Few people have more authority to talk about streaks than Geno Auriemma.
Maybe Joe DiMaggio, who recorded a hit in 56-straight Major League Baseball games. Maybe John Wooden, who led the UCLA Bruins to 88 straight wins from 1971-74. Cal Ripken Jr., who played in 2,632 consecutive baseball games, could offer some on insight, too.
None of those people have had to deal with the criticism Auriemma has, though. Whether it be from a certain Boston Globe columnist or your average Twitter-egg troll, Auriemma and the Huskies’ 99-game win streak have dealt with numerous attempts to try and discredit their incredible achievement.
Guess what? Auriemma doesn’t care. He knows that what his team has done is impressive and that as the streak grows, the interest increases. It’s human nature.
“I think that there are some things that are just out of our control in so many ways. People do get enamored over things that are unusual. It’s unusual to be in the situation that we’re in, so people are enamored by it,” Auriemma said.
“I thought, leading up to this point in time that it was more of, all the wins were just routine. Ho hum, Connecticut won another game. Big deal. Call me when they lose, that’s a big story,” Auriemma said. “So we’ve kind of not been affected by any of the wins or what people think or any of that because I think people have treated us throughout this whole thing like, ‘Yeah, what’s the big deal?’ And now that we’re getting close to a number that seems to be significant for whatever reason, more people are paying attention.”
Despite this, Auriemma does have one thing in common with the likes of DiMaggio, Wooden and Ripken: he knows the streak will end. Whether it be Monday night against No. 6 South Carolina or some other game, the UConn women’s basketball team will lose. As the cliché goes, all good things must come to an end. Winning streaks aren’t any different.
“We’re going to lose. It could be Monday, could be next weekend, could be the following weekend. We’re going to lose. It’s not if, it’s just when. It’s not like if, of course we’re going to lose. What is it that never loses? The sand at the beach loses, it loses to the ocean, that just keeps coming, all the time…Everything loses at some point.”
South Carolina poses a stiff challenge to prevent the Huskies’ quest for 100-straight wins, but it’s nothing UConn hasn’t already handled during their streak. Auriemma and the Huskies have defeated 27 ranked opponents during their streak by an average of 23.6 points per game. Nine of those ranked wins were against teams ranked in the top five. For the past 99 games, UConn has been up to the task. Monday won’t be any different. Regardless of the outcome, the game will be historic.
“With each game that’s been going on and on and on, you know [a loss] is getting closer. So more people should start coming to our games, because you want to be here when that L comes,” Auriemma said. “You could say, ‘I was there.’ This place should be packed Monday night.”