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For current information on this topic, see 2009–10 Connecticut Huskies women's basketball team.
Connecticut Huskies
Connecticut Huskies athletic logo

University University of Connecticut
Conference Big East
Location Storrs, CT
Head coach Geno Auriemma (24th year)
Arena Harry A. Gampel Pavilion
(Capacity: 10,167)
Nickname Huskies
Colors National Flag Blue and White


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Home jersey
Team colours
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Away jersey
Team colours
NCAA/AIAW Tournament champions
1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009
NCAA/AIAW Tournament Final Four
1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009
NCAA/AIAW Tournament Elite Eight
1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
NCAA/AIAW Tournament appearances
1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Conference tournament champions
1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010
Conference regular season champions
1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

The University of Connecticut Women's Basketball team is one of the most prominent teams in U.S. women's college basketball. Under Head Coach Geno Auriemma, the Huskies have won 6 National Championships, advanced to 10 Final Fours, and won over 30 Big East Conference Championships. UConn has also been one of the leader's in women's basketball attendance and has produced several Olympians and WNBA All Stars. The team has been especially successful on its home court in the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut; they tied an NCAA women's basketball record with 69 consecutive home wins between 2000 and 2004.

After losing to Stanford in the Final Four in 2008, the Uconn Huskies haven't lost a game. They went 39-0 during the 2008-09 season, winning their 6th National Championship, and have started the 2009-10 season 33-0. They are currently on a 72 game winning streak, which is the longest winning streak in the history of women's college basketball.


Hiring of Geno Auriemma

Geno Auriemma was hired as the head coach of women's basketball at the University of Connecticut in the summer of 1985. He had served 4 years as an assistant coach under Debbie Ryan at the University of Virginia. Auriemma was inheriting a Husky program that had just one winning season in its 11-year history.

On the court, his success includes six national championships and complete dominance in the Big East Conference. Off the court, success means a flawless graduation rate and one of the most beloved sports teams in the country.

Under his guidance, the Huskies have been transformed from a program with only one winning record to its credit, to its current state, which includes six national championships, ten Final Fours and 30 BIG EAST titles since Auriemma’s arrival in 1985.

This unmatched success, which is the standard for collegiate programs nationally, was recognized with Auriemma’s induction into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield, Mass.) and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (Knoxville, Tenn.) in 2006.

1991 Dream Season

Auriemma's early years showed steady signs of progress. After going 12–15 in his first season in 1985–1986, Auriemma would lead UConn to winning seasons in 1987 and 1988. Auriemma pulled off one of his biggest and most important early recruiting successes in 1988 when he convinced an All American from New Hampshire, Kerry Bascom, to come to UConn. Bascom made an immediate impact on the UConn program. In 1989, Bascom won the Big East Player of the Year award as a sophomore and led UConn to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance in program history. UConn would also win its first Big East Regular Season and Tournament Championship. It would be Bascom's first of three Big East Player of the Year awards.

UConn under Bascom's leadership as well as a solid group of role players in Laura Lishness, Megan Pattyson, Wendy Davis, and Debbie Baer would make the NCAA Tournament in 1989 and 1990, losing in their first round both years. In Auriemma's 6th season in 1991, the program broke through in a surprising way on the national scene. UConn would end up with a 29–5 record that season and once again took home the Big East Tournament and Regular Season titles.

UConn earned their highest seed ever in the NCAA Tournament that year as a 3 seed in the East. UConn won a thrilling opening round game against Toledo at Gampel Pavilion, 81–80. UConn moved on to the regionals at The Palestra in Auriemma's hometown of Philadelphia. UConn would upset heavily favored ACC power NC State in the Sweet 16 and than defeated Clemson 60–57 to advance to their first ever Final Four. They became the first Big East school to ever advance to the Final Four.

UConn's dream season would end in the National Semi Finals at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans with a 61-55 loss to top seeded Virginia. Bascom was hit with early foul trouble and Virginia held off a late UConn rally. Bascom's career would come to an end having set UConn's scoring record, a record that would later be broken in the controversial Nykesha Sales lay up in 1998.

Rebecca Lobo and the 1995 National Championship

UConn followed up its surprise run to the Final Four in 1991 by landing All-American Rebecca Lobo from Southwick, Massachusetts.

UConn had modest success in Lobo's first 2 seasons in 1992 and 1993 but lost early in the NCAA Tournament in both seasons. In 1994, UConn had its most successful season to that point. Led by Lobo and players Jamelle Elliott, Jen Rizzoti, Pam Webber, and new freshmen Kara Wolters and Carla Berube, UConn won 30 games for the first time in program history. They again won the Big East tournament and regular-season titles. UConn reached the Elite 8 in 1994 but came up short in their hopes to make it back to the Final Four, losing to eventual champion North Carolina.

With every major player back from 1994, and the addition of Auriemma's most highly ranked recruit to date (Connecticut Player of the Year Nykesha Sales), UConn was in for a season to remember in 1995. UConn captured the program's first national title in 1994–95, when Auriemma led the Huskies to a perfect 35–0 record. UConn became only the second team in NCAA Division I women's basketball history (since 1982) to go undefeated en route to a national championship. The Huskies also became the first unbeaten team in NCAA history (all divisions, men or women) to win 35 games in a season.

UConn and Tennessee met for the first time during the 1994-1995 season on Martin Luther King Day at Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Tennessee 77–66 in front of a sold-out crowd in a game televised on ESPN and soon afterwards was ranked #1 in the polls for the first time in program history.

UConn advanced to the Final Four at the Target Center in Minneapolis after a thrilling win in their closest game of the year in the regional final against Virginia. UConn blew out Stanford in the semi-finals, reaching the championship game for a rematch against Tennessee. UConn rallied from a 9-point 2nd-half deficit and a key Jen Rizzoti layup gave UConn the lead with less than 2 minutes to go en route to winning the championship 70–64. Lobo was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.

The 1995 UConn team was widely credited to have increase interest in women's basketball. The team was honored with a parade in Hartford, CT that drew over 100,000 spectators. The team won the Team of the Year Award at the ESPN ESPY awards that year, and Lobo became a popular symbol of the sport.

UConn also signed a landmark deal during the season with Connecticut Public Television to broadcast games. Today, all of UConn's games are televised, the only women's team to have that luxury.

On July 25, 2009, Rebecca Lobo became the first Connecticut player inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, leading a class of six inductees.[1] The six individuals in the Class of 2010 will be formally inducted as members of the Hall of Fame on June 12, 2010, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Escalation of Rivalry with Tennessee (1996–1999)

Starting with their two meetings in 1995, the rivalry between the Tennessee Lady Vols and UConn escalated throughout the late 90's and would end up becoming the marquee matchup in all of women's sports.

In the 1996 season, UConn would end Tennessee's home court win streak at Thompson Boiling Arena in Knoxville. Tennessee would get their revenge in the Final Four that year in Charlotte, defeating UConn in a thrilling overtime game 88–83. The game is often thought to be one of the more memorable tournament games in tournament history with many back and forth swings of momentum.

UConn defeated Tennessee during the 1997 regular season. The two teams would end up meeting in the Regional Final and Tennessee would beat then undefeated UConn 91–81, spoiling UConn's attempt at another undefeated season.

Tennessee would defeat UConn in the 1998 regular season. A mini controversy erupted in the days after the game when a Tennessee player was quoted in the papers as saying UConn looked scared during the game. Auriemma denounced that quote.

In the 1999 meeting at Gampel Pavilion, Tennessee would prevail again. During the game there was a mini scuffle involving Tennessee's Semeka Randall and UConn's Svetlana Abrosimova where Randall threw the ball down, hitting Abrosimova's head. UConn fans booed Randall the rest of the game and Tennessee fans would later give her the nickname "BOO."

The tension was also increased during this time as Tennessee would win 3 straight national titles and UConn would suffer some disappointing losses in the regionals falling short of the Final Four.

The rivalry continued into the 2000's and became like the Red Sox-Yankees of women's basketball. Geno Auriemma jokingly once referred to Pat Summitt and Tennessee as the "evil empire", like Red Sox president and CEO Larry Luchinno said of the Yankees.

The season series between the two rivals would come to an end after the 2007 after Tennessee decided to not renew the contract. The reason is said to be that Pat Summitt didn't want to play UConn because the recruitment of star player Maya Moore. Summitt accused UConn of recruiting violations. UConn held a 13–9 advantage head to head against the Lady Vols including a perfect 4–0 in championship games head to head.

Since ending the meetings in 2007, they have both gone on to win the National Championship. Tennessee won in 2007 and 2008, while UConn went undefeated 39-0 to win the 2009 National Championship, but they have not faced each other since the UConn-Tennessee rivalry ended.

Nykesha Sales controversy (1998)

Auriemma found himself in a national debate following a decision he made during the 1998 season. Senior Nykesha Sales suffered a season ending injury in one of the final games of the regular season. At the time of her injury, she was only 1 point shy of Kerry Bascom's school scoring record. The next game, Auriemma with the blessing of Bascom and of friend Villanova head coach Harry Paretta, arranged to have Sales, who was on crutches, score a basket and then allow Villanova to score a basket to start the game at 2-2. Sales then held the school scoring record.

Many people weighed in on the decision on both a national and local level. Auriemma felt guilty that he ended up putting Sales through the stress of the ordeal and was angry that some columnists chose to take shots at her and not him. Auriemma was criticized for compromising the integrity of the game. Auriemma defended the decision saying it was a school record and he would never had done it had Bascom not given him her blessing.

TASSK Era (1999–2002)

Auriemma would sign his best recruiting class in school history in 1998 when he signed 5 top 15 nationally ranked players in All Americans Swin Cash, Tamika Williams, Sue Bird, Ashja Jones, and Keirsten Walters. The fans of the program nicknamed this class the TASSK Force based on the first letters of the players names. The class renewed hope of bringing more championships to Storrs after watching arch rival Tennessee win 3 in a row.

The first season for the highly ranked class in 1998-1999 was up and down and featured many injuries. Sue Bird tore her ACL and was lost for the season after only 10 games. UConn would end up losing in the Sweet 16 to Iowa State.

2000 National Championship

Motivated by the Iowa State loss in the 1999 tournament, UConn came back with intent to reach the championship level again. Led by upperclassmen Shea Ralph, Kelly Schumacher, and Svetlana Abrosimova and the TASS Force (the K being dropped due to Keirsten Walters having to give up basketball due to knee problems) UConn went through the regular season with a 27-1 record. Their only loss was a 1 point loss to Tennessee at home. UConn beat Tennessee earlier in the season in Knoxville and this was the first year the teams met twice. UConn advanced to their first Final Four since 1996 and beat Penn State in the semi-finals. UConn would face Tennessee for the championship in the rubbermatch that year in Auriemma's hometown of Philadelphia. Despite the 2 regular season meetings being close battles, UConn used tenacious defense and dazzling backdoor cuts to blow out the Vols 71-52 for their 2nd National Championship. UConn's final record was 36-1 and Shea Ralph was named the Final Four's MVP.

Arrival of Diana Taurasi (2001)

Auriemma pulled off another huge recruiting coup when he convinced All American guard Diana Taurasi to travel across country to attend UConn. Taurasi hailed from Chino, California and attended Don Lugo High School where she was the recipient of the 2000 Cheryl Miller Award, presented by the Los Angeles Times to the best player in Southern California. Her high school accolades didn't stop there as she was named the 2000 Naismith and Parade Magazine National High School Player of the Year. Taurasi finished her prep career ranked second to Miller in state history with 3,047 points

With Taurasi joining the core of the 2000 Championship team, Auriemma confidently predicted another championship in 2001. But after season ending injuries to Abrosimova and Ralph and a poor shooting game by Taurasi, UConn would suffer a devastating loss to Notre Dame in St. Louis at the Final Four, a game UConn had a 16 point lead in.

Undefeated 39–0: 2002 National Championship

Like the 2000 champions, coming off a disappointing loss the year before, UConn came back hungrier than ever in 2001-2002. With the TASS force in their senior seasons and Taurasi emerging as a star in her sophomore year, UConn would roll through its opponents throughout the year. The only close game the Huskies received all year long was a win at Virginia Tech.

UConn advanced to the Final Four and trounced rival Tennessee in the semi-finals by 23 points. In front of a record breaking crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio, UConn defeated Oklahoma for the championship 82-70 to complete a perfect 39-0 season. The starting 5 of Bird, Taurasi, Cash, Jones, and Williams is widely regarded as the best starting 5 in women's college basketball history and the team was ranked the #4 team of all time by ESPN. The championship game that year shattered ratings for ESPN and at the time was the highest rated college basketball game to air on the network, men's or women's.

2003 National Championship

With the TASS force having graduated, Diana Taurasi was going to have to carry the load in her junior season. She had help in classmates Maria Conlon, Jessica Moore, and Ashley Battle. Auriemma also was able to replace the TASS force with a top ranked class of Ann Strother, Barbara Turner, Willnet Crockett, and Nicole Wolff. But with no seniors on the roster, 2003 was supposed to be a rebuilding year for UConn.

But as the year progressed, it was obvious Taurasi was up to the challenge to carry a group of role players and freshman to a championship. UConn would amazingly finish the regular season undefeated and had a 70 game winning streak established. Connecticut shattered the previous mark of 54 set by Louisiana Tech with its 55th-straight win on January 18, 2003, versus Georgetown in the Hartford Civic Center. UConn's win streak would come to an end in the Big East championship game to Villanova.

UConn advanced to the Final Four at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. UConn rallied from a 9 point deficit to beat Texas in the semi-finals and behind Taurasi's 28 points defeat rival Tennessee for UConn's 4th national championship. UConn became the first team to win a championship without a senior on their roster.

2004 Dual National Championship

With the entire team back and expectations sky high for a 3 peat in Taurasi's senior year, UConn would go through a bit of an up and down regular season. The team ended up blowing a big lead against Duke and suffered losses to Notre Dame and Villanova and then a loss in the semi finals of the Big East Tournament to Boston College.

UConn was a 2 seed in the tournament. The Huskies would find their groove in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies beat top seeded Penn State to advance to the Final Four at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans. After beating Minnesota in the semi-finals, UConn would once again beat Tennessee for the National Championship. The win was even more special as the UConn men's basketball team won the men's national championship the previous night marking the only time one University won both the men's and women's basketball championships in one season.

Taurasi would end her career on top leading UConn to 3 straight national titles. Leading up to that final championship, her coach, Geno Auriemma, would declare his likelihood of winning with the claim, "We have Diana, and you don't."

Taurasi also received many personal accolades at UConn including the 2003 and 2004 Naismith College Player of the Year awards, the 2003 Wade Trophy, and the 2003 Associated Press Player of the Year award. She achieved legendary status among UConn fans.

Post Taurasi Era (2005–2007)

UConn would struggle following Taurasi's graduation after the 2004 season. UConn lost 8 games in 2005 and failed to win the Big East regular season crown for the first time since 1993. The season was marked with poor guard play, ragged offense, and sloppy play. UConn would lose in the Sweet 16 that year to Stanford.

Following that 2005 season, UConn's attendance decreased in the 2006 season. Some reasons given for the decrease was the poor play in 2005 accompanied with the lack of new engaging personalites of the players in the wake of losing the larger than life personality of Diana Taurasi. UConn did show some signs of improvement late in the year winning the Big East Tournament Title and had a thrilling win over Georgia in the Sweet 16 where senior Barbara Turner hit a 3 at the buzzer to give UConn the win. UConn, behind a home state crowd, almost upset #1 ranked Duke in the regional final, before falling in overtime by 2 points. Maryland ended up winning the 2006 title over Duke.

With the guard play improved with Renee Montgomery, Mel Thomas, and Ketia Swanier and the addition of #1 ranked player Tina Charles, UConn started to turn the corner to emerge as a contender again in 2007. UConn was a 1 seed in the tournament and would fall in the regional Final to LSU to end the season at 32–4.

Beginning of Maya Moore Era (2008–present)

After 3 down years by UConn standards, UConn emerged as a heavy contender for the championship in the 2008 season. They returned every player from the 2007 team and added #1 ranked high school player Maya Moore. UConn beat out Tennessee in a bitter recruitment battle for Moore. Shortly after Moore's commitment to UConn, Tennessee announced they were cancelling the season series with UConn bringing an end to the biggest rivalry in the sport. Both coaches have remained vague and unspecific as to why the series was cancelled but Tennessee did file a complaint to the NCAA about UConn's recruitment of Moore. UConn was found to have committed a secondary violation and no punishment was handed out.

Despite losing Mel Thomas and Kalana Greene to season ending knee injuries, UConn went through the regular season with only 1 two point loss at Rutgers. They would win the Big East regular season and tournament titles. They would rally from a 14 point deficit in the regional final to beat conference rival Rutgers to advance to their first Final Four since Taurasi graduated. At the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, UConn's season ended in the National Semi-Finals to Stanford ending their season with a 36-2 record.

Undefeated 39–0: 2009 National Championship

The players, coaches, and other staff of the 2008-2009 UConn Huskies, winners of the 2009 national championship, are honored at the White House by President Barack Obama on April 27, 2009.

For the third consecutive year UConn successfully recruited the top ranked high school player in Elena Delle Donne. However, Delle Donne requested a release from her scholarship before enrolling at UConn, giving up basketball in order to stay closer to home and play volleyball at the University of Delaware. Despite losing Delle Donne the Huskies were ranked the 2008-2009 preseason #1. The Huskies returned 10 players from their 2008 Final Four team, including All-Americans Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery, and Tina Charles, in addition to Kalana Greene who recovered from her 2008 knee injury.

UConn finished the regular season undefeated for the 5th time in school history with a 30-0 record. They won their 17th Big East Regular Season Title and their 15th Big East Tournament title by beating the Louisville Cardinals. The Huskies advanced to their 10th Final Four with an 83-64 victory over Arizona State and the 6th NCAA Championship Game in program history defeating Stanford, also by the score of 83-64. They then won the Championship Game over Louisville 76-54, to complete the perfect season, 39-0. In doing so, they became the first team to not only go undefeated, but also to win every one of their games by at least ten points. [2]

Team of the Decade

Sports Illustrated selected the top 25 sports franchises of the decade (2000-2009). The Connecticut Huskies were the number three selection on the list. The sports under consideration were the four major professional sports (NFL,MLB, NBA and NHL) along with the three most prominent college sports: men's football, men's basketball and women's basketball. The top two sports teams were the professional basketball Lakers and the professional football Patriots, making the Connecticut women's basketball team the highest ranked of the collegiate teams for the three sports under consideration.[3]

During this period, UConn won five national titles, while making the Final four seven of the ten years. Two of the seasons results in perfect records—the team record was 39–0 in both 2002 and 2009.

Geno Auriemma Head coaching record

(see also Geno Auriemma)

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Connecticut (Big East) (1985–2009)
1985-1986 Connecticut 12-15 4-12 7
1986-1987 Connecticut 14-13 9-7 4
1987-1988 Connecticut 17-11 9-7 5
1988-1989 Connecticut 24-6 13-2 1 NCAA 1st round
1989-1990 Connecticut 25-6 14-2 1 NCAA 2nd round
1990-1991 Connecticut 29-5 14-2 1 NCAA Final Four
1991-1992 Connecticut 23-11 13-5 2 NCAA 2nd round
1992-1993 Connecticut 18-11 12-6 1 NCAA 1st round
1993-1994 Connecticut 30-3 17-1 1 NCAA Elite 8
1994-1995 Connecticut 35-0 18-0 1 NCAA Champions
1995-1996 Connecticut 34-4 17-1 1 NCAA Final Four
1996-1997 Connecticut 33-1 18-0 1 NCAA Elite 8
1997-1998 Connecticut 34-3 17-1 1 NCAA Elite 8
1998-1999 Connecticut 29-5 17-1 1 NCAA Sweet 16
1999-2000 Connecticut 36-1 16-0 1 NCAA Champions
2000-2001 Connecticut 32-3 15-1 1 NCAA Final Four
2001-2002 Connecticut 39-0 16-0 1 NCAA Champions
2002-2003 Connecticut 37-1 16-0 1 NCAA Champions
2003-2004 Connecticut 31-4 14-2 1 NCAA Champions
2004-2005 Connecticut 25-8 13-2 2 NCAA Sweet 16
2005-2006 Connecticut 32-5 14-2 2 NCAA Elite 8
2006-2007 Connecticut 32-4 16-0 1 NCAA Elite 8
2007-2008 Connecticut 36-2 17-1 1 NCAA Final Four
2008-2009 Connecticut 39-0 16-0 1 NCAA Champions
2009-2010 Connecticut 33-0 16-0 1
Connecticut: 688-122 324-54
Total: 688-122

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion

Season-by-Season Articles

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Charles' 25 points, 19 boards push UConn to 39-0 record, sixth national title
  3. ^ Hunt, Ryan (23 December 2009). "2000s: Top 25 Franchises". Retrieved 6 January 2010. 


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