Share This Page

UConn women go for eighth title against upstart Louisville

| Monday, April 8, 2013, 6:39 p.m.
Getty Images
Connecticut's Breanna Stewart reacts to a 3-pointer against Notre Dame during their Final Four game Sunday, April 7, 2013 at New Orleans Arena. Connecticut won the game, 83-65.

NEW ORLEANS — Geno Auriemma has never lost an NCAA championship game.

Of course, his UConn Huskies haven't had to face a team like upstart Louisville, which is making an unprecedented run through the women's tournament. A victory Tuesday night over the Cardinals would be UConn's eighth title, matching Tennessee for the most in women's basketball.

Auriemma didn't want to think about it.

“Talking about things that haven't happened yet is never a good idea,” Auriemma said.

UConn is 7-0 in title games, including a victory in the 2009 game against Louisville and the 2004 game that also was played in New Orleans. That game was the college finale of Diana Taurasi, who finished with three straight championships.

This trip to the Big Easy could be the beginning of a new dynasty for the Huskies led by Breanna Stewart. The heralded freshman has been on one of the most remarkable runs of any first year player in the history of the NCAA tournament. She had a season-high 29 points in the semifinal victory over Notre Dame and was honored as the most outstanding player of the Bridgeport regional.

Auriemma said he couldn't remember a player having a better game in such a setting.

“I was sitting next to Jim Boeheim at the Olympics, and we were talking during the gold medal game,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “He said, ‘There's this kid that plays in the open gym with the women up at Syracuse, and she's going to UConn and is one of the best players I've ever seen.' It's not a surprise in what she's doing.”

Walz isn't fazed by his team's lack of success against Connecticut. It's hard to blame him the way the Cardinals have rolled through the tournament behind freewheeling guard Shoni Schimmel.

First came the upset of Brittney Griner and Baylor that shocked everyone. Then came the victory over the Lady Vols, the winningest program in women's basketball history. And finally the Final Four win over tournament newcomer Cal to get back to the title game for the second time in five seasons.

“It's going to take the best game we've played to date,” Walz said. “We're going to have to play 40 minutes of pretty much perfect basketball.”

No matter who wins, the Big East will have a ninth national championship. The conference, which will split apart after this season, has been the most dominant in women's basketball over the past decade.

“It's a special thing,” Walz said. “Every time you turn on a Final Four there's Big East teams playing in it. This is the best league in women's basketball.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.