UConn women

UConn women win 91st straight game to break their own NCAA record

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DALLAS (AP) Top-ranked UConn broke its own NCAA record with its 91st consecutive victory, scoring the first 21 points and romping past SMU 88-48 on Saturday.

Coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies (16-0, 4-0 AAC) broke the record of 90 wins in a row that his team first accomplished more than six years ago. They matched that mark with a 65-point rout of No. 20 South Florida last Tuesday.

The four-time defending national champion Huskies haven’t lost a game since falling in overtime at sixth-ranked Stanford on Nov. 17, 2014.

Their first 90-game winning streak broke the Division I record of 88 straight wins by the UCLA men’s basketball team and famed coach John Wooden. That UConn streak also started after a loss to Stanford, in the 2008 national semifinal game, and ended with another loss at Stanford on Dec. 30, 2010.

While the only way UConn will play Stanford this season will be in the NCAA Tournament, the Huskies do have wins this season over second-ranked Baylor, third-ranked Maryland and sixth-ranked Notre Dame – the latter two on the road.

Katie Lou Samuelson scored 28 points, Naphessa Collier added 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for UConn, while Gabby Williams also had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, along with six assists.

Alicia Froling led SMU (10-7, 1-3) with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The junior from Australia entered the game as the AAC’s top rebound at 10.6 per game.

UConn is 58-0 in American Athletic games in its four seasons since joining that league, plus nine more wins while sweeping through the conference tournament each of the past three seasons.

Samuelson was 11-of-21 shooting and had five 3-pointers while finishing one point short of her matching her career high. She had 10 points in the first quarter, when Collier had nine points and seven rebounds as UConn jumped out to a 26-2 lead.

The Mustangs are 0-7 against UConn, and had lost the first six by an average margin of 51 points.

Not everyone's sold on the UConn women

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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.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.