Four Titles in Four Years. Breanna Stewart gets her wish.
TORRINGTON- It fit the ending of this amazing run to a tee.
“We have no more places to conquer,” Auriemma said. “So we’re done.”
After running past Syracuse in the National Championship game by an 82-51 final for their fourth straight title and eleventh overall, Auriemma and his three seniors, Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson were indeed finished.
Nothing left to prove. Nothing left to say. It’s done.
The statement made by the then freshman Stewart that she wanted to win four straight had come true.
Most would say it was never in doubt and that’s perhaps true but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard and isn’t richly deserved.
The reason the UConn women are so good is that they out work, out hustle, out think and out skill their opponents at every turn.
What will be amazing and a bit sad is not seeing those three faces when we head back up to Storrs next fall as the four time defending champs get back at it but that can wait.
On Tuesday night there was one more game to play, one more team to conquer.
Syracuse had made a Cinderella type run to get into the final game and had been living and dying with the three point shot but the effort fell short in the face of a UConn trio so determined to bring home the trophy one more time.
Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman had high hopes coming in for his tea.
“Well, you know, you come here to win a game,” Hillsman said, “I thought that at first we played pretty good, but we just got to be able to rebound the ball and do just the little things that you have to do to beat great teams. A lot of times it comes down to those things, rebounding the ball, getting your pressure set, running in transition and we had some troubles doing that.”
Their opponent had a great deal to do with the struggles the Orange faced, as had the previous 37 foes slayed by the dragon that is UConn.
“But the troubles come from UConn,” Hillsman said. “They’re just a great basketball team. And they really move the ball, did a pretty good job of attacking on pressure. I thought one of the keys for us, we really took care of the ball pretty good. Only had 12 turnovers. They had 17. We took care of the ball decently. I thought we did a pretty good job up front. We tried to attack the win and get to the foul line. I don’t think we got enough easy shots, free throws. We missed a ton of three’s. A lot is because of their length and athleticism and they took us out of some things we really wanted to do.”
Make no mistake, having three new teams in the Final Four this year was a good thing for the overall health of women’s basketball but in the season’s last game, the team that has now won 75 games in a row was not going to be denied.
Stewart led the way (how many times has that line been written over the past four years) with 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists while Tuck added 19 points and five boards.
Jefferson ran the point to perfection, breaking the Syracuse press with relative ease most of the night while scoring 15 points and passing out five assists.
More from Rich Elliott from Indianapolis later Wednesday morning on your site for UConn sports.