Win or lose, tonight's game will mark the end of the women's basketball season, and with it the college careers of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and possibly Morgan Tuck, who will announce her intentions after tonight's championship game— set to take place at 8:30 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
So far, the Huskies have rather comfortably disposed of 37 opponents this season. The 38th, the Syracuse Orange, are not expected to present much of a challenge either, as the oddsmakers' 20+ point spread might indicate.
But now is not the time for UConn to be overconfident. With Katie Lou Samuelson injured the Huskies are without a key starter on a team which was already using a small rotation.
And remember that Syracuse 2-3 zone we all love to hate? Well guess what, the women's team uses it too. Despite its flagrant disrespect for the game of basketball, the zone will still be something the Huskies will need to adjust to.
The Orange are also a strong shooting team, or they have been in the NCAA Tournament, at least. In upset wins over Tennessee and Washington in the past two rounds, Syracuse has hit 14 and 12 three-pointers, respectively.
Geno Auriemma likened Syracuse's approach to DePaul—a team which challenged UConn as well as anyone has this season—who the Huskies ultimately beat by 16 points on the road. The Blue Demons tried to match the Huskies in pace and intensity, managing to keep up the fight until the final minutes of the game. Perhaps Syracuse can do the same?
The heavily-favored Huskies sit on the cusp of a number of outstanding milestones. A win today would give UConn:
- A record fourth straight national championship
- Geno Auriemma's 11th title, which would surpass the great John Wooden
- A career 151-5 record for Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck, and Briana Pulido, a program record
- A 75-game winning streak dating back to last season, second all-time behind only the Huskies' 90
- Potentially Breanna Stewart's fourth Final Four MOP
Time/Location: 8:30 p.m., Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana (Capacity: 18,165)
TV Channel: ESPN - Beth Mowins (play-by-play), Doris Burke (color analyst), Holly Rowe (sideline)
Radio: Bob Joyce and Debbie Fisk, IMG Radio Network (1080AM - Hartford, 1400AM - Willimantic, 960AM - New Haven, 1490AM - Greenwich)
Pre-game Reading/Viewing Material
Breanna Stewart's Illustrious Career Will Have A Storybook Ending - The UConn Blog
After missing out on the opportunity to play at Syracuse during the regular season, Breanna Stewart will be facing the Orange after all in her final college basketball game.
Women's Basketball National Championship Q&A with Syracuse SB Nation - The UConn Blog
How sweet it is to see our old friends in Orange once again.
Samuelson Injury Offers Opportunity for Others to Step Up - The UConn Blog
UConn has a number of talented options who can take advantage of more playing time, but losing Samuelson for the championship game is a big blow for the team offensively.
The Huskies led from start to finish, building an early lead with lights out shooting and closing it out with their usual intensity.