(from Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2013) Connecticut tied Tennessee’s women’s basketball record the most NCAA tournament championships. This feat was accomplished with their 93-60 victory over Louisville on Tuesday.
The balance of power in women’s basketball that was once run by both Connecticut and Tennessee is starting shift back to Connecticut. Connecticut started the season coming off of losses in the national semifinals in both 2011 and 2012. While this went on, new challenges emerged like the No. 1 ranked Baylor with the 6-foot-8 powerhouse Brittney Griner and Big East contender Notre Dame, which defeated UConn three times this season.
Without an all-star or amazing winning streak, they finally got the best of Notre Dame on Sunday in the national semifinals. Overcoming the awaited victory in New Orleans Tuesday for the third time in five years, UConn is bringing the national-championship trophy back to Storrs, Connecticut.
Connecticut defeated Louisville handedly, which was a surprise No. 5 seed, which is the lowest to play in a national championship in the history of women’s basketball. Louisville hadn’t been able to keep up with UConn all season and it showed once again in the championship. They sucked the life out of the Cardinals with a 19-0 run in the first half and maintained that lead throughout the contest. The margin UConn won by was the largest in tournament history and they remain undefeated in NCAA Final games.
UConn freshman, Breanna Stewart, the game’s Most Outstanding Player, scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Louisville’s leading scorer this season, Shoni Schimmel, went scoreless for the first 17 minutes and only two points at halftime. She finished with nine, stopping her and the team’s tournament run in the last game of the season.
UConn coach, Geno Auriemma, has dealt with bigger stars in her career, but found a way to pull out another tournament victory. She said, “We were a team of good players, we became a great team.” UConn got its revenge against Notre Dame in the Final Four and are now once again national champions.