Huskies once again last women standing
University of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma and his team are back on top, and with freshman Breanna Stewart leading the way this season, it might be a while before they relinquish that spot.
Connecticut’s powerful offense scored almost at will Tuesday night as the Huskies blew out Louisville, 93-60, to win the NCAA Division I women’s basketball championship in New Orleans, the most lopsided victory in a title game. The win put the Huskies back atop college basketball after UConn missed the championship game the past two years.
The title is Auriemma’s eighth at UConn, tying him for the most all time with Tennessee’s recently retired Pat Summitt. Auriemma has never lost in a final.
Meanwhile, Louisville was trying to become just the second school to win both the men’s and women’s championship in the same season and the first since UConn in 2004. Their bid fell short thanks in part to UConn freshman Stewart’s performance.
Stewart scored 18 of her 23 points in the first half and had one of the most remarkable runs of any first-year player in the history of the NCAA tournament. Stewart finished with 104 points in only five tournament games — she missed UConn’s first-round rout of Idaho to rest a sore calf.
The Schimmel sisters, who carried Louisville in the tournament, had a rough go against UConn. Shoni Schimmel missed her first six shots and finished with just seven points on 3-of-15 shooting. Jude Schimmel was saddled with three fouls in the first half
This was the first of UConn’s championships in which the Huskies didn’t win a regular season or Big East tournament championship.
Here are some numbers to know from the Huskies’ 93-60 win:
- 8 – UConn’s eight national titles are tied with Tennessee for the most in women’s NCAA history.
- 11 – UConn improves to 8-0 in national championship games. Combined with the men’s team, UConn basketball programs are a perfect 11-0 in NCAA title games.
- 23 – Stewart scored 23 points, the most by a Connecticut freshman in a championship game. She is the fourth freshman to be named most outstanding player.
- 33 – The 33-point win is by far the largest margin of victory in a women’s NCAA championship game. The previous record was 23 points by Tennessee over Louisiana Tech in 1987.
- 93 – The 93 points scored by UConn are tied for the second-most ever scored in a women’s title game. The record is 97 by Texas against USC in 1986.
- 13 – UConn made 13 shots from beyond the arc in the win, breaking the record for most 3-pointers made in a title game. Stanford set the previous record of 11 in 1990.
Here’s a quick look at how UConn has fared in previous national championships:
- 1995 – UConn 70, Tennessee 64: Rebecca Lobo led five Huskies with 17 points as UConn wrapped up a perfect 35-0 season.
- 2000 – UConn 71, Tennessee 52: Shea Ralph and Svetlana Abrosimova combined for 29 points and Kelly Schumacher blocked a championship-game record nine shots.
- 2002 – UConn 82, Oklahoma 70: The Huskies capped off a 39-0 season as all five starters scored in double figures, led by Swin Cash’s 20 points.
- 2003 – UConn 73, Tennessee 68: Diana Taurasi (28 points) and Ann Strother (17) led Connecticut to its first back-to-back national championships.
- 2004 – UConn 70, Tennessee 61: The brilliant career of Taurasi ended with a third straight national title. Taurasi finished with 17 points while Strother, Jessica Moore and Barbara Turner combined for 40.
- 2009 – UConn 76, Louisville 54: Tina Charles had 25 points and 19 rebounds, and Maya Moore had 18 points as the Huskies returned to the winners’ circle after a five-year absence.
- 2010 – UConn 53, Stanford 47: The Huskies overcame a nightmarish first half in which they scored just 12 points to win a seventh national title behind 23 points from Moore.