Dominant is defined as occupying or being in a commanding or elevated position. In sports, that word is commonly used to describe a pitcher’s performance or a basketball player’s game or a football player’s defensive effort. It will provide a narrative of a driver’s race or a tennis player’s match. Yes, the word dominant shows how an individual totally and utterly commands a presence over their competition. There is a group of young women in the state of Connecticut who have done just that.
On January 15, 2017, the women’s basketball team known as the UCONN Huskies won their 91st straight basketball game. That isn’t a typo by the way. It was an 88-48 victory over Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas. Seems like Dallas took a couple of losses that weekend, but I digress. The defending, undefeated national champions are led by Coach Geno Auriemma. He has been the man responsible for leading the Huskies to those victories over the course of 790 days. The last time they lost was on November 17, 2014 at Stanford. That was an overtime game decided by two points. The Huskies broke their own record streak that was set from 2008 to 2010. That team was led by now WNBA Minnesota Lynx star, Maya Moore. Ironically enough, that team’s streak of 90 wins was stopped by Stanford. Looking at the schedule that remains for the Huskies, they don’t have to play Stanford. This means the streak could go over 100 wins. They do have to play a non-conference game at home on February 13th against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Currently the Gamecocks are ranked 5th. This will be the only challenge to the streak. They have already dominated the other teams earlier in the year that had good chances at dethroning the champions. Their first 12 games were against several Top 25 teams. They beat No. 2 ranked Notre Dame 72-61 and No. 4 ranked Maryland 87-81 on the road. They had a tough home game verse No. 3 Baylor 72-61. They biggest scare came for No. 12 ranked Florida State. That game in Tallahassee was a 78-76 nail bitter.
Granted, anything can happen over the course of the next 12 games, but the new Big Three don’t seem like they are going to relinquish their elevated position atop the basketball world. The Big Three consist of sophomores Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier and junior Gabby Williams. These young ladies have never, never ever, lost a game in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). That is just as impressive as the 91 game winning streak. “It’s a really cool accomplishment but we know we have a lot more that we want to do this season,” Katie Lou Samuelson said. “We’ll look back on it later rather than right now, because we’re still playing. But maybe at the end of the year or in a couple of years, that’s when we’ll really be able to look back and see that we did something that’s kind of never been done before.”
In regards to the streak, Auriemma said, “Honestly, I don’t sit here and figure out how many games we’re going to win in a row. We’ve done it before. This team is pretty good at just keeping everything on an even keel. It’s almost like we’re so focused on what’s all the way out there. That’s the one thing that everybody gears up for, that one night in [April] when you’re hopefully playing for a national championship. And that’s become the focus, every day. And all a sudden you wake one day, like today, and you realize that along that way, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe that we did this. It’s a lot.’ Women’s basketball is always a little bit under the radar. But people that follow the game appreciate what this program has done.”
You can see why the Huskies remain so grounded and driven to win, it starts at the top. They are looking at the bigger picture of getting better each day and each game, to win the ultimate goal of a championship. Such a championship would provide back-to-back undefeated seasons and a win streak that will never be broken in any sport. Congratulations to a dominant team.