One night after Shabazz Napier led the men to a second title in four years, the women completed a 40-0 season and repeated as champions with a 79-58 win over previously unbeaten Notre Dame. It’s the ninth National Title, in nine tries, for head coach Geno Auriemma.
It is the fifth time UConn went undefeated under Auriemma.
For the second time in school history, the UConn men’s and women’s basketball team claimed the national championships in the same season. The first time that feat was accomplished was a decade ago in 2004.
Stefanie Dolson recorded a double-double in her final collegiate game with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Brianna Stewart had a team-high 21 points and nine boards. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 18 points for UConn. Kayla McBride ended her career at Notre Dame with 21 points and five rebounds.
Like the men against Kentucky, the women got out to a hot start, opening up a double-digit lead less than 10 minutes into the game. While the Huskies pounded the ball inside, especially with the absence of Notre Dame senior forward Natalie Achonwa, Notre Dame was able to string together five 3-pointers in the last seven minutes of the half to cut the halftime deficit to 45-38.
In the second half the size advantage began to take its toll on the Fighting Irish. UConn outrebounded Notre Dame by 23, recording as many offensive rebounds as the Irish had defensive rebounds.
As impressive as the scoring prowess of Dolson, Stewart and Mosqueda-Lewis was, the Huskies defense shined on Tuesday night in Nashville. The Fighting Irish were limited to just 35 percent shooting from the field. The 58 points Notre Dame scored was the most the UConn defense allowed in the NCAA tournament.
Muffett McGraw’s Fighting Irish finished 37-1.
UConn is currently riding a 46-game winning streak with Stewart, the AP Player of the Year, and Mosqueda-Lewis returning to Storrs next fall.