The University of Connecticut (UConn) women’s basketball program’s last loss came in the second game of the season, just not this year, or the year before, but in the 2014-15 season. The overtime loss to Stanford ended a 47-game win streak that pales in comparison to the unfathomable — and record-breaking — 91-0 run the Huskies are currently on. This is their second win streak longer than ninety wins in the past ten years. In the seasons from 2008-2010, the team faced ninety straight opponents without a loss. Geno Auriemma became head coach at UConn 32 years ago, and in that time has guided the Huskies to eleven national championships, including the past four years, but you knew that, right?
The amount of media coverage the team has received is laughable. There is no comparison to the dynasty of UConn women’s basketball, yet somehow their successes are never made prominent. Last year, during the Golden State Warriors’ 24-game winning streak to begin the season, there was a barrage of stories. This propelled the Warriors onto the national stage and furthered their claim as the best team in the league.
However, the exact opposite is happening with the UConn women. Dan Shaughnessy, a columnist with the Boston Globe tweeted: “Hate to punish [UConn] for being great but they are killing women’s game. Watch? No thanks.” This tweet sparked discussion across social media and sports talk networking, in many ways more so than the 35 wins UConn had to their name at that point and the three more they would notch on the way to the championship. The argument is that the lack of competition in women’s basketball hurts the sport because, apparently, nobody wants to watch one team blow away the competition.
It seems that when it is men, not women, dominating the competition, fans make a more sincere attempt to watch. There is interest and discussion with regard to how one team or player can be so special, whereas on the women’s side the inclination is to explain away the excellence by demeaning the competition. Men are lauded for their achievements, while women solely stand out because their opposition is weak. When UConn tied their record ninety straight wins on January 10 — against a University of South Florida program ranked twentieth in the nation — it was by a ridiculous margin of 102-37. Auriemma accepts that, and frankly does not care, making his opinion very clear in his response to Shaugnessy, “Don’t watch. Nobody’s putting a gun to your head to watch. So don’t watch. And don’t write about it. Spend your time on things that you think are important. If you don’t think this is important, don’t pay any attention to it,” he said. UConn is by far the best team in women’s collegiate basketball, and they have proved it by winning the championship. This year is no different, as the team has raced out to a perfect 16-0 record. Tune in to witness dominance and elite basketball — or don’t — but I know I will.