Geno Auriemma, reflects on NCAA final loss, says UConn will always need ‘a bit of luck’ to beat South Carolina

MINNEAPOLIS – UConn’s women’s basketball team competed and won the city’s first NCAA final in 1995. And in the 10 subsequent appearances in the national championship game, coach Geno Auriemma and his show were undefeated – until Sunday night.

Back in Minneapolis 27 years later, that 11-0 streak ended when the No 2 Huskies seed fell to No 1 South Carolina 64-49.

That 49 is the second-lowest score UConn has ever scored in an NCAA game; The lowest was a 75-47 loss to Vanderbilt in the second round of the 1992 tournament.

Before Sunday, the last time the Huskies struggled to this extent in an NCAA loss was the Elite Eight in 2008, in a 73-50 loss to an LSU team led by dominant player Sylvia Fowles. On Sunday, they clashed with another Aliyah Boston in South Carolina, consensus national player of the year and Finals Player of the Year.

“I’ve said all this: You have to be really good, and you have to be a little bit lucky to win the national championship,” Auriemma said. “First things first, though, you have to be really good. You have to be really balanced and you have to have all of the things South Carolina is. You have to have good defensive play. The big men of you have to be able to dominate at one end or the other, then you need a little luck.

“The 11 times we won, I would say probably all 11 – but at least 10 – we had the better team. We played as if we were the better team, and we were even. well and we have all the facilities and we’ve got everything that you need to win the championship.”

Auriemma doesn’t feel the same way this season. The Huskies had to overcome a serious test from UCF in the second round and then survived a two-overtime match against first seed NC State in the Bridgeport Regional final.

“We said when we got here we were going to need a little help from Stanford on Friday night, and they didn’t shoot the ball as usual,” Auriemma said. “And we’re going to need a little help tonight, and [South Carolina] uncooperative. “

This is currently the longest NCAA title drought – six years – for the Huskies since they won their first national championship in 1995. The second national championship came in 2000, and the rest coming in bursts: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Then, in 2017, the Huskies’ 111-win streak was ended by Morgan William’s knock-out jump in extra time, when Mississippi State beat UConn in the first of four straight national semifinal losses. Notre Dame defeated the Huskies in the Finals 4 in 2018 and 2019, and Arizona came out on top last season.

UConn managed to beat Stanford on Friday as Cardinal’s offense took a hit. But the tune set from Sunday started off in favor of the Huskies. South Carolina shot 50% off the road to take a 22-8 lead in the first quarter, and the Huskies were never able to catch up.

UConn sophomore Paige Bueckers, who missed 19 games after suffering a knee injury in December, is back to help UConn reach their 14th consecutive Finals. Her 27-point performance in the Elite Eight proved frugal during the season, but the Bueckers were capped at 14 points in both Finals.

“It was a great weekend. Just being able to be here with my group and spend more time together, building more memories and doing it at home is just amazing,” the Minnesota native said. . “I mean, nobody in my position right now is going to be happy, so I’m obviously very upset with how things ended.

“So proud of this team for how far we’ve come and all the adversities we’ve faced and all that we’ve overcome to get to this point. But at UConn, it’s that. whether it’s a national championship or nothing at all. Obviously very sad, disappointed, disappointed.”

Auriemma credits South Carolina’s defense for restraining Buecker.

“We knew it was going to happen,” he said. “I don’t think from the beginning of the game our offense is like being in any kind of rhythm, any kind of flow. Paige then tries to do it herself – it never works out. attack, when one person I think, but their guards completely dominate the match and make it really hard for any of our men to get good looks.”

He admits that Huskies are not 100% physical; striker Olivia Nelson-Ododa had a groin problem and keeper Azzi Fudd missed the round due to illness. But Auriemma says that as well as South Carolina has played, it probably won’t make a difference.

“It’s just a non-stop chain of events that we have to keep dealing with,” he said of the season. “It doesn’t stop throughout the year. I think they put in as much effort in being together as they did throughout the year and being in this game.

“But when you’re in this game, you want to win this game. You’re not just happy to be here. But I think when this goes away, I think they’ll appreciate the effort that’s been put into it. come here.” Geno Auriemma, reflects on NCAA final loss, says UConn will always need ‘a bit of luck’ to beat South Carolina

Luke Plunkett is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button