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On Tuesday night, Auriemma, UConn prove they’re on another level

Apr 9, 2013, 11:38 PM EDT

NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Championship Getty Images

The world has never seen a more dominant performance in an NCAA Women’s National Championship Game than it saw Tuesday night.

On a night that could’ve been a coronation for Louisville, sweeping both the men’s and women’s national titles in the same season — allowing them the same feeling that Geno Auriemma and the Lady Huskies experienced in 2004 — the coach that was a perfect 7-0 in national title games coming into the night reminded us all why that is, delivering a 33-point rout that made anyone watching it think, “we’ve seen this before.”

Different teams, different players, different styles of play. It doesn’t matter. Auriemma has won with all types of rosters. This one was just the most dominant of them all.

Trailing by five early in the game, UConn went on another patented run, a trademark that has carried them through this entire tournament, and made sure very early on that Louisville fans would have only the men’s title to celebrate.

The whole time, it was classic Auriemma. He wrapped up a 93-60 win with a senior-led team. Caroline Doty and Kelly Faris closed their UConn careers with a  title, with Faris pouring in 16 points. A sophomore, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, contributing 18 and a freshman Breanna Stewart won Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four with 23 points. 

Balance. Auriemma seems to always have it on his. But it’s one of the reasons he’s just on a different plane than any other active coach in women’s college basketball. And he’s definitely up there in the discussion of greatest in the college game, on either side.

UConn out-rebounded Louisville by 18, 42-24, holding the Lady Cardinals 13 boards below their season average. From three-point range, the Lady Huskies hit 13-of-25 and held the Lady Cardinals to 21.7-percent from deep. Anything Louisville wanted to do, UConn took it away, then they did it themselves. Only better.

With all the hype around Baylor and their wunderkind Brittney Griner this season, a few people may have overlooked the Lady Huskies. Then, when Louisville upset the Lady Bears, it kept the spotlight away from UConn and on the Cinderella story in the Lady Cardinals.

On Tuesday night, Auriemma and his team reminded us why they’re undefeated when on women’s basketball’s biggest stage and why it’s wrong to overlook them, even for a second.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten 

  1. nawlinsmitty - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    You are absolutely crazy if you ever have or ever will overlook Airiemma.

  2. harleyspoon - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    But they still lost to Baylor at home at UCONN…this year!!

  3. trapshoot - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    They certainly peaked at the right time. Stewart was unbelievable and should make UConn very tough for the next three years. Great tournament for them.

  4. cranespy - Apr 11, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Much will be said about Geno and his 8th title which ties the legendary Pat Summit. With his coaching and recruiting ability Geno will definitely surpass her total number of titles perhaps becoming the leader by any NCAA bball coach…mens or women’s

    While time will tell whether or not Geno emerges as the All Time leader there is one area in which the Lady Vol Coach Emeritus will never be surpassed. No coach has ever sold the women’s game quite like Pat.

    My wife, daughter and I had the opportunity to see her in action and it left no doubt in our minds about how she was wired.

    The Vols played WVU in Charleston the night before the Thanksgiving break a few years back. It was Alexis Hornbuckle’s senior year and Pat took the team back to her senior’s home town as was her custom.

    The game wasn’t close with the Lady Vols winning going away. There was a nice size crowd there to see the game, the largest ever to see a women’s game in WV, but the best part of the evening was what happened afterwards.

    After Alexis did her radio and tv interviews and Coach Summit took care of her media obligations with local and university press…Coach Summit began to sign autographs and have her picture taken with fans, regardless of what team colors they were wearing.

    The long line which snaked it’s way around the civic center floor, continued to wait patiently while her team made their way to the bus for their 4 hour ride back to the UT campus.

    At that point a security guard stepped up and politely whispered “Theres about 500 left….want me to shut it down?”. I will never forget her response….she looked him in the eye, gave him her patented glare and said…..”You tell them I will sign for every one of them.”

    And that’s precisely what she did…..we watched from the front row as she smiled, laughed, talked, kissed babies, hugged grand maws and patiently took pictures and signed programs, basketballs, ticket stubs, body parts, flags, banners, and heaven only knows what else for another hour and 10 minutes…..but not until every single person young and old had been thru the line. With her team on the bus for over an hour, Coach Summit signed for the security guard and thanked him while she finally made her way to the bus for the late night ride back to Knoxville.

    All this in the name of “selling” the game. I recall thinking to myself, would Geno have done this….perhaps, perhaps not.

    Unfortunately, Coach had to step down…..as she continues to battle an awful disease, one that will eventually hand coach her final defeat.

    Sad that Geno who has benefitted more than any other women’s coach has not publicly acknowledged how much he owes Pat who blazed a trail for all of those like Geno who came along after her.

    Sadder still is the way in which their relationship deteriorated after Geno’s ESPN recruiting trick. The nation lost the greatest rivalry in women’s sports……Geno lost a mentor and Pat lost a colleague.

    I hope Geno will do the right thing…..publicly…..and not wait until after she’s gone.

    Her actions in Charleston spoke volumes about her character…..Geno’s silence speaks volumes about his.

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