UConn women has another shot to replicate past March Madness glory

For now, UConn’s 2016 title marked the end of an era, but it has since been the pinnacle the Huskies are still trying to return to.

Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson — the class that compiled a 151-5 record — left for the WNBA after that NCAA tournament.

They laid the foundation for what became Connecticut’s 111-game winning streak. They won four titles to give the program 11.

Paige Bueckers led UConn from an underdog to the Final Four. Getty Images

But the Huskies hadn’t won a national title in the last six seasons heading into their Final Four game Friday against Iowa.

This is their longest drought since their first victory in 1995.

They’ve reached five national semifinals, qualified for one championship and have consistently filled their rosters with stars, including Paige Bueckers, who helped put together an underdog run this year.

However, until their next championship, 2016 will serve as the final link to a historic era that UConn has yet to replicate.

“There was a trust and a bond that built and a kind of relentless attitude that came out of it for them – an understanding that even though we won (in 2015), we had a few hiccups along the way “, Marisa Moseley, UConn’s assistant in 2015-16 and current head coach at Wisconsin, told the Post.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma
UConn coach Geno Auriemma Getty Images

Coaches never talked about finishing undefeated down the stretch, Moseley said.

That wasn’t the goal. That was not the objective.

According to Minnesota Lynx star Napheesa Collier, head coach Geno Auriemma’s “point of emphasis” was from the previous season, when the Huskies lost to Stanford in November 2014 and ended up winning the 2015 NCAA Tournament at 38-1.

At the time, the Cardinal spoiled the Huskies’ bid for back-to-back undefeated campaigns — they hadn’t lost a single game in 2013-14.

“We’re not untouchable, and if you’re not careful, people can always come and beat you,” Collier, a freshman in 2015-16, recalled telling Auriemma.

Winning and advancing to high-pressure playoff games has always been an expectation at UConn, Los Angeles Sparks star Kia Nurse told the Post, but there was no fear of blowing it all away with just one loss .

If anything, Nurse added, she felt more pressure the following season trying to maintain her winning streak as she approached 111.

UConn has consistently recruited top players in the seasons since, including Bueckers, Aaliyah Edwards and KK Arnold on its current roster.

But the Huskies faced injuries and tournament losses, falling short of something that never seemed elusive and always seemed inevitable.

This year, the Huskies turned a 4-3 start into their latest trip to the Final Four.

They just needed a different run than 2015-16 to have a chance.

“If you had asked me a month ago, two months ago if we would be here, I would have said it would take a miracle,” Auriemma told reporters Tuesday.

New York Post

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