UConn Huskies score 100th consecutive win


UConn teammates celebrate their 100th win together. Courtesy of npr.org

The University of Connecticut (UConn) Huskies women’s basketball team defended its 99 game winning streak February 13 against the University of Southern Carolina Gamecocks 66 to 55 for their 100th consecutive win.  Ranked number one in the Associated Press Top 25, the Huskies have won two national titles and 11 National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I national championships in program history under the guidance of head coach Mr. Geno Auriemma, according to ncaa.com. However, as these women rise in rankings and records, their viewership is still incomparable to that of the men’s teams, according to espnmediazone.com.

Saniya Chong takes the ball in UConn’s game against South Carolina at the Gampel Pavilion.
Courtesy of dailycampus.com

This past month, the Huskies have continued defeating their competition.  UConn rolled passed Temple University 97 to 69 for their ninety-sixth consecutive win February 1.  As the month progressed, so did the team’s winning streak.  They bounced over the University of Tulsa and the University of Cincinnati hitting their ninety-eighth win.  Mr. Auriemma, who has been named the Associated Press Coach of the Year eight times, according to bleacherreport.com, believes that as time moves forward, these women only seem to be improving.
“This time of year, it’s the individual player that makes the difference. The things you do as a program get you to this point. Then individuals decide the outcome of the games,” Mr. Auriemma said, according to genoauriemma.com.
At the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs Connecticut, the Huskies defeated the Gamecocks for their one-hundredth consecutive win, continuing the longest winning streak in Division I college basketball history.  The stadium sold out with over 10,000 people watching from the stands, according to mercurynews.com.  However, the Gamecocks (21-3) did not let the Huskies grab their win too easily.
Midway through the third quarter, South Carolina began rising up.  The score was 40 to 37 and South Carolina was in the lead; however, this score did not last long.  UConn forward player Ms. Gabby Williams began scoring continuous layups to close out the quarter, according to today.uconn.edu.  Her shots brought her team up greatly, allowing the Huskies to steal the win.
“We just tried to stay poised and keep our composure, and just be more confident than the other team,” Ms. Williams said, according to today.uconn.edu.
Throughout its winning streak, UConn won by an average of 38.7 points, according to mercurynews.com.  Ms. Williams scored 26 points, a career-high.  Additionally, forward Ms. Napheesa Collier scored another 18 points.  Not only were the team members rooting from the sidelines, but previous players attended the game.  Cheering from the stands were Ms. Sue Bird, Ms. Maya Moore, Ms. Tina Charles and Ms. Breanna Stewart.  These women contributed to the Huskies’ first 75 wins of their streak.
“Feels good to carry on the legacy they started. [I] Hope we are doing them justice,” Ms. Collier said, according to mercurynews.com.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as the team shoots for their 100th win.
Courtesy of bostonglobe.com

Along with its number one ranking in the NCAA, multiple players have been rewarded for their success in the collegiate league.  Sophomore point guard Ms. Katie Lou Samuelson won the Dawn Staley Award in 2017.  This award is given to the most outstanding collegiate guard in the country.  The player who receives this award displays great skills in ball handling, scoring, ability to distribute the ball, and her will to win, according to uconnhuskies.com.
Additionally, the Los Angeles Athletic Club added Ms. Williams to The Wooden Award Top 20 watch list in February, according to courant.com.  Throughout the season, Ms. Williams has performed as a defensive player, guarding both post and perimeter players.  She averages 12.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.  All in all, Ms. Williams has contributed to the UConn team greatly this season with 125 total assists and 63 steals, according to courant.com.
On the other hand, the Huskies still have four more league games until their championship.  There final games will be against Tulane University, Temple University, University of Memphis, and the University of South Florida.  After these games, the NCAA will choose teams  for the 2017 Women’s Final Four in March.  The championship will be played at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, and the Big 12 Conference will host.
Last year, during the Women’s Final Four, the tournament drew in an average of 343,000 viewers, a 46 percent increase since the previous year, according to espnmediazone.com. Meanwhile, the Men’s Final Four peaked at 22.3 million even with a 37 percent drop from 2015, according to ibtimes.com.  Mr. Auriemma plans to utilize the Huskies’ success by supporting a plan that will move the women’s tournament from the week to the weekend.
“We have a little window there where we could take advantage of it,” Mr. Auriemma said, according to ncaa.org.
UConn teammates celebrate their 100th win together.
Courtesy of npr.org

Although this is the same weekend as the Men’s Final Four, this schedule change will allow the opportunity for greater viewership of the women’s game.  Wider coverage would make for a chance to show even more people the stunning success of women’s NCAA basketball.
– Karina Badey, Staff Writer