Jessica Hill / AP
The Connecticut women’s basketball team hasn’t lost since … forever. It’s won 78 straight games (10 shy of matching John Wooden’s Bruins) and has been atop the AP women’s poll that last 44 weeks (two more weeks will tie another record by Wooden’s Bruins).
The Huskies have the nation’s best player (Maya Moore), loads of talent and have Geno Auriemma on the sideline. But not everyone agrees they’ll be the team to beat this season. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Paul Zeise has Baylor No. 1.
“We aren’t voting on last year’s team, we are voting on this year’s team. And although UConn has the best player, they also have lost a lot of points, rebounds and assists and experience, and will have to rely on a lot of freshmen,” Zeise told the AP. “At some point late in the year they might become the best team, but I can’t imagine they are now.”
And you know what? Auriemma agrees.
“You just ignore all of this preseason stuff,” Auriemma told the Hartford Courant. “It doesn’t carry as much weight as it once did. … It’s all purely on reputation. It’s too much based on what’s happened in the past without any consideration given to the improved competitiveness of teams in our league and around the country.
“Plus, you take 3,000 points [Tina Charles and Kalana Greene] plus Caroline Doty out of our lineup and it doesn’t matter [to the pollsters]? Well, then what does matter? If points on the board don’t matter, what does? It’s like taking three players out of someone’s lineup that all hit 40 home runs the year before.”
We’ll find out fairly early just who’s better, too. Auriemma’s Huskies play Baylor on Nov. 16 in Hartford. If they clear that hurdle, expect a countdown to the Bruins’ mark.