UConn women’s basketball is set for a coronation tonight. The UConn women’s basketball program had to celebrate its NCAA Division I basketball record-tying 88th straight win in New York on Sunday. But tonight, it gets to come home to Hartford, and likely break UCLA’s record in front of its home crowd. Ohio State, the 10th-ranked team, offered no challenge when the Huskies tied the record, and now a team ranked a few places lower will try to do better. Therefore, it seems destined that Florida State will be witness to UConn making history tonight, like much of the college world.
ESPN2 will turn it into an event anyway, even if the actual game is expected to be a walk in the park. But such a blowout would be fitting for this streak, as the Huskies’ 88 straight wins have mostly come with no challenge.
At 6 p.m. EST, Connecticut will be honored in an hourlong pregame on ESPN2. The game begins at 7 p.m. as the Huskies try to break a tie with the UCLA men.
When or if the Huskies win their 89th straight, it will bring a climax to this celebrated and controversial pursuit of history. Coach Geno Auriemma has already blamed sexism as a reason why the streak isn’t more widely celebrated. However, the fact that it has come so easily for the Huskies has been another reason.
Since Connecticut has not been challenged for the most part in two years — and has never even faced former archrival Tennessee — some have debated what this streak really means. CBS Sports’ Greg Doyel wrote today that it was bad for the women’s game, and reflected the lack of competition and a less than diverse talent pool.
Most of the powerful recruits in the women’s game have gone to Storrs and widened the gap between Connecticut and the competition. Even when the starters are benched in a blowout, they are replaced by high school All-Americans.
Of course, the 1970s UCLA squads were just as loaded, if not more so. Yet Doyel writes that UConn is plagued by “an astounding lack of imagination” as recruits would rather win easy than go somewhere else for a harder challenge. Therefore, no matter how highly ranked an opponent is, they don’t have enough to avoid getting destroyed — with Baylor and Stanford as the only exceptions in the streak.
Therefore, when or if the 89th straight win happens, the celebration and honors will still have a negative undercurrent. This perception may not fully go away until the Huskies finally lose — or rather, if they lose.
CBS Sports. “UConn streak is telling, and not in a good way”