South Carolina’s victory overcame UConn’s championship drought

MINNEAPOLIS – Connecticut has spent nearly three decades as the most dangerous player in women’s college basketball, dangerously not even ranked No. 1 for weeks at a time in Division I – which is where the Huskies are Spend a significant portion of time.

But after losing to South Carolina on Sunday night, the Huskies no longer have a perfect record in NCAA championship games. For the first time since 2008, some UConn players will graduate without winning a national title. And the program, often thought of as a family, has been in the midst of its long championship drought since winning its first of 11 championships in 1995. Although it has been a fixture in the Final Four in recent years, it was their last championship. In 2016.

“It’s UConn, so it’s a national championship or nothing,” Star sophomore guard Paige Bueckers said after the game, looking at the reporters with a red eye. “I’m clearly upset, frustrated, and frustrated.”

His coach, Geno Orima, was unusually paranoid after talking to reporters after the game. Instead of calling the defeat a “disgrace” to his players, as he did after losing to Arizona in the national semifinals last year, the second-most winningest coach in Division I women’s basketball history insists he is proud of his team. Lets make it to that limit.

Orima went through the laundry list of tackles the Huskies had controlled during the season – most of them related to staying healthy – and added that forward Olivia Nelson-Odom had played in Friday’s game against Stanford. , And the latest Guardian of the Fed. He was ill at night and did not go for bullets.

The team certainly faced a lot of difficulties. One of the most notable among his various hurdles was a knee injury among the Buckeyes, which contributed to the Huskies’ worst regular season in 17 years.

This injury, though, still does not account for the questions that have grown at every move Orima has made to her point in her career: Does the false Yukon Hikis family lose their strength? Is it a loss, more than any previous Final Four defeat, that would signal the end of an era?

“This is another reminder of how difficult it is to win here,” said Orima. “Usually the best team wins when you get here, and we just weren’t good enough.”

Auriemma says it’s difficult to win, which can sound almost unbelievable, considering how easy it has been in the last three decades. Connecticut has long been one of the better teams in its sport – it has spent the entire season leading the team by 30 or 40 points, and has nearly returned to its 11 championships.

UConn’s domination may have begun to wane, but the title without length is also evidence of the development of programs that are designed to challenge his position at the top of the roster. South Carolina, for example, is now a two-time champion, whose claim as a powerhouse is solidified by the fact that, unlike 2017, Gamecocks have to go through the Huskies to win this championship.

“A lot of what we are capable of doing and achieving is a testament to their success,” South Carolina coach Dan Staley said before the championship game. “I think people at UConn consider their women’s basketball team a game. They are bound to win and for all the achievements, but you can take a page out of their book.

Whether this loss is attributed to the Hawkeyes not being what they were today, still developing tough competition or just a series of bad breaks – maybe all three reasons are right – Orima is optimistic that her young team will have much to offer. Something will Season.

“I like our opportunities,” said Orima, who will return to his two A-list innings at Food and Bakers and join Iana Peterson and his brand, two of the top five in the 2022 class by ESPN.

“Basically we should not sit on a season like we did this year, and – knock on the wood – if we stay healthy,” said Oryama, “I hope to be back next year.”

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