Domination by Elimination

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: January 14, 2010

MILWAUKEE (BASN) — Now playing in arenas near you: “Domination by Elimination, The Connecticut Way.”

This show is directed by the Don of UConn women’s basketball, head coach Geno Auriemma.

Auriemma knows that most people can’t stand him because he keeps winning. His troops, under his orders, stand for the National Anthem, greet their opponents before the game, then beat the living crap out of them.

Before you know it, close scores turn into executions. The Huskies’ defense destroys the confidence of the opponents and shuts down their best players.

Their thoroughbreds outrun every team down the floor, leaving them gasping for oxygen after winning by at least 20 points. That’s what “Geno Gambino’s” women did to Marquette Wednesday in a 68-43 old-fashioned butt whipping at the Al McGuire Center.

The winning margin was mild compared to what they did to other teams already this season. Stanford was the only team that lost to UConn by less than 20 points in an 80-68 defeat, Dec. 23.

Northeastern suffered a 70-point loss to the Huskies, Nov. 14 (105-35).

“It’s not a coincidence that the other team’s best player usually struggles against us,” Auriemma said. Those are some strong words, but they’re true.

The Huskies have won 55 games in a row. That includes the 16 straight this season and their undefeated 39-0 record last season and an NCAA Championship.

Stanford was last team to beat UConn, which was in the 2008 title game. “I don’t think about the winning streak,” guard Kalana Greene said. I think the only time we hear about it is when people bring it up.”

Maybe Notre Dame will knock UConn off their pedestal when they visit Gampel Pavilion Saturday. That game is the featured contest on ESPN with Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale.

Even though the ESPN Game Day crew will broadcast a women’s game, a high-profile game between the No.1 and No. 3 teams might level the playing field of highlighting men’s and women’s games equally.

“I think it’s the way society is and how we just embrace anything that men do,” UConn center Tina Charles said. “I think it’s something that they’re used to.

Something that, you know, it’s not new to them.

“I think, for us, just this day coming up, I think, it’s gonna be a turnaround for women’s basketball.

And we’re just happy that finally we’re getting acknowledged for things that we do.

“Just being able to play on ESPN, ESPN2, CBS . . . People who just carry women’s basketball . . . That’s really helpful a lot.”

On a team with McDonald’s All-Americans and other players with highly-decorated high school careers, the UConn women are trained to win. And Auriemma wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I hope the culture we have at Connecticut is that we expect to win,” Auriemma said. “Doesn’t mean that we’re gonna win every game. But we expect to win every game.

“We expect to play a dominant style of basketball, and we expect to win every game. And the kids we recruit are the kids that expect to win every game.”

So there you have it from the Don himself.

Someday, the women’s basketball playing field will be leveled after Auriemma retires from coaching.