What they’re doing is so prolific that Homer may come back from the dead to write an epic poem about it. Their achievements are larger than life. They belong with the giants of our history: Julius Caesar. Mozart. Einstein. And the Huskies.
For the past two seasons, the Connecticut women have ruled their domain like an ill-tempered Russian czar. Sixteen months have come and gone and the mere mortals of college basketball have done nothing but cower.
Seventy-four straight games have passed and not one opponent has proven itself worthy. Records have been broken, trophies lifted, dreams shattered. No one has been spared.The easiest way to measure greatness is to forget the numbers and ask those who experienced it firsthand.
Ask the victims, the fallen, the losers. Ask all of the teams who were chewed up and spit back out like a sunflower seed.Ask Notre Dame, who knows all too well the meteoric destruction Connecticut can rain down upon helpless, thunderstruck creatures. Ranked No. 3 in the nation at the time, Notre Dame was flattened like a plasterboard nail, losing 70-46.
The Huskies scored 24 of the game’s first 28 points.Ask No. 8 seeded Temple, or what remains of them after getting pasted by a ridiculous 54 points Tuesday in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The margin of victory was 18 points more than Temple posted the entire game.
All-Americans Maya Moore and Tina Charles only played a combined 33 minutes.Or ask the Grandfather of Winning Streaks himself, Geno Auriemma, who personally constructed the well-oiled machine Connecticut has become in recent years.
“I’m amazed that we’ve been able to do it twice, that we can sustain this kind of effort day in and day out through injuries or fouls or bad games,” Auriemma said. “There’s just, I hope, a culture that we have at Connecticut that we expect to win every game. It doesn’t mean we’re going to win every game, but we expect to win every game.”
Well, they have won every game. For 74 games and counting, they have remained unbeaten. They have won on the road, they have won at home, in tournaments and the regular season. They have won by wide margins, Grand Canyon-sized margins, and even by small margins, but only about as often as a Haley’s Comet sighting.
They have won from behind, from in front, from wire to wire. Some wins were ugly. Some were masterpieces. But no matter the situation or the venue or the team, Connecticut won.But let’s say we forget all of that. What about the numbers?
During the streak, Connecticut has posted the following stats (WARNING: you may have to read these again to believe them): A winning margin of 32.5 points per game; 22 victories over ranked opponents by a margin of 22.5 ppg; an average of 83.1 ppg and a 51.4 field goal percentage; eight wins of 50 points or more; 12 wins of 40 points or more; 21 wins of 30 points or more and no victory during the streak has come by less than 10 points.
This season, Moore and Charles have both averaged more than 18 points and eight rebounds per game. Charles recently became Connecticut’s all-time leading scorer (1,638) and rebounder (995). Only two players on the entire roster are shooting lower than 40 percent from the field.
And the team’s record-altering tear through history is currently the second longest streak ever in college basketball, behind John Wooden’s UCLA team, which won 88 straight games.
Add that all up. The only number you get is one.