Champs: Connecticut women follow men’s lead

  • Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 6:45 a.m.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Geno Auriemma and Connecticut stand alone in women’s college basketball, and they reached the top in unprecedented fashion.

The Huskies routed Notre Dame 79-58 in the first championship game featuring undefeated teams, winning their record ninth national title. Auriemma broke a tie with Pat Summitt and Tennessee for most all-time, doing it in her backyard.


Breanna Stewart, who was The Associated Press Player of the Year, scored 21 points to lead the Huskies (40-0) while Stefanie Dolson added 17 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists. Auriemma took out his senior center with a minute left and the game well in hand with the pair embracing in a long hug.

“We beat a great, great team,” Auriemma said. “Notre Dame is a great team. For them to have the season they had and lose their starting center and to do what they did, I can’t say enough about their players, coaching staff and it took everything we have. I knew if we played great we’d have a chance to win.”

The victory also meant that UConn is now the center of the college basketball world with both the men’s and women’s teams winning the championship in the same year again. The men’s team beat Kentucky in the title game Monday night. This pair of victories came a decade after the Huskies became the only school to accomplish the feat.

“I couldn’t be prouder of what the men did last night,” Auriemma said.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw congratulated the UConn coach when they shook hands after the game.

“I said something like, ‘I thought we were playing the Miami Heat for a while you guys are just that good.’ What a great season, you know things like that,” McGraw said.

Auriemma has now won nine titles in 20 seasons — including the last two. He’s never lost in a national championship game.

It was the fifth unbeaten season for Auriemma and UConn and the first time the Huskies went 40-0 — matching Baylor as the only schools to accomplish that feat. The victory was also Connecticut’s 46th straight dating back to last season’s NCAA tournament title run. It’s the third longest streak in school history — well short of the NCAA record 90 straight they won.

The loss was Notre Dame’s third in the title game in the past four years.

Kayla McBride finished off her stellar career with 21 points to lead the Irish, who were looking for their first championship since 2001.

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