2001. But after season ending injuries to Abrosimova and Ralph in the Big East Tournament, UConn's chances of reaching the Final Four were in doubt. However, the injuries forced Taurasi to play a much larger role than anticipated, and she played well, leading UConn to the Final Four. However, in the national semifinals Taurasi suffered a poor shooting game, and UConn suffered a devastating loss to Notre Dame in St. Louis, a game in which the Huskies had a 16-point lead. Notre Dame went on to win its first National Championship.

2002 National Championship: Undefeated (39–0)
Like the 2000 champions, coming off a disappointing loss the year before, UConn came back hungrier than ever in 2001-2002. With the TASS force in their senior seasons and Taurasi emerging as a star in her sophomore year, UConn rolled through its opponents throughout the year. The only close game the Huskies received all year long was a win at Virginia Tech.

UConn advanced to the Final Four and trounced rival Tennessee in the semi-finals by 23 points. In front of a record breaking crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio, UConn defeated Oklahoma for the championship 82-70 to complete a perfect 39-0 season. The starting 5 of Bird, Taurasi, Cash, Jones, and Williams is regarded as the best starting 5 in women's college basketball history by many and the team was ranked the #4 team of all time by ESPN. The championship game that year shattered ratings for ESPN and at the time was the highest rated college basketball game to air on the network, men's or women's.

2003 National Championship Repeat
With the TASS force having graduated, Diana Taurasi was going to have to carry the load in her junior season. She had help in classmates Maria Conlon, Jessica Moore, and Ashley Battle. Auriemma also was able to replace the TASS force with a top ranked class of Ann Strother, Barbara Turner, Willnet Crockett, and Nicole Wolff. But with no seniors on the roster, 2003 was supposed to be a rebuilding year for UConn.

But as the year progressed, it was obvious Taurasi was up to the challenge to carry a group of role players and freshman to a championship. UConn finished the regular season undefeated and had a 70-game winning streak established. Connecticut shattered the previous mark of 54 set by Louisiana Tech with its 55th-straight win on January 18, 2003, versus Georgetown in the Hartford Civic Center. UConn's win streak ended in the Big East championship game to Villanova.

UConn advanced to the Final Four at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. UConn rallied from a 9-point deficit to beat Texas in the semi-finals and behind Taurasi's 28 points defeat rival Tennessee for UConn's fourth national championship. UConn became the first team to win a championship without a senior on their roster.

2004 National Championship Three-peat

2004 Championship trophy, ring, and signed ball

With the entire team back and expectations sky high for a "three-peat" in Taurasi's senior year, UConn had an uneven season. The team gave up large leads against Duke and suffered losses to Notre Dame and Villanova and then a loss in the semi finals of the Big East Tournament to Boston College.

UConn was a 2 seed in the tournament. The Huskies found their rhythm during the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies beat top seeded Penn State to advance to the Final Four at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans. After beating Minnesota in the semi-finals, UConn again defeated Tennessee for the National Championship. The win was even more special as the UConn men's basketball team won the men's national championship the previous night marking the first time one University won both the men's and women's basketball championships in one season, a feat repeated in 2014.

Taurasi ended her career on top leading UConn to four consecutive Final Fours and 3 straight national titles. Leading up to that final championship, her coach, Geno Auriemma, declared his likelihood of winning with the claim, "We have Diana, and you don't."

Taurasi received many personal accolades at UConn including the 2003 and 2004 Naismith College Player of the Year awards, the 2003 Wade Trophy, and the 2003 Associated Press Player of the Year award. She achieved legendary status among UConn fans, and is along with Chamique Holdsclaw considered one of the greatest players of all time.

Interbellum (2005–2007)[edit]

Relative to their high standards, UConn struggled during the first two years following Taurasi's graduation in 2004. Some of its highly touted recruits did not play up to expectations and while others suffered injuries. Taken together during the three years 2005-2007, UConn never made a final four, something that has become almost routine (14 final fours in 20 years from 1995 to 2014).

UConn lost 8 games in the 2004-2005 season and failed to win the Big East regular season crown for the first time since 1993. The season was marked with sloppy play, and ragged offense. In the NCAA tournament UConn lost in the Sweet 16 to Stanford.

In the 2005-2006 season, UConn showed some signs of improvement late in the year. They won the Big East Tournament Title, and then had a thrilling Sweet 16 against Georgia where senior Barbara Turner hit a game winning 3-pointer for UConn at the buzzer. Behind a home state crowd, UConn almost upset #1 ranked Duke in the regional final, before falling in overtime by 2 points.

In 2006-2007 guard play improved with Renee Montgomery, Mel Thomas, and Ketia Swanier, and the addition of #1 ranked high school player Tina Charles in the post, helped turn the corner for UConn to emerge as a contender again. UConn was a 1 seed in the tournament, but would fall in the regional Final to LSU to end the season at 32–4.

Maya Moore era (2008–2011)[edit]

After 3 down years by UConn standards, the team emerged as a heavy contender for the championship in the 2008 season. They returned every player from the 2007 team and added #1 ranked high school player Maya Moore. UConn beat out Tennessee in a bitter recruitment battle for Moore. Shortly after Moore's commitment to UConn, Tennessee announced they were canceling the annual series with UConn bringing an end to the biggest rivalry in the sport. Both coaches have remained vague and unspecific as to why the series was canceled, but Tennessee did file a complaint to the NCAA about UConn's recruitment of Moore. UConn was found to have committed a secondary violation (involving a tour of the ESPN campus) and no punishment was handed out.

Despite losing Mel Thomas and Kalana Greene to season ending knee injuries, UConn went through the 2007-2008 regular season with only a single loss at Rutgers by two points. They won the Big East regular season and tournament titles. Rallying from a 14-point deficit in the NCAA regional final they beat conference rival Rutgers and advanced to their first Final Four since Taurasi graduated. Those tournament successes were largely attributed to senior Charde Houston (a top recruit out of San Diego viewed as not living up to expectations from Geno Auriemma and the UConn fans up to that point) who came up with key rebounds and clutch points in those games.[6] However, at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, UConn's season ended in the National Semi-Finals to Stanford ending their season with a 36-2 record. This would be the team's last loss for quite some time.

2009 National Championship: Undefeated (39–0)

The players, coaches, and other staff of the 2008-2009 UConn Huskies, winners of the 2009 national championship, are honored at the White House by President Barack Obama on April 27, 2009.

For the third consecutive year UConn successfully recruited the top ranked high school player in Elena Delle Donne. However, Delle Donne requested a release from her scholarship before enrolling at UConn, giving up basketball in order to stay closer to home and play volleyball at the University of Delaware (Delle Donne would play basketball the following season at Delaware, garnering the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year award). Despite losing Delle Donne the Huskies were ranked the 2008–09 preseason #1. The Huskies returned 10 players from their 2008 Final Four team, including All-Americans Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery, and Tina Charles, in addition to Kalana Greene who recovered from her 2008 knee injury.

UConn finished the regular season undefeated for the 5th time in school history with a 30-0 record. They won their 17th Big East Regular Season Title and their 15th Big East Tournament title by beating the Louisville Cardinals. The Huskies advanced to their 10th Final Four with an 83-64 victory over Arizona State, and then to the 6th NCAA Championship Game in program history by defeating Stanford, also by the score of 83-64.[7] Charles' 25 points, 19 boards pushed UConn to a 39-0 record, and sixth national title defeating Louisville 76-54. In doing so, they became the first team to not only go undefeated, but also to win every one of their games by at least ten points.

2010 National Championship Repeat: Undefeated (39–0)
For the second consecutive year (and the sixth time in school history) UConn finished the regular season undefeated, with an average margin of victory of 35.9 points. During the regular season UConn played 11 games against ranked opponents (including 6 in the top ten) with an average margin of victory of 24. They dominated the Big East Tournament, winning the championship game 60-32. Throughout the regular season and the Big East Tournament, UConn's closest win was against Stanford, by 12 points.

Whitehouse ceremony commemorating 2010 NCAA National Champions Connecticut Huskies women's basketball team
2010 NCAA National Champions Connecticut Huskies at the White House

Leading up to the Final Four in San Antonio, UConn dominated teams from Southern, Temple, Iowa State, and Florida State. Maya Moore and Tina Charles played little more than half the games, while Moore averaged a point per minute played, and UConn out scored their opponents by an average of 47 points. In the Final Four, UConn was finally challenged by Baylor and the 6-foot-8 freshman Brittney Griner.[8] Baylor trailed only 39-26 at halftime, but UConn would pull away for a final score of 70–50.

The National Championship Game against Stanford was a completely different story. UConn started the game with their worst first half in school history by scoring only 12 points. Only eleven teams in tournament history have been held to 12 points or less in the first half, three of them were against UConn teams, and two of them (Southern and Temple) just days earlier in the 2010 Tournament. However, Stanford only managed to score 20 points in the first half themselves. Maya Moore gave UConn the lead in the second half with a three-pointer (making it 23–22 UConn) and led the team on a scoring run of 30 to 6 which secured the national championship with a final score of 53–47.[9] It was the only game in the Huskies' 78-game winning streak that they won by fewer than 10 points. Moore was named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player, to go along with her State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year Award. Charles, who won the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith College Player of the Year Awards[10] was chosen first overall in the WNBA draft days later.[11]

2010-2011: A New Record, But No Three-Peat
The 2010-11 season began with high hopes, but much uncertainty for the Huskies. Maya Moore returned for her senior season after a summer with the U.S. National team, but UConn lost major contributors Tina Charles and Kalana Green who graduated in 2010. Additionally, junior guard Caroline Doty would be out the entire season due to a third knee injury. In an early test, UConn squeaked by #2 Baylor in their second game of the season. They powered their way through 8 more consecutive wins for their 88th straight victory, beating #10 Ohio State at Madison Square Garden. Their 89th win came at home against #20 Florida State to set the college basketball record for most consecutive wins, previously held by the UCLA men's team. After a break in the schedule for the holidays, UConn traveled out west and beat the Pacific Tigers to stretch the streak to 90 games. That game, however, was largely a warm up match for their biggest test of the season, a December 30 matchup at the powerhouse Stanford Cardinal. There, UConn trailed for the entire game and lost for the first time since their April 6, 2008 Final Four appearance (also against the Cardinal). The loss ended the highly publicized winning-streak, as well as their long held spot as the top ranked team in women's basketball which was taken over by Baylor. The Huskies had won 90 consecutive games in the streak, which gives them the longest win streak in Division I Basketball history, men's and women's.[12][13] Connecticut recovered focus after the loss and got through the rest of the regular season undefeated, regaining the #1 ranking along the way after Baylor's loss to Texas Tech in February. They marched through the Big East tournament, including their 3rd victory of the year over Notre Dame in the Big East Tournament Championship Game.
In the NCAA tournament Final Four they met Notre Dame for the fourth time, and similarly to Baylor's fourth game of the year against Texas A&M in the regional final, the underdog prevailed to advance in the tournament. Notre Dame's upset ended UConn's bid for a third straight National Championship. They won with hot shooting (making over 50 percent from the field, a first against a UConn club in 262 games), while UConn had a lack of support for Moore who had 36 points. Notre Dame went on to the National Championship Game, but were defeated by The Texas A&M Aggies.

During 2010-2011 season Maya Moore posted career highs in scoring, assists, steals, and free throws, and was named as a fourth straight First-Team All-American(2nd player ever). On February 28 she was enshrined in the Huskies of Honor (3rd time ever for an active player). During the NCAA tournament Moore became the 7th member of the 3000-points club, finishing with 3036 (4th all-time), and earlier in the season she passed 1000 rebounds (4th Huskie ever), finishing with 1276 for her career (2nd all time at UConn). She won the Elite 88 Award, and was voted an Academic All-American (3rd time for Moore), as well as repeating as Academic All-America of the Year (1st player to ever repeat), and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. She won The Wade Trophy (3rd straight), was voted Big East Player of The Year (3rd time), named AP Player of The Year (2nd straight), was selected 1st overall in the 2011 WNBA draft (4th time for a Husky) by the Minnesota Lynx, and became the first female basketball player signed to the Jordan Brand. In her career as a Connecticut Husky she won 150 games and only lost 4.

The UConn Women's Basketball team is greeted by President Obama at the White House

Team of the Decade[edit]

Sports Illustrated selected the top 25 sports franchises of the decade (2000–2009). The Connecticut Huskies were the number three selection on the list. The sports under consideration were the four major professional sports (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL) along with the three most prominent college sports: football, men's basketball and women's basketball. The top two sports teams were the professional basketball Lakers and the professional football Patriots, making the Connecticut women's basketball team the highest ranked of the collegiate teams for the three sports under consideration.[14]

During this period, UConn won five national titles, while making the Final four seven of the ten years. Two of the seasons results in perfect records—the team record was 39–0 in both 2002 and 2009.

The 2010 UConn women's basketball team, players, and alumni in the WNBA were nominated for eight separate 2010 ESPY Awards in six categories:[15]

  • Best Female Athlete
  • Best Record-Breaking Performance
    • Connecticut Women’s Basketball, Longest winning streak in Women’s NCAA Basketball History
  • Best Team
    • Connecticut Women’s Basketball
  • Best Coach/Manager
  • Best WNBA Player
  • Best Female College Athlete

2011-2015: A New Rival Emerges - Notre Dame[edit]

The previous year's surprising loss to Notre Dame in the final four upset the team's shot at a third consecutive championship and the 2011-2012 season would inevitably be a new era with Maya Moore's graduation. Her absence, and the loss of 6th-man Lorin Dixon, left significant holes to fill in the roster. Geno Auriemma seemed to find the right pieces with a freshman class that included Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Brianna Banks, and Kiah Stokes. Mosqueda-Lewis was another State Farm/WBCA High School Player of the Year for UConn,[16][17] Banks was a highly rated guard,[17] and Stokes, a 6'3 post player, was highly ranked as well.

While UConn was still a strong national contender in 2011-2012, they were no longer viewed as a favorite to win it all. Two key rivals were Baylor, who had the nation's top player, and Notre Dame, a highly ranked conference foe. In December, Brittney Griner (considered the best player in women's college basketball) led #1 ranked Baylor against #2 ranked UConn. She scored 25 points with nine blocks. The 66–61 loss was UConn's first of the season, but not its last. Notre Dame and UConn's roles were reversed for the 2011-2012 season. Notre Dame, led by rising star Skylar Diggins, beat the Huskies twice, but as UConn's young team gained experience throughout the season they improved and beat the Fighting Irish in the Big East Tournament Championship Game. The win was the school's 15th title, as well as the 800th career win for coach Geno Auriemma. However, Notre Dame found revenge and again played spoiler to the Huskies with an upset defeat in the Final Four. Over the course of the season UConn was 1-3 versus the Irish, a record that would be repeated the following year.

The 2012-2013 season began with high hopes and UConn had landed three highly ranked recruits: Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck, and Moriah Jefferson. Their play was uneven during the course of the regular season, but by tournament time they had become key members of the team, particularly Breanna Stewart. During the regular season UConn went 27-3 with a loss to Baylor and a pair of losses to Notre Dame; first at home on a last minute shot and then in South Bend in a thrilling three-overtime game. In the Big East tournament, UConn again lost to Notre Dame,as Notre Dame came from behind in the last minute for the third straight time. But in the NCAA tournament UConn steamrolled to a record tying eighth national championship behind the stellar play of Stewart as well as All-Americans Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Stefanie Dolson and first round draft choice, Kelly Faris. In the semi-finals they handily beat Notre Dame and in the finals they crushed Louisville, who had earlier upset Baylor.

This rivalry was transformed with the breakup of the Big East. First, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Notre Dame defected to the Atlantic Coast Conference, with Louisville announcing later they would follow in 2014. Then, the non-FBS football playing members of the Big East (Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, DePaul, Marquette, Seton Hall), known colloquially as the "Catholic 7", left to form their own conference, inviting Butler, Creighton and Xavier to join them, and took the conference name with them. Thus, instead of playing two times a year in the regular season and potentially in the conference and NCAA tournaments, the games are now more haphazard.

In the 2013-2014 season UConn and Notre Dame met in the NCAA tournament finals, with both teams undefeated. But Notre Dame was hindered by the loss of one of their stars, Natalie Achonwa, who had torn her ACL in the Elite Eight. UConn easily defeated Notre Dame 79–58 to finish the season 40–0, tying Baylor for the most wins in a season.

During the 2014-15 regular season, the lone match-up between the two rivals saw Connecticut easily defeat Notre Dame, 76-58. In the 2015 National Tournament, both Connecticut and Notre Dame were seeded first in their respective playoff brackets. Each advanced to the Final Four held in Tampa, Florida. Connecticut defeated Maryland 81-58, while Notre Dame narrowly beat South Carolina, 66-65, in the semifinals.

The teams met again on April 7, 2015 in the National Championship game. UConn won by a score of 63-53 to win their third straight national championship.

Jean Balthaser head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Connecticut (Big East Conference (see note)) (1983–1985)
1982–83 Connecticut 9-18 1-7 9th
1983–84 Connecticut 9-20 0-8 9th
1984–85 Connecticut 8-18 3-13 8th
Connecticut: 26–56 4-28
Total: 26–56

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/18/nyregion/uconn-basketball-then-and-now.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

http://web1.ncaa.org/stats/StatsSrv/careercoach

Geno Auriemma head coaching record[edit]

See also: Geno Auriemma
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Connecticut (Big East Conference) (1985–2013)
1985–86 Connecticut 12–15 4–12 7
1986–87 Connecticut 14–13 9–7 T4
1987–88 Connecticut 17–11 9–7 5
1988–89 Connecticut 24–6 13–2 1 NCAA 1st round
1989–90 Connecticut 25–6 14–2 T1 NCAA 2nd round
1990–91 Connecticut 29–5 14–2 1 NCAA Final Four
1991–92 Connecticut 23–11 13–5 T2 NCAA 2nd round
1992–93 Connecticut 18–11 12–6 3 NCAA 1st round
1993–94 Connecticut 30–3 17–1 1 NCAA Elite 8
1994–95 Connecticut 35–0 18–0 1 NCAA Champions
1995–96 Connecticut 34–4 17–1 1 NCAA Final Four
1996–97 Connecticut 33–1 18–0 1 NCAA Elite 8
1997–98 Connecticut 34–3 17–1 1 NCAA Elite 8
1998–99 Connecticut 29–5 17–1 T1 NCAA Sweet 16
1999–2000 Connecticut 36–1 16–0 1 NCAA Champions
2000–01 Connecticut 32–3 15–1 T1 NCAA Final Four
2001–02 Connecticut 39–0 16–0 1 NCAA Champions
2002–03 Connecticut 37–1 16–0 1 NCAA Champions
2003–04 Connecticut 31–4 14–2 1 NCAA Champions
2004–05 Connecticut 25–8 13–3 T2 NCAA Sweet 16
2005–06 Connecticut 32–5 14–2 2 NCAA Elite 8
2006–07 Connecticut 32–4 16–0 1 NCAA Elite 8
2007–08 Connecticut 36–2 15–1 1 NCAA Final Four
2008–09 Connecticut 39–0 16–0 1 NCAA Champions
2009–10 Connecticut 39–0 16–0 1 NCAA Champions
2010–11 Connecticut 36–2 16–0 1 NCAA Final Four
2011–12 Connecticut 33–5 13–3 T2 NCAA Final Four
2012–13 Connecticut 35–4 14–2 2nd NCAA Champions
Connecticut (American Athletic Conference) (2013–present)
2013–14 Connecticut 40-0 18–0 1st NCAA Champions
2014–15 Connecticut 38-1 18–0 1st NCAA Champions
Connecticut: 918-134 420–60
Total: 944-190

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

NOTE: The American Athletic Conference was known as the Big East until the 2013 breakup. While the conference charter and legal entity remain with the American, that conference no longer recognizes the pre-split competitive history of the Big East in any sport—even in football and women's rowing, the two sports that are sponsored by The American but not by the current Big East. The current Big East maintains the competitive history of the original conference in all sports that it sponsors.

WNBA success[edit]

In the 2002 WNBA Draft, the UConn Fab Four players (Tamika Williams, Sue Bird, Asjha Jones and Swin Cash) were all first round selections. Each player had immediate impacts with their 2002 WNBA Teams. Cash, Bird and Williams accounted for 21.3, 19.9 and 17.3 percent, respectively, of their teams’ total points, rebounds and assists. Jones, a reserve, posted 8.8 percent of the Mystics' total output in those three key categories.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b UConn Blue and White
  2. ^ "UConn updates visual identity for Huskies", Nikeinc.com, 18 April 2013
  3. ^ Jeanette Pohlen, Cardinal end Huskies' 90-game winning streak
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ STEVE MEGARGEE, AP Sports Writer Jun 14, 9:53 pm EDT (2011-04-20). "Griffith savors Hall induction she never expected - College Women's Basketball - Rivals.com". Rivals.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  6. ^ "Huskies win Big East tournament behind Houston's fantastic finish". NewsTimes. 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  7. ^ April 7, 2009 (2009-04-07). "Louisville Cardinals vs. Connecticut Huskies - Recap - April 07, 2009 - ESPN". Espn.go.com. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  8. ^ April 4, 2010 (2010-04-04). "Baylor Lady Bears vs. Connecticut Huskies - Recap - April 04, 2010 - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  9. ^ April 6, 2010 (2010-04-06). "Stanford Cardinal vs. Connecticut Huskies - Recap - April 06, 2010 - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  10. ^ "UConn's Tina Charles win John R. Wooden award - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  11. ^ "Connecticut Sun select Connecticut Huskies' Tina Charles at No. 1 in WNBA draft - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  12. ^ "Connecticut Huskies' 90-Game Win Streak - Women's College Basketball Topics - ESPN". Espn.go.com. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  13. ^ "Geno Auriemma - Women's College Basketball Topics - ESPN". Espn.go.com. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  14. ^ Hunt, Ryan (23 December 2009). "2000s: Top 25 Franchises". SI.com. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  15. ^ Gorman, Bill (24 June 2010). "Nominees Announced for The 2010 ESPYs". TVbytheNumbers. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  16. ^ "Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis". ESPN. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Brianna Banks". ESPN. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  18. ^ Silverman, Evan. "Connecticut's Fab Four Makes Pro Basketball History". WNBA.com. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 

External links[edit]