Lady Huskies beat the Irish in perfect NCAA basketball run

The Connecticut Huskies are 40 - 0 as they beat Notre Dame to finish the season undefeated.

The Connecticut Huskies are 40 – 0 as they beat Notre Dame to finish the season undefeated.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Geno Auriemma moves into first place with 9 NCAA titles, all at UConn.

Geno Auriemma moves into first place with 9 NCAA titles, all at UConn.

Tuesday night, the University of Connecticut continued its assault on the record books with its 9th NCAA Women’s National Basketball Championship. UConn defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 79 – 58 in a game that was mostly one-sided from the start. Geno Auriemma and the Lady Huskies have a women’s NCAA record nine national titles, surpassing Hall of Fame coach Pat Summit from the University of Tennessee who had won eight championships. Auriemma was gracious in defeat acknowledging, “Notre Dame is a great team…I knew if we played great we’d have a chance to win.”

The Lady Huskies beat Notre Dame 78 - 59 in a game where Stephanie Dolson (c) made her presence felt with 17 points and 16 rebounds.

The Lady Huskies beat Notre Dame 78 – 59 in a game where Stephanie Dolson (c) made her presence felt with 17 points and 16 rebounds.

 

Connecticut finished the season 40 – 0 for the first time in school history. The 6’4″, Associated Press Player of the year, Breanna Stewart led the team with 21 points while her frontcourt mate Stefanie Dolson dominated the paint with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Notre Dame got spirited efforts from their leader Kayla McBride, who led the team with 21 points, but the Irish clearly missed their senior forward Natalie Achonwa who suffered a torn ACL earlier in the tournament.

While much was made before the game about the relationship between the coaches, both displayed humility after the game. Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw congratulated UConn exclaiming, “I thought we were playing the Miami Heat for a while you guys are just that good.” There is plenty of celebrating going on in Storrs, Connecticut right now. 10 year after both UConn Men and Women teams becoming National Basketball Champions, they have repeated the feat . Congratulations!!–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Men’s or Women’s NCAA basketball championship, which is more compelling?

UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier (l) and his head coach Kevin Ollie (r) hope to continue the school's winning tradition on Monday night.

UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier (l) and his head coach Kevin Ollie (r) hope to continue the school’s winning tradition on Monday night.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Monday night the Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Connecticut Huskies in the Men’s National Championship. On Tuesday night the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will challenge the Connecticut Lady Huskies in the Women’s National Championship. Both games have intriguing stories that are sure to make the matchups entertaining.

The Kentucky Wildcats freshman Julius Randle (l) and Aaron Harrison (r) will attempt to lead  the school to their second title in 3 years.

The Kentucky Wildcats freshman Julius Randle (l) and Aaron Harrison (r) will attempt to lead the school to their second title in 3 years.

The men’s championship features two schools that have been very successful over the past fifteen years, yet neither team made the NCAA tournament last year. Kentucky features five freshmen, led by forward Julius Randle and guard Aaron Harrison. Harrison has become known for his late game heroics in this tournament. When asked about his confidence late in games he expressed, “You can’t be scared to miss…you want to be the guy that makes all the big shots.”

Connecticut is led by senior guard Shabazz Napier, a member of the 2011 National Championship team which was led by current Bobcat Kemba Walker. Napier displayed confidence in his team as he proclaimed, “We believe in each other and continue to believe…we are going to win. That is what we do.” On the sidelines, Kentucky’s coach John Calipari will be seeking his second national title in three attempts. Meanwhile, Kevin Ollie is in only his second season as a head coach and is already demonstrating his ability to lead the Huskies through difficult situations.

Notre Dame's senior guard Kayla McBride (c) attempts to lead her school to their second ever national title on Tuesday night.

Notre Dame’s senior guard Kayla McBride (c) attempts to lead her school to their second ever national title on Tuesday night.

The women’s championship features two schools that have been among the best over the past several years. Notre Dame gained national exposure when it was led over previous years by Skylar Diggins. However, this year’s team was led by recently injured senior forward Natalie Achonwa and senior guard Kayla McBride. Both players have been members of Notre Dame teams that have defeated UConn several times over the past few season but not in the NCAA tournament. UConn is looking to repeat as champions and win a record ninth national title. Led by junior forward Breanna Stewart, the Lady Huskies are likely to be favored to win as they have championship experience and their main contributors are healthy.

Breanna Stewart will be leaned heavily upon to lead UConn to their record ninth national championship.

Breanna Stewart will be leaned heavily upon to lead UConn to their record ninth national championship.

The University of Connecticut is looking to make history as they can achieve a feat only once completed before (in 2004) in having both the men’s and women’s team win the national title in the same year. Both teams are aware of their unique opportunity. As Lady Huskies guard Bria Hartley describes, “Our men are excited for us and we’re doing the same for them…both teams worked hard this year.” Interestingly, the University of Louisville had a chance to accomplish this feat last year but was unsuccessful. Yet another intriguing reason to watch both national championship games.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.