The University of Connecticut Huskies defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 63-53 Tuesday night. The win moved coach Geno Auriemma into a tie with former UCLA coach John Wooden with his 10th national championship.
From an espnW article: “John Wooden was one of the reasons why the men’s college game became what it became,” Auriemma said. “I hope we at Connecticut have done our part to grow our game. We coached some some of the most iconic players to play the game of basketball.”
Auriemma said the number of national championships was significant but went on to not compare himself to Wooden.
Also, from an espn.go.com article: “I’ll be the first to say I’m not John Wooden, and I got a bunch of friends who’d tell you I’m right, I’m not,” he said.
It was the Huskies’ (38-1) third consecutive title and fifth in the last seven seasons. The team has won all 10 of their trips to the national title game. In contrast, Wooden’s Bruins needed 12 tries to win their 10 championships, including an unprecedented seven consecutive titles from 1966-67 to 1972-73.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (15 points, five rebounds and two blocks), Moriah Jefferson (15 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds) and Morgan Tuck (12 points, seven assists and five rebounds) paced a Huskies’ attack which shot 41 percent from the field.
Breanna Stewart (eight points and 15 rebounds) was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four for the third time, the first time a woman to achieve that honor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the only men’s player to accomplish this when he played for Wooden from 1967 to 1969.)
The Fighting Irish (36-3) were led by Brianna Turner (14 points and 10 rebounds) and Jewell Loyd (12 points and five rebounds), who out rebounded the Huskies 45-34. However, the team was prone to turnovers, 17, which prevented them from using their rebounding as an advantage.
Auriemma’s coaching career has been highlighted by the play of Rebecca Lobo, Diana Tuarasi, Sue Bird, Maya Moore, Stewart and Mosqueda-Lewis which has helped him win 10 championships over the past 30 seasons, including five undefeated seasons.
Also from the ESPN.com article: “I just know that in our sport, from 1995 to today, what we’ve done against our peers is as good if not better than anybody else has done in their sport against their peers,” he said. “I don’t care whether it’s harder in that sport.”
Most Titles Won Since 1994-95 Season
College Basketball and Major Professional Sports
UConn Women’s Basketball: 10
Tennessee Volunteers Women’s Basketball: 5
Los Angeles Lakers: 5
San Antonio Spurs: 5
New York Yankees: 5
Information from the April 8, 2015 edition of the Star-Telegram was used in this article.