The days of UConn cruising through the NCAA women’s basketball tournament en route to a national championship appear to be over. And that’s OK.
Notre Dame topped UConn in the Final Four on April 6, sending the Huskies home without a national title for the third straight year.
In each of those seasons, the women from Storrs were eliminated in the semifinals.
While most programs would love to have a “problem” like that, when it comes to UConn women’s basketball, a season that ends without a parade is considered a disappointment. The Huskies are a victim of their own success.
Since taking the reins of the program in 1985, Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma has led UConn to 11 national titles — yes, 11 — and to more than 1,000 victories. And the gaudy statistics keep coming.
The Huskies were national champions in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and peeled off 111 straight wins from Nov. 17, 2014 to March 31, 2017.
The Huskies have been so dominant that when they go a few years without hoisting a NCAA crown it’s stunning to some.
But it shouldn’t be.
Other programs are starting to catch up with the UConn juggernaut.
That’s good for the game. It’s good for fans. And, ultimately, having teams nipping at their heels may be good for the Huskies.
Also, people forget that UConn women’s basketball wasn’t always “UConn women’s basketball.”
In Auriemma's first season as coach, the Huskies lost more games than they won, and the team was barely a blip on the map for several years to come.
Now, here they are on the hunt for national title No. 12.
"Losing a game is part of life," Auriemma said following his team’s season-ending loss to Notre Dame. "But there's always tomorrow. There's always another game. There's always another season to get ready for.”
So, fret not, UConn faithful. You can’t win ‘em all. And in big time college athletics, you shouldn’t.
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