The American Athletic Conference has been UConn's playground for the past two seasons. No one has been able get within 20 points of them during conference play. They have won all 39 games they have played in the AAC.
Now it is March and the regular season is over. All focus and attention is towards one goal - a tenth national championship. A few mental mistakes, a key turnover, a miss shot or free throw, or even foul trouble or injury can quickly derail the Huskies chances for glory.
This afternoon starts a new season. It begins against Cincinnati, the No. 9 seed in the American Women's Basketball Tournament. The Huskies will be playing in front of the home crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
The Bearcats knocked off UCF 76-66 in the first round on Friday night. Cincinnati lead by as many as 25 points in the first half. Freshman Makenzie Cann scored a career-high 23 points in the victory. They tied a season-high with 10 three-pointers for the game.
Cincinnati is a familiar foe to UConn fans, but not for their play on the court. Jamielle Elliot is their coach. Elliot knows the task her Bearcats face. She was a long-time assistant coach under Geno Auriemma and former UConn player. She just hopes to keep the game within striking distance for her team to have a chance.
"We want to keep it as close as possible for as long as possible," Elliot said on Friday night. "I want us to play hard for 40 minutes. [Today] is not going to be about looking at the scoreboard, trying to comeback, trying to make a run. [Today] is going to be about playing our hearts out."
But Elliot knows what is facing.
"We're playing the best team in the country, there's no secret, we knew this was going to happen, and as a college athlete, what better way to potentially end your season than playing the number one team in the country? It doesn't get any better than that and that's the same way I feel about coaching against the number one team in the country."
The Huskies won the two meetings this season by an average of 63 points.