Geno Auriemma made headlines over the weekend in a room full of reporters when he talked the talk; his team did the same this week, walking the walk.
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team made NCAA history on Tuesday night, breaking a 36-year-old record with a 93-62 win over Florida State – the victory was their 89th in a row, eclipsing a mark held by the UCLA men’s basketball team during a run that stretched from 1971-74.
Coach Auriemma spoke his mind on Sunday after consecutive win #88, blasting some reporters for what he perceived as a sexist attitude.
“I just know there wouldn’t be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman’s record. The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men’s record, and everybody is up in arms about it…All the guys that loved women’s basketball are all excited, and all the miserable (people) that follow men’s basketball and don’t want us to break the record are all here because they are (ticked).”
Whether that was billboard material for his team or not, it certainly worked as Maya Moore put up 41 points and 10 rebounds in the historic win.
Sure, eighty-nine sounds like a lot, but here is some added perspective: The UConn streak stretches back to an NCAA tournament semifinal loss back in April of 2008. Since then, no one has come close to dethroning them as the team to beat in women’s college hoops. In fact, only two teams have come to within single digits of the Lady Huskies during the last two and a half years!
Under the watchful eye of Aruiemma, the Huskies program has won seven national titles and put together four perfect seasons, producing a “who’s who” of women’s basketball royalty along the way.
Speaking of college dominance on the women’s side, the Penn State volleyball team won a fourth consecutive national title over the weekend in Kansas City, Missouri.
As USA Today tells us, the Nittany Lions are the only Division I school to string together more than two straight national titles, though their success has been overshadowed a bit by what the UConn ladies have achieved this week. As impressive as “89 & Counting” is, Penn State knows a thing or two about winning as well – they had an NCAA record 109-match win streak snapped back in September.
Much like Huskies coach Geno Auriemma, Penn State’s Russ Rose has basically done it all at the NCAA level. Rose, who joined the coaching staff in 1979, is one of only two volleyball coaches with over 1,000 career wins and is the only one with five national championships to his name.
Which team impresses you more: UConn’s 89 straight wins, or Penn State winning a fourth straight national championship?