This incredible team has now set the standard.
"It's pretty amazing. It really is," he said.
No exaggeration there.
His No. 1-ranked Huskies topped the 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden's UCLA men's team from 1971-74, beating No. 22 Florida State 93-62. Playing with the relentlessness that has become its trademark - and would have made Wooden proud - UConn blew past the Seminoles as it has so many other teams in the last 2 1/2 years. [...]
It is one more chapter of history for UConn, and perhaps the grandest.
Asked what he would recall from the incredible run, Auriemma mentioned a pair of experienced stars on this team: ``I'll probably remember Maya Moore and Tiffany Hayes. And how incredibly difficult it is to play that many games in a row and win 'em all.''
Connecticut long ago established itself as the marquee program in the women's game, the benchmark by which all others are measured. The Huskies already own seven national titles and four perfect seasons under Auriemma, and they've produced a galaxy of stars that includes Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Jennifer Rizzotti, Sue Bird and Tina Charles.
The streak, though, takes it to another level, certainly raising the profile of women's basketball and maybe all of women's athletics.
Two days after beating No. 11 Ohio State to tie UCLA, UConn toppled the mark in front of a sellout crowd of 16,294 at the XL Center that included Wooden's grandson, Greg, attending his first women's game.
"My grandfather would have been thrilled. He would have been absolutely thrilled to see his streak broken by a women's basketball team," the 47-year-old Wooden said. "He thought, especially in the last 10 years, that the best basketball was played at the collegiate level - and it wasn't by the men."
John Wooden was 99 when he died on June 4. [...]
During his postgame news conference, Auriemma took a congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama.
"Mr. President I really appreciate that. It's an incredible thing that these kids have done and we owe you a little bit of gratitude. That lesson you gave on the White House basketball court really paid off. I appreciate you doing that for them," Auriemma said. "We have not lost since you have been inaugurated and how 'bout we keep that streak going for a couple of more years, huh?"
The excellence and confidence that defines great teams defines this one because Auriemma won't have it any other way. Perfection is expected, not simply a goal, and Auriemma goes to extraordinary lengths to get it.Congratulations, and here's to 89 more!
He goads his players with criticisms of their games - sarcastic remarks that may strike outsiders as harsh but somehow trigger just the right response with gusto. He makes them play games of seven-on-five in practice. He rounds up bigger, stronger male students around campus to serve as practice players. He runs endless drills to hone skills the players thought they had mastered in junior high.
It hardly seems to matter who is on the floor because UConn players don't wear names on the back of their uniforms. The only one that counts is the one on the front.
When UConn - led by Taurasi - won 70 straight games from 2001-03, a record in the women's game, it seemed unfathomable that it would be toppled, like UCLA's 88. But what fans have learned over the years is that nothing this team does should be surprising.