The Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team has looked ridiculous kinds of dominant in this year’s Women’s NCAA Tournament, beating its opponents by an average of about 53 points per contest, and Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma recently spoke out against critics of his team.
It all started when Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe tweeted the following and drew Auriemma’s ire.
UConn Women beat Miss St. 98-38 in NCAA tourney. Hate to punish them for being great, but they are killing women's game. Watch? No thanks
— Dan Shaughnessy (@Dan_Shaughnessy) March 26, 2016
It’s no secret that Auriemma’s team has gone the way of John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats in becoming incredibly polarizing among fans simply because of how good they are, but Auriemma had words for his team’s critics.
“We don’t appreciate people for how good they are and what a good job they do — we always have to compare it to something,” Auriemma said. “It’s only in women’s basketball. It’s the only sport where that happens. The only sport. Day in, day out, year in, year out, we’re faced with those questions and those comparisons.”
Auriemma also commented on how nobody said Tiger Woods was ruining golf during his dominant run early in his career, and got a bit brash in saying “Nobody’s putting a gun to your head to watch.”
Still, there’s no denying that Connecticut has been the story of the women’s NCAA Tournament for years. Since Geno Auriemma took over in 1985, the Huskies have gone 952-134 and won 10 national championships, including the last three in a row. Thus, it’s easy to see how the conversation surrounding women’s college basketball could simply be “Who will UConn beat this year?”
However, Huskies star Breanna Stewart seems to agree with her coach, albeit in a more tactful manner.
“I think that for women’s basketball, we’re trying to continue to grow the game, and you can tell that we are with how the tournament has played out so far, with the upsets and that kind of stuff,” Stewart said. “But it needs to continue. Teams need to get better, players need to get better and that starts from before we even get to college.”
Stewart is right, but that falls on the media, scouts and recruiters alike to focus more on women’s high school athletics. Thus, though UConn’s dominance could be seen as hurting the game, there doesn’t appear to be much getting done to try and quell it, thus Auriemma’s outburst.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports