The UConn women’s basketball team was in the midst of a 77-game winning streak and a title defense when they found themselves down 20-12 at halftime to Stanford in the national championship game on April 6, 2010. Behind the play of the tournament’s most outstanding player Maya Moore, the Huskies were able to come back and defeat the Cardinal 53-47 in order to win back-to-back titles and become the first team ever to have consecutive unbeaten seasons.
Instead of folding, UConn put together a sensational second half, in which they outscored No. 1 seed Stanford 41-17. In the second half, Moore scored 11 of the team’s first 17 points of the half. She finished the game with a game-high 23 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Helping Moore capture UConn’s second straight championship were Tina Charles, who had nine points, six blocks and 11 rebounds, and Caroline Doty, who had eight points, five rebounds and a team-high three assists.
“I’ve never been prouder of a group of young people,” head coach Geno Auriemma said. “How they fought back today. It was easy for them to pack it in. People wondered, ‘what are you going to do the first time we’re in a close game?’ We reacted how champions react.”
Stanford was able to control the pace early and hold one of the best offense teams to just 12 points—the lowest ever in a championship game, and the lowest in school history. The Cardinal was unable to keep Moore down in the second half despite Kayla Pedersen finishing with a team-high 15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.
“12 points in the first half was extremely helpful for us, but we weren’t able to capitalize,” Pedersen said. “We kept fighting, kept fighting and things weren’t falling for us. We needed to make our own run and we didn't really do that.”
The finals matchup was the sixth time the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the final AP Top 25 poll met for the title. Stanford was the No. 2 seed, with their lone loss of the season coming to UConn on Dec. 23, 2009, by 12 points, despite the Cardinal once again leading at half.
Spectators at the lowest-scoring game in NCAA championship game history included Vice President Joe Biden and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was a provost at Stanford for six years. Taking place in San Antonio, Texas, 22,963 people were in attendance to watch UConn win its first game in single digits during the streak.
With the win in the national championship game, the Huskies moved their NCAA women’s Division I record winning streak to 78 wins, which put them 10 behind the record set by John Wooden’s UCLA men from the early 1970s. UConn went on to continue this streak until Dec. 20, 2010, when they lost to Stanford on the road by a score of 71-59.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.