The Connecticut Huskies men’s basketball defeated the Kentucky Wildcats last night for its fourth title. Let’s save the best of their athletic program for last. The undefeated Huskies women’s basketball team twenty-four hours later defeated the previously unbeaten Notre Dame Fighting Irish 79-58 winning their ninth national title. It is the first sweep of the men’s and women’s titles since 2004. The last school to do it: Connecticut, of course.
Never before in college basketball had two unbeaten teams met for a championship. This game was predicted at the start of the women’s tournament. UConn was favored slightly at the start of the madness if and when they played the Fighting Irish. When senior forward Natalie Achonwa’s career with the Irish ended with a torn ACL in the Elite Eight win against Baylor, how could you have not picked the Lady Huskies in this one? At the start of the second half, UConn began an 18-4 run along with unselfish basketball finishing with 25 assists for the game. The ninth title passes Tennessee for most in women’s Division I history.
The Fighting Irish are now 1-3 all-time in championship games. Even with the loss, it was a historic season for the Irish in their first season in the ACC. Winning by an average of 25.6 points while taking both the conference regular season and tournament championships. At the end of the day, no matter the opponent Geno Auriemma and his Huskies just win. He’s never lost a national championship game.
There have been eight undefeated champions in women’s Division I basketball; five of those seasons belong to UConn as they join Baylor as the only schools to go 40-0 in a season. The name in front of the front of the jersey does not change, the names on the back do. Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore and now Breanna Stewart. “To have two national championships under my belt means a lot,” Stewart stated. Stewart, who was the Associated Press Player of the Year, scored 21 points to lead the Huskies. Stewart also won the most outstanding player of the year award in the Final Four for the second year in a row and she has only played two years of college basketball.
Connecticut has now won 46 straight dating back to last season’s NCAA tournament title run. It’s the third-longest streak in school history; they are at the halfway point of the NCAA-record 90 straight they won from 2008-10. “It means we’ve done something no one else has ever done,” Auriemma said. Connecticut’s 21-point win is the fifth-largest in a national championship game in NCAA Women’s Championship history. UConn now has three of the five wins by 20+ points in the national championship game. I hope Warren Buffett creates a women’s billion-dollar tournament bracket. I am picking UConn in both.