TAMPA There is a reason that, after spending an afternoon dutifully answering scores of hefty questions about the womens basketball rivalry between Connecticut and Notre Dame questions about the intensity of the games, about the history of the series, about what it means to womens basketball Huskies guard Megan Walker seemed to snap out of her Final Four-media-day-induced trance.
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Since the 1990s, UConn has been recognized as being a consistent pipeline for players to enter the National Basketball Association. During the 20062007 season, there were an NBA-high 14 former Huskies on active rosters. During the 201314 season, 13 former Huskies were on active NBA rosters.
Jerry Brewer: Starring in this years Final Four? Old-school basketball.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Connecticut remained a regional power, winning an additional six Yankee Conference titles before the conference dropped basketball in 1975 and earning multiple NCAA tournament berths. In 1979, UConn became one of the seven founding schools of the Big East Conference, which was created to focus on basketball.
Notre Dame beat Connecticut in overtime in last years national semifinals on a buzzer beater by Arike Ogunbowale. It was the second year in a row the Huskies season ended with an overtime game in the Final Four.
Especially being here now, about to play in that same game that we did those last two years, you know that in practice we have to be that much better and that much on top of things because we don't want that to happen again.
In 2014 led by American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Shabazz Napier, UConn became the first #7 seed to win the NCAA Championship, getting past No. 1 seed Florida, No. 2 seed Villanova, No. 3 seed Iowa State, and No. 4 seed Michigan State, before defeating the Kentucky Wildcats 6054 in the championship game in Arlington, Texas. UConn is undefeated in the state of Texas in the Final Four (60).
Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix Mercury looking for winning touch
NBA Players Past and Present
How U-Conn., Notre Dame, Baylor and Oregon reached the Final Four
The Huskies have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 33 times. Their combined record is 5930. They have been to five Final Fours and are four time National Champions (1999, 2004, 2011, 2014).
Washington Mystics vs Connecticut Sun Matchup
Men's basketball at UConn began in 1901 with a single game played by Connecticut Agricultural College against Windham High School in January of that year. The college team won, and by 1903 basketball was a varsity sport.
In 2004, the Huskies returned to the Final Four. Once again they faced Duke, this time in the National Semifinal, and used a late run to beat the Blue Devils 7978. Two nights later, led by Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon, Connecticut won their second national title with an 8273 victory over Georgia Tech. Okafor was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
The 2011 Huskies won eleven straight games in postseason play, the final six of which resulted in the program's third national championship. On April 4, 2011, they defeated the Butler Bulldogs, 5341. UConn junior Kemba Walker was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Connecticut Sun W vs Washington Mystics W
Both times Fighting Irish Coach Muffet McGraw captured national titles, in 2001 and 2018, shes had to go through Connecticut and Geno Auriemma.
During the 1994-1995 campaign, the Huskies hosted Syracuse on ESPN. During an exciting stretch of the second half of that game, ESPN color commentator Dick Vitale claimed that Storrs, CT was the "basketball capital of the world" as both the men's and women's teams were having undefeated seasons so far. The Huskies beat Syracuse but then got blown out by Kansas in Kansas City on CBS.
Former Wagner College and Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley was introduced by UConn on March 23, 2018 to be the next Head men's basketball coach following the firing of Kevin Ollie.
More importantly, theyve matured as a group since that December meeting with Connecticut. McGraw spoke on a teleconference Wednesday about how earning the No. 1 ranking in the preseason weighed heavily on her team, how the season felt long. They met before Christmas and decided they werent having enough fun.
The NCAA began seeding the tournament with the 1979 edition.
A month into the WNBA season, some of the biggest questions in the league surround two teams that each have won three titles: Phoenix and L.A.
Big East Rookie of the Year
UConn has had 13 players selected as lottery picks in the NBA Draft:
Connecticut Sun vs Washington Mystics 83-75
[Notre Dames Muffet McGraw calls for gender equality: Times up. It is our turn.]
The Huskies have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 13 times. Their combined record is 1512. They were NIT champions in 1988.
The Huskies were the top seed in the West region, and a win over Gonzaga in the regional final sent UConn to Tropicana Field for the program's first Final Four appearance. They defeated Ohio State 6458 in the semi-final to face off against Duke in the final. Despite having been ranked #1 for half of the year, the Huskies entered the national championship game as 9-point underdogs.
Connecticut missed last year and the year before, and Auriemma has been telling his team all season to remember the feeling. The history matters.
The Huskies have won 4 NCAA Tournament Championships (1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014), which puts the program at sixth-most all-time. The Huskies are tied for the most Big East Tournament Championships with Georgetown at seven each. The Huskies also have the most Big East regular season titles with ten and one American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. Numerous players have gone on to achieve professional success after their time at UConn, including Cliff Robinson, Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Kemba Walker, Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor, Caron Butler, Jeremy Lamb, Andre Drummond, Shabazz Napier, and Rudy Gay. The Huskies have participated in 5 NCAA Final Fours (tied for 13th all time) and appeared in the NCAA tournament 33 times. The team has been a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament 5 times, most recently in 2009.
NABC National Player of the Year
Alyssa Thomas leads Sun past Mystics in a WNBA opener
There is rich, important history in the 50th iteration of Connecticut vs. Notre Dame, which will take place Friday night at Amalie Arena after No. 1 seed Baylor and No. 2 seed Oregon play the first national semifinal.