It all started in 1991 when head coach Geno Auriemma signed high school All American Rebecca Lobo, the Connecticut Lady Huskies were now on the fast track to greatness. The championships started rolling in almost immediately with the first coming to the school in 1995 That year they also became the first school in NCAA( all divisions, men’s and women’s) history to win 35 games and go undefeated.
Auriemma signed his best recruiting class to date in 1998 when he signed five top-15 nationally ranked players. High school All-Americans Swin Cash Tamika Williams Sue Bird Ashja Jones, and Kristen Walters. A freshman year plagued with injured cut the team championship run short in the sweet 16, only to win it all next year. Auriemma’s 2000 signing of star-studded freshman Diana Taurasi almost insured a repeat as champs. However, once again injuries played a key factor in ending the Huskies run.
The 2002 season saw the world witness greatness as the team not only secured the title but did it with an undefeated record of 39-0. The 2003 season extended the teams winning streak to 70 games before losing to Villanova in the Big East championship game, the team regrouped and went into the NCAA tournament and prevailing as champs. The 2004 team had one goal in mind and that was to 3-peat, and it did not come easy as the team loss multiple times that year, but still came out on top. The 2004 season was special for UCONN as it marked the first time the men’s and women’s from the same school won the national title in the same year. In 2014, UCONN would once again accomplish this feat.
After a slight hiatus from the championship game, the Huskies recruited consecutive national #1 players Tina Charles (2007) Maya Moore (2008) and Ella Delle Donne (2009). Although Donne decided to stay home and play for The University of Delaware, UCONN got back to their undefeated ways. The 2009 and 2010 teams both saw title runs with a perfect 39-0 record with the 2010 squad having a margin of victory of 35.9 points a game. The 2011 season saw the team break the NCAA D-1 winning streak at 90 games. However, no 3-peat was in store for the team losing in the final four to rival Notre Dame.
The Brianna Stewart era started in 2013. Along with her came four straight National Championships along with two undefeated seasons 2014 (40-0) and 2016 (38-0). The title win in 2016 tied the mark of 11 titles as most by a school with UCLA men’s team.
It seems that the glory days are over. UCONN has not been to the national championship in four years. After a 25-year reign and 11 titles, the women’s league looks like it has finally caught up to UCONN. No longer year-end and year out is the #1 recruit coming to UCONN. Things are changing.
The shift in power has dramatically shifted within the last half-decade. Notre Dame, Baylor, and South Carolina have won the last three titles. In addition, Mississippi State is constantly being in the mix. It is not like the old days when the title went through Tennessee or UCONN every year and every so often a surprise school would win it. At this point, there is no longer any clear favorite. It seems the Lady Huskies could be years away from winning the title again.
However, it seems that their old dominant ways are a thing of the past. In other words, UCONN’s glory days may be history.