By Carl Adamec
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team will take a 7-0 record in national championship games into tonight’s NCAA final against Louisville at New Orleans. Here’s a look back at how the Huskies achieved that record.
UConn 70, Tennessee 64
(Target Center, Minneapolis, Minn.)
UConn overcame first-half foul trouble and a nine-point second-half deficit to defeat Tennessee and finish off a perfect 35-0 season. With the score tied at 61, Jennifer Rizzotti grabbed a long rebound, went the length of the court and turned defender Michelle Marciniak inside-out for a layup to give the Huskies the lead for good with 1:51 left. Rizzotti finished with 15 points while Most Outstanding Player Rebecca Lobo had 14.
UConn 71, Tennessee 52
(First Union Center, Philadelphia)
It would be called the “backdoor palooza.” Most Outstanding Player Shea Ralph had 15 points, most coming on backdoor layups, as the Huskies avenged their only loss of the season by routing Tennessee. Kelly Schumacher set a Final Four record with nine blocked shots. UConn jumped out to a 21-6 lead and never looked back.
UConn 82, Oklahoma 70
(Alamodome, San Antonio)
The Huskies capped off a perfect 39-0 season by holding off Oklahoma. UConn saw a 16-point lead cut to six with 2:00 left before Diana Taurasi’s three-point play gave it some breathing room. Sue Bird made six straight free throws to ice it. Most Outstanding Player Swin Cash had a double-double (20 points, 13 rebounds) for UConn.
UConn 73, Tennessee 68
(Georgia Dome, Atlanta)
UConn had Diana and they didn’t. Taurasi scored 28 points to earn Most Outstanding Player honors as the Huskies successfully defended their title. Tennessee cut a 13-point deficit to three with 0:21 left, but Ann Strother (17 points) hit two free throws and Ashley Battle stole the ensuing inbounds pass to allow UConn to run out the clock.
UConn 70, Tennessee 61
(New Orleans Arena)
The Taurasi Era ended with a third straight national championship. In picking up Most Outstanding Player honors for the second time, Taurasi finished with 17 points. Jessica Moore added 14 points and nine rebounds and played the final two minutes even though she had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. Strother also had 14 points.
UConn 76, Louisville 54
(Scottrade Center, St. Louis)
Most Outstanding Player Tina Charles had 25 points and 19 rebounds as UConn walloped Louisville to finish off a 39-0 season. Fellow All-Americans Renee Montgomery and Maya Moore added 18 points each as UConn led 39-25 at halftime and by as many as 26 in the second half.
UConn 53, Stanford 47
(Alamodome, San Antonio)
After scoring a Final Four-record low 12 first-half points, Moore sparked a second-half surge as the Huskies became the first team to finish unbeaten in back-to-back seasons. Moore had 11 points in a 17-2 run that turned a 20-12 halftime deficit into a 29-22 lead. A pair of Caroline Doty 3-pointers pushed the lead to 16 and UConn pushed its winning streak to 78. Moore, the Most Outstanding Player, finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds.