UConn routs Syracuse, wins fourth consecutive national tite
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team capped off a historic campaign, winning big over Syracuse to cement their second-straight undefeated season; this is the fourth-straight championship for the Huskies.
Despite bold game predictions, the Huskies took care of business early on; the high caliber Syracuse orange was neutralized just minutes into the game. The Orange quickly found themselves trailing by 27 come halftime. Despite a second half push, the Huskies superstars put on a show in the second half, building on their halftime lead to finish the game 82-51.
The star of the night was none other than UConn’s Breanna Stewart, the leader on the Huskie’s roster. The 6-foot-4-inch power forward finished the night with game highs: 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Stewart’s performance helped earn her fourth championship, ultimately launching her into the discussion of the greatest women’s basketball player in the school’s rich history—if not the sport as a whole. She joins the ranks of UConn legends Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore. Stewart took Most Outstanding Player accolades for the fourth year in a row, with very little afterthought; the mega-star’s performance simply speaks for itself.
Stewart’s outing was complemented by solid performances from forward Morgan Tuck who recorded 19 points, while guard Moriah Jefferson posted 13. UConn students packed the Bankers Life Fieldhouse as premature celebrations rang through the building early on, everyone realizing they were witnessing history. As the game came to a close, UConn allegiants hoisted four fingers to represent their tremendous feat, which is shared with few other teams throughout collegiate sports history. For head coach Geno Auriemma, Tuesday night was yet another testament to the shot caller’s extraordinary career, which now boasts 11 national championships.
Unlike the cliche Cinderella story campaign that sports fans love, the Huskies’s road to the championship was rather a breeze. UConn methodically made their way to the championship, beating their playoff opponents by 52, 46, 60, 21 and 29 points consecutively. Although many gave Syracuse credit for their strong tournament performance, the Huskies’ dismantling of the Orange came as a surprise to almost none.
Perhaps bittersweet, the conclusion of Tuesday’s match also put a close to Breanna Stewart’s storied collegiate career. The fourth-year senior is primed for a huge professional career in the WNBA. As for the Huskies looking forward, the majority of the roster is set to remain intact. Nonetheless, with a loss of Stewart’s magnitude, the Huskies have tremendous shoes to fill; another player must step up quickly in order to keep the streak alive.
There are those who downplay the Huskies’s fourth-straight championship, claiming it is bad for the sport and that undermines trues competition. Admittedly, the Huskies’ schedule was not the hardest, especially considering their fortified roster; however, such a tremendous accomplishment is noteworthy no matter the circumstances. If nothing else, the Huskies’ unprecedented triumph puts them in the same breath with some of the greatest sports teams in history.