Few collegiate athletes are lucky enough to call themselves champions at least once in their collegiate career. Fewer are lucky enough to call themselves champions twice during their collegiate careers. Even less can call themselves champions four times in their college careers.
Then there are UConn women’s basketball players Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck, and Moriah Jefferson who were skilled enough to become four-time NCAA women’s basketball champions after Tuesday night’s NCAA Championship win against Syracuse, 82-51.
Though it was a UConn dominated game from the beginning, Tuesday night proved to be a night of history for both teams.
For the Syracuse Orange women, Tuesday night’s game was the first time the team appeared in the NCAA Final. For the Huskies, Tuesday night’s win made for their fourth consecutive NCAA national championship win.
— UConn Huskies (@UConnHuskies) April 6, 2016
From the first quarter, the Huskies proved their last three years of dominance were not just years of luck. In the first four minutes of the game, the Huskies went on a 9-0 run with seven of those points being made by the three UConn seniors. Syracuse scored two points from a layup by guard Brittney Sykes to put Syracuse on the board, 9-2. The closest the Orange women were to the Huskies in the first quarter was by seven points, with the Huskies leading 13-6 and 4:59 left on the clock. By the end of the quarter UConn led by 15 points, the score set at 28-13. Syracuse left the first quarter with absolutely no offensive rebounds.
The following quarters ended the same way as the first. In the second quarter, the Huskies held Syracuse to only 10 points and they led at the half 50-23. Though it ended with a UConn dominated 64-43 score, the third quarter was a little bit different for the Orange women. For almost six minutes, Syracuse went on a 16-0 run. Eight of those points were made by guard Cornelia Fondren, who was the lead scorer for Syracuse Tuesday night with 16 points of her own.
The fourth quarter was a Huskies controlled quarter, as they held Syracuse to only eight points. UConn scored 18 points during the fourth, leaving the final score at 82-51.
UConn seniors Stewart, Tuck, and Jefferson scored a combined total of 56 points, five more than what Syracuse as a team scored. Forward Breanna Stewart scored the most points of the game with 24, followed by fellow senior forward Morgan Tuck’s 19 points, and guard Moriah Jefferson who added in 13 points of her own.
Stewart, Tuck, and Jefferson broke a record Tuesday night as for the first time in Division I Basketball history, they were the first seniors to win four NCAA basketball championships.
Those three seniors also helped account for another piece of basketball history made last night.
Tuesday night’s win gave coach Geno Auriemma his 11th NCAA Championship title, the most titles by a coach in both a men’s or women’s program. Auriemma had been tied with the legendary John Wooden who won 10 titles with the Bruins. For Auriemma, his 11th win comes in his 31st season with the Huskies.
Tuck, who’s been at UConn for four of Auriemma’s best coaching seasons, says she couldn’t be more thankful for the legacy Geno Auriemma gave her and her classmates the chance to leave.
Though they did not leave with a championship trophy, Syracuse did prove to many that they were just as good as many of the other teams they met on the road to the finals. For the Orange women, this championship appearance could be the first of many more to come.
— SU Women's Hoops (@CuseWBB) April 6, 2016
After the numerous celebrations the Huskies women’s team is sure to attend after returning to Connecticut, the time will come for Coach Geno Auriemma to say goodbye to the three seniors that have managed to make history of their own. But coach Auriemma and the Huskies are good at handling change.
They do have 10 other championships with a number of different players, after all.