UConn rolls to women's title
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — At the final buzzer, his record ninth NCAA title secured, Geno Auriemma earned the right Tuesday to climb a ladder and snip a bit of the net, to stand above everyone in women's basketball.
As Connecticut defeated its fiercest rival, Notre Dame, 79-58, Auriemma and the Huskies (40-0) completed their fifth undefeated season. He now has one title more than his former nemesis, Pat Summitt and Tennessee, and only one fewer than John Wooden, whose pyramid of success brought 10 national titles to the men's team at UCLA.
A school whose early mission was agriculture, UConn has come to regularly harvest basketball championships. The women's team again shares a national title with the men, as it did in 2004. Since 1999, the Huskies men and women have made a combined 17 appearances at the Final Four. Duke is next with eight.
For a night, at least, no one worried that the Huskies would have to join a more substantive football league than the fledgling American Athletic Conference to continue to succeed in basketball.
"We're in a league of our own," Auriemma said earlier in the tournament.
In the first matchup between undefeated teams in the women's title game, UConn pitilessly exploited the absence of Notre Dame's 6-foot-3 post player, Natalie Achonwa, who tore a knee ligament in a regional final.