Auriemma: Seniors were great
UConn Notebook: Irish stop another lengthy Husky streak
INDIANAPOLIS -- An incredible run came to an end Sunday night as Connecticut fell to Notre Dame in the Women’s Final Four, but the loss is not what head coach Geno Auriemma will remember about the completed careers of his two seniors.
“It’s never easy when you don’t win your last game because that’s the thing you remember going out on,” Auriemma said. “I know how difficult it is for Maya [Moore] and Lorin [Dixon].
“I reminded them in the locker room that the same thing happened when they were freshmen, but what happened in between is something that only the really, really fortunate can ever experience. What Maya and Lorin experienced in between is something that I will choose to focus on.”
Seniors Moore and Dixon compiled a 150-4 record, advanced to four consecutive Final Fours and won two NCAA titles during their time with the Huskies. Moore played in all 150 victories and is the most prolific winner in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history. Individually, Moore collected numerous accolades, highlighted by three Wade Trophies, a collection only Moore can boast.
“I’m going to think about the best player in the history in the Big East, and maybe the best student-athlete in the history of college basketball and I’m not going to let her be defined by what happened tonight,” Auriemma said.
“Like coach said, I’m going to have to choose to remember the great things and that I was fortunate enough to be a part of record-breaking seasons and games … it’s just tough but this is the current taste in my mouth right now,” Moore said.
Moore scored 36 points and grabbed eight rebounds against the Irish, including a second-half run highlighted by eight unanswered points to help the Huskies cut Notre Dame’s lead to 61-57 with 3:05 remaining in the contest.
“She's an amazing player,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “She single handedly tried to will them back into the game. On that stretch we were switching on screens, we tried a couple of different ideas. We couldn't stop her.”
Notre Dame may have not been able to stop Moore, but the Irish did shut down the rest of her teammates. Freshman point guard Bria Hartley was the only other Husky to score in double figures with 10 points, while UND limited UConn’s second-leading scorer Tiffany Hayes to just four points on the night.
“Notre Dame’s team was really involved in the game,” Auriemma said. “But for us, I think some of our players got caught up in the bigness of the game.
“One great player can’t beat a really good team … not this time of year.”
• UConn had gone 263 consecutive games without allowing an opponent to shoot over 50 percent from the field. Notre Dame finished the night shooting 51.9 percent.
• With eight rebounds tonight, Maya Moore moved into sole possession of the No. 2 spot on UConn’s all-time career rebounds list with 1,276, passing Rebecca Lobo (1,268).
• Moore’s 36 points is the third-most in a semifinal game and fourth-most in a national championship or semifinal game.
• UConn’s streak of 16 consecutive NCAA Tournament victories ended with the 72-63 loss to Notre Dame. The Huskies’ 12-game winning streak against the Irish was also stopped.