The Legitimization of the UCONN women Huskies’ Win Streak

I must admit that I am not a huge fan of women’s college basketball.  Before I watched Candace Parker win the high school McDonald’s All-American slam dunk contest in 2004, I had no interest in tuning into a women’s basketball game, college or professional.  Seeing the supreme talent that was (and is) Candace Parker certainly intrigued me.  I watched the occasional Tennessee Vols’ game when Parker was on campus between 2005-2008.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I love women’s college basketball and have a subscription to the DirecTV channel, but I do not dismiss the sport like the majority of the country does.

Enough of this history lesson, the real reason for this post is to try and explain to you all why this streak is so amazing, and to attempt to understand why it is not being taken seriously.  Geno Auriemma said it right when at yesterday’s press conference he stated, “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 all up in arms about it.”  I couldn’t have said it any better Geno, but not only is this a men’s record, it is legendary coach John Wooden’s record.  Over the years that Auriemma has coached the women Huskies (since 1985) his total record is 735-122 (.858 winning percentage).  Since the start of the 1999-2000 season, the Huskies have a combined record of 378-28.  That is a winning percentage of .931!  What may be even more impressive than that is during that same time span, their record in Big East play is 169-8 (.955 winning percentage).  Over Auriemma’s tenure (25 years), his teams have amassed 15 Big East regular season titles, 14 Big East tournament titles, 22 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 trips to the Final Four, and 7 National Championships.  Those numbers are astounding.  The UCONN women Huskies are clearly the most dominant program in the history of women’s college basketball, and arguably the most dominant program in any sport, ever.

You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, Mr. Mattyoshow, what the hell do any of those stats prove besides the fact that Geno Auriemma is a hell of a coach?  They certainly don’t shine little light on the women Huskies’ current 88 game win streak.”  Well my friend, let me hit you with some more stats.  Over the past 88 games, the UCONN women have averaged 82.5 points per game and have an average winning margin of 32.5 ppg.  Of those games, only two have been decided by less than 9 points, 11/17/10 vs. Baylor (65-64 W) and the 2010 National Championship game against Stanford (53-47 W).  During that same time, they have won 52 of 88 games by more than 30 points, the largest victory being an 80 point win against Holy Cross (117-37 W).  Only five teams have held the lead against the Huskies for more than 10 minutes of a game.  To top it all off, Tuesday night’s match-up against #14 Ohio State (possibly win #89) will mark the 30th time over an 89 game span that the Huskies will square off against a ranked opponent.  You read that correctly, 34% of the games they will have played will be against ranked opponents.

I can hear it now, “Well, Mr. Mattyoshow, UCLA’s streak is as equally, if not more impressive, and plus the men’s game has more talented players.”  Before I start getting fired up, let us compare streaks for a minute.  Both currently stand at 88 games.  UCLA and UCONN both averaged similar points per game (88 to 82.5 respectively).  UCLA average margin of victory was 7 points less than UCONN, but I won’t make a big deal over that.  The biggest number than stands out is that UCLA played only 10 games versus ranked opponents over their 88 game win streak.  So, UCONN played 34% of their games versus ranked opponents to UCLA’s 11%, but UCLA’s streak is equally as impressive?  Yup, that makes sense.  Oh, it’s because the men’s game has more talented players?  Well, although male basketball players, and athletes in general, might be bigger, stronger, faster, and more athletic than female athletes (it is scientifically proven), you have to understand that it is all relative.  What I mean by that is taking the athletic differences into account, there are an equal number of great, good, and bad male basketball players to great, good, and bad female basketball players.  For instance, the 57th best male in the country is just as good or bad as the 57th best female player in the country when both are compared to the best player of each respective gender in that sport.  If you still don’t get it then look it up.  So, the argument that the male players are, or were more talented is completely bogus.

Look, I’m not writing this post to discredit what John Wooden, Bill Walton, and the UCLA Bruins did between 1971-1973.  Winning 88 consecutive games of anything is downright impressive.  All I want to do is shed a bit of light on the spectacle that is the UCONN women’s basketball team.  Their run has been the most impressive that I have witnessed in my 21 years of existence.  There is no other word that I can conjure up to better describe this winning streak other than dominant.  They challenged themselves (30 games versus ranked opponents), had to fight on occasion, but all 88 times the UCONN women Huskies rose to the occasion and did what every team strives to do every single game…win.

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One Response

  1. Get outta my face

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