The UConn women’s hoops team obliterated No. 20 USF for its 90th straight win, defeating the Bulls, 102-37, tying the NCAA Division 1 basketball record winning streak previously set by Geno’s 2010-2011 Huskies.
Not content to set just one record Wednesday night, the win had the largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent in school history.
“It really was more about the way the game went as opposed to whatever was attached to it,” Auriemma said after the game. “The first twenty minutes we just we played like a team that was on a mission to do something that was really important to them.”
For the Huskies to be playing this well after losing so much talent from last year is a testament to the coaching staff. Their ability to get the best out of a roster that needed a lot of players to step up is why UConn is the only school to win more than 88 games in a row and capture 11 titles.
“Every time you do something that’s never been done before and you do something that’s going to be in the history books,” Auriemma said. “You feel like very few people have ever been in this situation.
“Who knows if anybody is going to be in this situation again? For us to be in this moment twice is hard to describe.”
If the Huskies want sole possession of the record from the teams of Maya Moore, Tina Charles, and Renee Montgomery, they will have to do so on the road. Their next game is Saturday in Dallas against SMU.
The game resmbled the streak as a whole—total domination by UConn. The Huskies flew out to a 9-0 start while the Bulls looked like they had never seen a basketball court before. Their interior defense was non-existent as they allowed UConn to waltz inside without much resistance. The Huskies dominated inside, finishing with a staggering 48 points in the paint and 12 offensive rebounds.
Defensively, UConn forced the USF into contested or off-balanced shots, a mix that left the Bulls shooting just 23% from the field. Despite grabbing 17 offensive rebounds, USF only converted those into just six second-chance points.
After the first quarter, the Bulls had just six points, a season-low. On the other side, UConn had four different players outscoring USF and ultimately finished with six players in double-figures to the Bulls’ one.
“I sat there that first quarter and I really didn’t know what to say,” Auriemma said. “That first quarter, I was speechless.”
In a 65-point first half, UConn had more assists (21) than the Bulls had points (19). USF had only allowed more than 65 points in a game twice this season.
“I told [USF head coach Jose Fernandez] after the game, look I have no idea where this came from. It has nothing to do with you guys, it has no reflection on you guys but when we play like this and when we shoot the ball like that and we play defense like that, I don’t think it would have mattered who we played.”
Saniya Chong had her best performance of the season, leading all scorers with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting while assisting on eight buckets.
“I just want to do it for my teammates and I know that they really need me now,” said Chong. “I need to keep going and keep being consistent.”
The Huskies will be relying heavily on Chong as Crystal Dangerfield will be out for two weeks due to a foot injury, leaving Molly Bent as the only guard off the bench. The freshman has struggled for much of the season.
Meanwhile, Gabby Williams continues to dominate. The junior guard finished three assists shy of a triple-double, settling for a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
“If you haven’t see Gabby Williams play basketball in person, then you had no idea what she’s like,” said Auriemma on the sophomore. “Gabby Williams is like the Lawrence Taylor of women’s basketball. Whatever play you’re trying to run, it ain’t gonna happen.”
While the fans at the XL Center were all-in as they witnessed such an incredible feat, attention from around the sports world has been rather scant.
“For all the people coming out of the woodwork complaining that we weren’t UCLA and you’re not John Wooden, well we don’t have an UCLA signs in our gym and I don’t have anything in common with Coach Wooden,” said Geno. “But it became this ‘How dare you compare those two.’”
“Now people can ignore it because it’s just us trying to beat a UConn record.”
Either way, Auriemma is more concerned with making sure his team keeps raising its level of play.
“We played an amazing game of basketball. We played the type of game that coaches aspire to have their players play,” he said. “That’s what I’m happy about. It’s got nothing to do with 90. I could care less about that.”
Geno Auriemma postgame press conference:
Kia Nurse, Saniya Chong, Gabby Williams postgame: