This week, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team beat Robert Morris University by a margin of 52 points. If the women go on to win this year’s national championship in Indianapolis, Indiana it will be their fourth consecutive title, as well as their 11th overall.
Such a feat would only confirm that head coach Geno Auriemma has created the most dominant program in contemporary college athletics. However, the UConn women’s team is rarely given the credit they so clearly deserve.
FiveThirtyEight, a well respected statistical analysis website, has given the current UConn women’s team a “whopping 71 percent chance of pulling off” a fourth consecutive title. The three other top-seeded teams in the tournament have been calculated as having chances under the ten percent, respectively. This sort of dominance is rare in college sports, and warrants immense praise.
When the UConn women defeated Robert Morris University in the first round of this year’s NCAA tournament, RMU coach Sal Buscaglia spoke candidly regarding the lack of respect for female athletes and programs in America.
Retiring after this final game, Buscaglia implored reporters to cover female sports and aim to give them the recognition deserved. He told his players to “never let anybody treat them as second class” simply because their efforts have not received the same attention or praise as their male counterparts.
As the UConn women continue their quest for a fourth consecutive national title, it is imperative that Buscaglia’s words are heeded. Though the Huskies are, in nearly every statistical category, far above their competition, this fact does not diminish the respect earned through their dominance.
In his 30 years at UConn, Geno Auriemma has turned the women’s basketball program into one of the most successful college athletic programs in history. While the men’s team has won four national championships since 1999, Auriemma and the women’s team have had four perfect seasons in that same span.
While hype surrounded the men’s team from the University of Kentucky last year as they chased and fell short of a perfect season, Auriemma has put together five perfect efforts in his time at UConn.
As the UConn women prepare to face Duquesne, it is important to remember that their continued excellence is deserving of our praise. If they go on to win a fourth straight national title, the UConn women will become unmatched in college athletics. To write off their dominance represents a failure to respect the dedication and pure athleticism this program has continually produced during Auriemma’s tenure.
The UConn women’s team is chasing perfection for yet another season, and it is time the reaction matches the sheer enormity of that feat.