The emergence of South Carolina’s reign makes it easy to disassociate the championship standard of Connecticut with where the program is today. The prominence of winning five national championships in the 2010’s and an 111-game winning streak seems like a distant memory. Although the Huskies are currently experiencing a rare title drought, they still own the longest consecutive Final Four appearances at fourteen.
Coach Geno Auriemma has had quite the dilemma of lineup changes due to unfortunate injuries in recent years. Junior guard Paige Bueckers has not played a minute of the 2023-2023 season due to an ACL injury. Sophomore guard Azzi Fudd, who has been one of the Huskies’ top scoring options has also been plagued with knee injuries and shows up in and out of the starting lineup.
Picture Credit: Jessica Hill, Associated Press Photo
The lengthy absences of both however has opened the door for incredible bench production, especially from Nika Muhl, Lou Lopez-Senechal, and Caroline Ducharme. Muhl became UConn’s single season assist record holder, which was previously held by 4-time WNBA champion and UConn legend, Sue Bird. In addition, the development of Aaliyah Edwards since last year’s national championship game has made her an outstanding candidate for an AP All-American and a needed go-to player that can deliver in crunch time.
This generation of Huskies may not match the success of Maya Moore, Bird, and Stewart, in national championships, but they are creating a new legacy of Connecticut women’s basketball that still honors the perennial program everyone still respects and wants to defeat.
The past few tourneys needed heroics to keep Connecticut’s Final Four streak alive: The controversial no call in the final seconds against Baylor in the 2021 Elite Eight. The 91-87 double OT thriller against N.C. State that following year.The upset scare by UCF in Storrs two rounds previously. Yep Connecticut somehow still finds themselves dancing in early April and adds yet another banner to their prestigious, championship brand.
As the tournament continues, who will garner the cape and deliver for the Huskies in those late game situations? Or can the Huskies collectively find a way to deliver final blows against stiff competition when games get tight? The Huskies are very much capable of getting to Dallas and winning the semifinal, which would very well set up a rematch of last year’s title game with South Carolina.