As the University of Connecticut takes the court in tonight's Big East semi-final game, everyone will be talking about "the streak". With a win over Notre Dame, Geno Auriemma's squad will have 71 consecutive victories. What will be a new women's college basketball record that will break UConn's own 70-game streak from 2001-2003. You cannot deny their greatness and sheer domination in the sport of women's basketball. I even had a recent debate about how many Division I men's teams this current UConn squad could beat. Personally, I think that number would be fairly impressive.
But today I want to share the love and give some pub to the only other undefeated women's team in the 2009-10 season - the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Nebraska is known for it's prowess on the football field, or even the baseball diamond, but never on the hard-court. This year is different. This year head coach Connie Yori has taken her team to unimaginable heights - perfection. The Huskers are batting 1.000, with a 29-0 regular season record, 16-0 in one of the toughest conferences in the land.
This undefeated record is even more impressive when you consider the conference as a whole on both the men's and women's side. You all know men's powerhouse Kansas and their lengthy legacy. Most have heard of the Oklahoma women's program led by Sherri Coale, who have twice made it to the Women's final for in the aughts, including a title game loss to Connecticut in 2002 or the Baylor Bears who took the crown in 2005. Yet, this marks the first time - ever - for a conference men's or women's program to have an undefeated regular season.
Some impressive statistics for the team: they're leading the conference in scoring offense, averaging 76.0 points per game hitting 45.3 percent of their field goals, their scoring margin is +14.9 points. This team truly plays as a team, averaging 13.6 assists per game and is also boasting the lowest assist-to-turnover ratio in the league (1.10).
Senior Kelsey Griffin, their on-court leader, is averaging 21.4 points per game which places her second behind Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley and a league-high 10.6 rebounds per game. What is remarkable about this is Griffin took a redshirt season last year due to injury that required two surgeries with the last being in June 2009. She didn't even return to playing full-court basketball until September.
Not only is Griffin's comeback remarkable, but as is the team's. In 2008-09, Nebraska finished with a 15-16 overall, 6-10 Big 12 record which was only good for 9th in the conference. The preseason polls (not that I believe them anyway) had Nebraska in the 39th spot in the AP and unmentioned in the USAToday/Coaches poll. Quite a far cry from the current 3rd-place spot in both.
OK - everyone can go back to marvelling at Connecticut, as it is well deserved. Just don't forget that there is another school playing to perfection too this year.