Avoiding the Potholes on the Drive to Perfection

Since April 6th, fans of the UConn Women’s basketball team have dreamed and speculated over this moment. Everyone wants to talk about the streak and tying and surpassing the UCLA men’s record of 88 wins in a row. Who would consecutive wins numbers 88 and 89 be against? Who would be the next casualties on the road to immortalization? But before we can get there let’s examine the possible pitfalls in potential wins 79 through record-breaking 89.

The 2010 – 2011 schedule will be one of the Huskies most challenging ever. It features games against all three of last year’s Final Four teams and five squads that advanced to the 2010 NCAA Elite Eight. The Huskies feature only five returning players, after losing Junior point guard Caroline Doty to an ACL injury this past June. They have to work hard to incorporate their five new players into the team with Coach Geno Auriemma half a world away fulfilling his obligations to USA Basketball. Coach Auriemma will be back right in time for UConn First Night activities. The "God Father" will be tasked with coming up with strategies to keep up UConn’s winning ways among the elite.

Possible Consecutive Win:

- #80 – Baylor 11/16/2010: The Lady Bears last squared off with the Huskies in the 2010 Final Four, losing 70-50. The Bears return 6’8” sophomore stud Brittany Griner and Connecticut lost, Player of the Year, Tina Charles at Center. Expected to replace Tina is either unproven Redshirt Sophomore Heather Buck or Freshman Stephanie Dolson. This early season test will be a great barometer as to whether the young players are ready for prime time.

- #81 – @Georgia Tech 11/21/2010: The Yellow Jackets are a tossup. They return 11 players and 4 starters on a team that went 23-10 last year. A young team, at the beginning of the season, on the road, can spell disaster for many teams. Tech might have the confidence to hang with the young Huskies.

- #84 – Louisiana State 11/28/2010: The Lady Tigers return 4 starters but lose all everything guard Allison Hightower. But in some cases subtraction makes you better. The Tigers have the chance to play beautiful team basketball anchored around LaShondra Barrett and Katherine Graham. Their upperclassmen might be tired of losing to UConn.

- #88 – Ohio State 12/19/2010: If the Huskies have made it this far, they may be without a coach. Coach Auriemma will be losing his mind answering questions as to the “streak”. Ohio State enters as the constant under achievers in post season play. But this isn’t post season. This is for pride in a national televised game. Fiery guard Sammy Prahalis and Jantel Lavender lead a projected top -5 team into NYC to tangle on a neutral court. Things could get interesting if Ohio State can put some pressure on UConn’s inexperienced guards and establish Lavender on the blocks.

- #89 – Florida State 12/21/2010: No one is projecting that the Seminoles are going to have a repeat their year last year where they won the ACC. They return 2 starters and 7 returning players. In addition, they add a high school  McDonalds All-American in Natasha Howard. On any other day, the Huskies would run the ‘Noles right out of the building like they did in the Elite 8 last year, but this wouldn’t be any other day. The pressure to be perfect has the potential to boil over.

So we talked hiccups and pitfalls. They are too small --two slow --too young --too inexperienced. I remember the same exact things being said in 2003 about some “scrubs” led by someone named Diana Taurasi. I talked a lot about why UConn could lose these games. Now here is why they will win all of these games. I’ll say it now for everyone, “We have Maya and they don’t.”

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