The world has never seen a more dominant performance in an NCAA Women’s National Championship Game than it saw Tuesday night.
On a night that could’ve been a coronation for Louisville, sweeping both the men’s and women’s national titles in the same season — allowing them the same feeling that Geno Auriemma and the Lady Huskies experienced in 2004 — the coach that was a perfect 7-0 in national title games coming into the night reminded us all why that is, delivering a 33-point rout that made anyone watching it think, “we’ve seen this before.”
Different teams, different players, different styles of play. It doesn’t matter. Auriemma has won with all types of rosters. This one was just the most dominant of them all.
Trailing by five early in the game, UConn went on another patented run, a trademark that has carried them through this entire tournament, and made sure very early on that Louisville fans would have only the men’s title to celebrate.
The whole time, it was classic Auriemma. He wrapped up a 93-60 win with a senior-led team. Caroline Doty and Kelly Faris closed their UConn careers with a title, with Faris pouring in 16 points. A sophomore, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, contributing 18 and a freshman Breanna Stewart won Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four with 23 points.
Balance. Auriemma seems to always have it on his. But it’s one of the reasons he’s just on a different plane than any other active coach in women’s college basketball. And he’s definitely up there in the discussion of greatest in the college game, on either side.
UConn out-rebounded Louisville by 18, 42-24, holding the Lady Cardinals 13 boards below their season average. From three-point range, the Lady Huskies hit 13-of-25 and held the Lady Cardinals to 21.7-percent from deep. Anything Louisville wanted to do, UConn took it away, then they did it themselves. Only better.
With all the hype around Baylor and their wunderkind Brittney Griner this season, a few people may have overlooked the Lady Huskies. Then, when Louisville upset the Lady Bears, it kept the spotlight away from UConn and on the Cinderella story in the Lady Cardinals.
On Tuesday night, Auriemma and his team reminded us why they’re undefeated when on women’s basketball’s biggest stage and why it’s wrong to overlook them, even for a second.
Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten