In the most anticipated game of the regular season in women’s college basketball, No. 2 UConn rolled past No. 1 South Carolina, 87-62 on Monday night in front of a packed house at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs.
The defending-champion Huskies delivered a quick strike to the previously unbeaten Gamecocks by jumping out to a 16-point halftime lead. From there, UConn (23-1) was on cruise control as four starters finished in double-figures led by Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis with 23 points and Breanna Stewart with 22 points. The Huskies finished the game shooting 55 percent from the field (31-for-56) while forcing South Carolina into 17 turnovers.
The Gamecocks struggled to match the overall talent of the Huskies and were led by 17 points apiece from Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch.
With the win, UConn looks like the best team in women’s college basketball once again. The Huskies are already coming off of back-to-back national championships and have been to seven consecutive Final Fours entering the 2014-15 season. The Huskies have now won 22 consecutive games after losing the second game of the season at Stanford.
UConn only has one more ranked team currently on the schedule and its the final game of the regular season at No. 25 South Florida.
South Carolina will get a few games to bounce back from this loss in the SEC before three consecutive games against top-15 teams to close out the conference season. The Gamecocks finish at home against No. 6 Tennessee and No. 13 Mississippi State before a road game at No. 10 Kentucky.
Both of these teams were No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament last season but South Carolina fell to North Carolina in the Sweet 16. With both of these teams likely coming back as No. 1 seeds for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, we could see a rematch between these teams in the Final Four.
Having won 983 games (910 at Duke) and four national titles as a college head coach, Mike Krzyzewski is considered by many to be the greatest coach in the history of college basketball. Krzyzewski’s achievements aren’t limited to the college game either, as along with Jerry Colangelo he’s helped rejuvenate a USA Basketball program that had reached an all-time low in the mid-2000’s.
Krzyzewski and Staley are part of a three-person tie for 20th on the list, with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich completing the trio. Here’s what Fortune said about the group:
There’s no playbook for how to become an elite leader in basketball. Whether it’s John Wooden teaching his UCLA players the proper way to tie their shoes or Zen master (and new Knicks president) Phil Jackson referencing Buddha, the point is to get five players working in harmony — however you do it. Three active coaches with very different styles stand out. We’re hard-pressed to say which is best: Duke’s Coach K (above, right), who has developed players for decades with a mixture of toughness and love — in the process becoming the winningest Division I men’s college basketball coach in history and leading the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team to a pair of gold medals? Or the famously terse Coach Pop, who empowers his players by sometimes stepping back? “What do you want me to do?” he has challenged his stars in a time-out. “Figure it out.” And they do: Coach Pop has had more consecutive winning seasons (16) than any active NBA coach. Or Dawn Staley, who has led women’s teams at Temple and South Carolina to storied records? The former WNBA star initially didn’t want to coach. But as Staley noted at her induction into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, she knew she made the right decision when “I started to care more about my players than to win.” That might be the common trait of the great ones.
Also on the list are public figures such as Pope Francis (first), Warren Buffett (fourth), Dalai Lama (ninth) and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (11th). Overall it’s an interesting list, with those receiving mention having a variety of different leadership styles.