40-0. That’s the final tally for the lady Huskies, as they finalized the other half of the 2014 basketball season sweep Tuesday night in the Music City. The men, otherwise known as the ‘Hungry Huskies’, as standout point guard Shabazz Napier put it, beat the Kentucky Wildcats on Monday night. The Connecticut Huskies or Uconn prevail as King and Queen, again. This is the only school in history to accomplish this feat. They also did it in 2004, ironically, 10 years ago.
The lady Huskies knocked off the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who were also undefeated. This was the first time ever two undefeated schools faced one another in the championship game. These two squads usually play each other during the regular season, but not this year. So, it was only fitting they face off in the end for all the marbles. However, this was a route. Final score, 79-58. It’s understandable, especially with the Irishs’ best player, senior forward/center Natalie Achonwa out, due to a torn ACL she suffered in the regional final win over Baylor. This was no contest inside whatsoever. The Huskies got anything they wanted. Inside, outside, it didn’t matter. The Huskies out rebounded the Irish 54-31 and held them to a season-low in points. “They got comfortable. “They got into a rhythm, and it just went downhill from there, said Notre Dame star Kayla McBride.”
The first half was competitive, but in the second half, the highly anticipated match-up that women’s basketball hoped could transcend the sport, fell apart. Breanna Stewart, player of the year, and Stefanie Dolson, just took the game over. Stewart scored 21 points. Dolson added 17 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists. Now that’s putting in work.
“We beat a great great team,” Auriemma said. “Notre Dame is a great team”. The Huskies had recently struggled against the Irish, losing seven of the previous nine meetings. Geno Auriemma reached the top of women’s college basketball after winning a record ninth national championship. He now has more titles than the great Pat Summitt and Tennessee Volunteers for most all-time. Nine titles in 20 seasons, never losing a national championship game. That’s remarkable. “Congratulations to the UConn Huskies for winning the 2014 NCAA National Championship” Summitt said in a statement.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw congratulated the UConn coach when they shook hands after the game. 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. “Obviously we wanted to finish this season with a championship,” said Irish freshman Taya Reimer, who replaced Achonwa in the starting lineup. Even with the loss, it was a record setting season. They ran through their opponents, winning by an average of 25 points, while taking both the conference regular season and tournament championships.