by CAMILLE PANGGAT
The two-time defending national champions, Connecticut Huskies, lost 88-86 on Monday, November 17 in double overtime, ending their 47-game win streak. The 9-time national champions were defeated by the Stanford Cardinals at Maple Pavilion, and for the second time the Cardinals have ended a historical streak by the Huskies, the first being in 2010, ending a much longer 90-game win streak. With this loss, Stanford has taken over the Huskies’ #1 ranking national ranking, a spot that the Huskies have kept since April 2013. Connecticut is now down to #4 in the rankings behind Notre Dame and South Carolina.
Other than All-American and National Player of the Year, Brianna Stewart’s 23 points and Saniya Chong’s 20, the Huskies got very little help offensively. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, another All-American, struggled all night, not making a field goal until there was 9:40 left in the game. Mosqueda-Lewis, along with the rest of her team, were contained by Stanford’s defense. Coach Auriemma also admits that his guards were outplayed by Stanford on both ends of the floor and that his team needs to address the loss of his two first-round WNBA picks, Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson, to be able to support Stewart and take some pressure off of her.
Still, in spite of the tough loss, Coach Auriemma hopes to continue playing with the Cardinal, a task that could prove difficult as the two are in different conferences. Coach Auriemma says, “I’ve always had a lot of respect for Tara. It seems like there’s a lot of teams right now that are looking for reasons not to play us, and they’re always looking for a reason to stay in the game…” He goes on to say that, “These games are important for women’s basketball. I wish some of the other coaches in the country would understand that.”
Luckily for the defending champions, it is only November. There is still time for the team to grow, improve, and prepare for the latter part of the season and the all-important NCAA Tournament in March.