This season’s Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team knows a lot about winning and nothing about losing. Behind sophomore forward Breanna Stewart’s 21 points, UConn defeated Notre Dame in the 2014 national championship game, 79-58. The Huskies remained a perfect 40-0 and handed the Fighting Irish its first loss of the season (37-1).
Before the two squads met for a historic battle of the undefeateds, UConn head coach Gene Auriemma had a plan for his team. "Our strategy for the tournament isn't survive and advance. It's dominate and conquer," he said in commercials leading up to the big game. Here’s a numerical breakdown of how the Huskies did just that.
16-0 First Half Run
Connecticut took control early, jumping to a 22-8 lead after eight minutes of action. The Huskies never trailed. The Fighting Irish got within five points before halftime—the closest they would ever get in the matchup.
52 Points in the Paint
The Irish could not contain 6-foot-4 Stewart, who was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player, or 6-foot-5 center Stefanie Dolson down low, who scored 17 points. Notre Dame not only had trouble with the UConn bigs, it also had a lackluster interior performance. The Irish only put up 22 points in the paint.
UConn outrebounded the Irish, 54-21, the second highest margin in championship game history. Dolson grabbed 16 boards to record a double-double in the final game.
25 Team Assists
The Huskies passed the ball well, dishing and making more shots than the Irish, who recorded 15 assists. Sharing the ball led to four Huskies scoring in double digits. Dolson and guard Moriah Jefferson both had seven assists apiece.
22 of 62 Shot Attempts
Facing off against Notre Dame, the top shooting team in the nation, wasn’t easy, but UConn made it look like it was. The Irish only made 22 shots against a tough UConn defense and finished the game with a 35.5 percent field goal percentage.
9 National Championships
Auriemma won his ninth title, a women’s NCAA record. He now has one more championship than former Tennessee coach Pat Summit. Auriemma is one title away from tying legendary coach John Wooden who won 10 championships with UCLA.
It’s been a decade since both the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams each won the NCAA championship during the same season. Basketball dominance thrives in Storrs, Connecticut. The men and women have a combined 17 Final Four appearances since 1999.
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