Tonight, the University of Connecticut womens basketball team did something no other college basketball team has ever done (mens or womens). They secured their 89th victory in a row. That’s right this team has not lost a game since April 6, 2008 and that loss was in the Final Four. It’s an incredible feat. The Lady Huskies haven’t had a bad day in two and a half years. They’ve lost players to graduation and replaced them with even better ones. Their leader, Maya Moore is arguably one of the best female basketball players ever. So why isn’t this a bigger deal?
Well for one, its womens basketball and quite frankly it isn’t always a lot of fun to watch. Womens basketball is fundamentally sound which is exact opposite of what we are used to seeing. All of the action takes place below the rim so there’s very little high flying and very few players can manage a slam dunk. In addition to this, during their streak, UConn’s womens team has won all but two games by double digit margins. That includes a lot of 30+ point victories. I can’t imagine even die hard fans want to see that on a regular basis.
The second reason is, UConn is one of two schools in the country that can attract the best talent in the country on their name alone (Tennessee being the other). Good players want to to go there, because they know they have a chance to win. Their current roster boasts eight McDonald’s All-American (the designation given to the best high school players) team members. So they always play with a talent advantage.
All of this leads me into my third and final point, the lack of parity in womens college basketball. Tonight UConn faced Florida State, the #20 team in the country, and at the half led 54-27. They did not accumulate this record by beating up on small, no named programs. It’s not like UConn is afraid to face the top teams. Unlike the mens teams, their schedule often has them facing high ranked competition. But the fall off from #1 to #5 is substantial. Those teams behind them have to bring their A+ game just to remain competitive in a game with the Lady Huskies. This is clearly the haves versus the have nots.
We all know having the most talent does not guarantee you win all your games (take the Miami Heat for example). You still have to show up and show out for every single game. Marvelously, they have been able to do that. For over two years. No matter who’s doing the playing, that’s impressive.