It’s not every day that the greatest team in the history of sports makes a trip into your backyard, but as a fan, when they do, you better take advantage. So I did.
When I found out that UConn’s women’s basketball team, winners of 84 consecutive games, were coming to the South Florida Sun Dome, only minutes from my house, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. My memorabilia-collecting buddy was salivating over the thought of what a handful of programs and ticket stubs would garner him on eBay after a USF victory. I just wanted to see if this team was as good as advertised. I wanted to see greatness.
On a Thursday night where most of the basketball world was focused on LeBron James’ return to Cleveland, over 5,000 fans gathered in North Tampa to watch an equally historic contest.
The all-time record for consecutive wins was set nearly forty years ago by the John Wooden-coached UCLA Bruins. That streak, which UConn is about to smash, lasted from 1971 to 1974. It included two undefeated seasons and three national championships.
Similarly, the Huskies have won the last two national championships and are gunning for a third. They are led by their all-time leading scorer, senior Maya Moore, who drops in a cool 26 points per game.
As if their current winning streak isn’t enough of an indication of how dominant this program has been, this year UConn has already beaten LSU by 30, Lehigh by 43, and Howard by 61. Earlier this season, they beat Holy Cross 117-37. Yeah, they’re that good.
By the time we made our way through the traffic and into the arena, UConn was already up 6-0. Minutes later, they were up 20-2. So much for selling programs on eBay.
No disrespect to the Bulls, but they were as overwhelmed as the Cavs trying to guard LeBron. UConn’s disciplined defense made driving the lane impossible. They were machine-like in their execution.
Moore struggled to score, yet midway through the first half, she was actually on pace for a triple-double with four points, three assists and four rebounds. Even on an off night, she managed to make her teammates better.
UConn won by 26 that night. Can you say blowout? I knew that you could. But at least I can tell my imaginary grandchildren I once saw the most dominant sports team ever.
Besting UCLA’s streak is not a done deal yet. UConn goes for their 88th straight win against Ohio State in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 19 and then Florida State to break the record in Hartford two days later.
Of course anything can happen on any given night, but from what I saw, my money’s on the Huskies making their mark on history.