UConn sits alone after monumental ninth title
NASHVILLE - UConn once again sits at the top of the women's basketball world.
But the Huskies don't just sit atop the podium for this season; they've reached a historical summit. Or perhaps you may say Summitt.
Tuesday night's national championship was UConn's ninth, eclipsing Tennessee and the vaunted Pat Summitt for most in NCAA women's basketball history. Ironically, that record-breaking win came in the Lady Vols' home state.
"On ESPN they put up a list of John Wooden, Pat Summit, Geno Auriemma, Mike Krzyzrewski, Adolf Rupp," Auriemma said after winning it all in New Orleans last season to tie Summitt. "I'm like, 'That's not the way it works.' I never beat Coach K in a game and I never coached against Coach Wooden. So the only person I compare myself to is Pat Summit and to be there in that spot with her means a lot to me."
Now that he's actually surpassed women's basketball's original legend, the perspective was even more subdued.
"It means we've done something that no one's ever done," Auriemma said. "So you're flattered and you're grateful and you're all the things that come with this kind of accomplishment of course. But that's not the driving force, that's not what motivates us at Connecticut."
His players, however, were a bit less reserved and far more boastful of the accomplishment and the man who led them to that point.
"I think it means a lot," Bria Hartley said. "He'll probably downplay it and not pay too much attention to it. But it's the way he's able to impact the game of women's basketball and the impact the players that come through his program. It's awesome."
Title No. 9 wasn't the only milestone of the night. With the win, of course, UConn finished undefeated yet again.
Eight times since the beginning of the NCAA tournament era in women's basketball (which began in 1982) has a team finished the season, national championship in hand, without a single loss.
Five of those teams have come from Storrs.
The Huskies have been perfect in 1994-95, 2001-02, 2008-09, 2009-10 and now 2013-14.
No other school has done it more than once.
It seemed only proper that UConn would cap off its record-breaking national title by finishing 40-0, only the second time that a team has hit the 40-win mark-Baylor in 2012 being the first. Another statistic for the pile.
"You couldn't have asked or written it any better," Stefanie Dolson said, "for Bria and I both...to have it back-to-back, 40-0, Coach's ninth and then just the national championship is just perfect really."
Speaking of perfection, the Huskies also extended their unblemished record in national championship contest-nine title games reached, nine title games one.
And while it may not have been the focus of the players in their celebrations-after all, they haven't been around for all nine-the historical context has not been lost on them.
"Having nine national championships is such an amazing accomplishment," Dolson said. "And for us to have two out of that nine, it seems like a small little piece, but it's a piece of history and a piece of a legacy that he has created here at UConn."
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