Who says all of the thrill is in close games? The women of UConn have built an exciting undefeated season based entirely by making their opponents embarrassed and ashamed. With their two closest winning margins being ten points, the Huskies are the only true number one seed in this year’s women’s NCAA tournament.
For most of the first half on Sunday versus Cal, UConn did not look like an untouchable team. Cal was aggressive and took big shots to try to pull a miracle. In some respects, they succeeded. UConn trailed by eight points, their highest deficit of the season. But Cal’s lucrative “Hail Mary”-type plays would only keep them in the game until halftime. The second half was the standard Connecticut runaway fans have come to expect.
UConn has the tournament at their fingertips. There is just one feat they cannot accomplish this season: beating their arch rival, Tennessee, who fell victim to an incredible upset by Ball State in the first round.
But a season like this needs no big rivalry game. The post-Diana Taurasi era has officially brought attention back to the strong UConn program. Shorter shorts, higher socks and an overall removal of the aversion to femininity on the court would also bring more awareness to the energetic and talented team.
Women’s hoops just aren’t the same as men’s hoops. The women have different rules because women are, by nature, smaller. But instead of playing the game with their own approach, women’s ball is pushing towards replicating how the men play. Most of the better NCAA women’s programs opt to use male practice squads to improve their skills. The same teams that stand to prove that women’s basketball is its own fun-to-watch program, are admitting that they are the weaker gender who seeks nothing more than to show they can maybe compared to some level of the men’s game.
Wherever women’s basketball stands, the UConn women stand proud. With the men playing strong in their tournament, there is the possibility of a dual championship for Connecticut, a repeat of the historic feat accomplished five years ago. Fingers are crossed all through the nutmeg state.
Originally published on April 1st in Citizen News (Sherman, New Fairfield Edition)
Article also posted on Player Press