I would like to think I was there when it started.
I saw the building block upon which the greatest women’s (or men’s for that matter) basketball program was built on, play in front of me. Let me take you back to the 1988/89 women’s hoop season. I had driven with my colleagues from WDOM, the college radio station at Providence College, through twisty , winding, back roads to something called Storrs, Connecticut. It happens to be home to the University of Connecticut, and quite frankly, its campus at the time was underwhelming. I was the Matt Loughlin of the Lady Friars of PC (play-by-play announcer), and we had a big showdown with the Huskies on tap.
Now I did not know much about women’s basketball when I started, but I quickly found out that we were pretty darn good. Our games were competitive and compelling, especially those against Connecticut. Geno Auriemma was entering his 4th season on the sidelines there, having records of 12-15, 14-13, and 17-11 over his first 3 campaigns. What was clear from courtside was that his team played hard and smart. They had an edge to them, and they had Kerry Bascomb.
Photo: Robert W Stowell Jr, Getty Images
The New Hampshire native is the ground zero recruit for Auriemma and UConn. She was the first real star to choose Storrs as her destination to play basketball, and she opened eyes and the recruiting floodgates. Bascomb, as I recall, was a tough competitor. She could do everything on the floor, from bringing the ball up, to rebounding, defending, and most importantly scoring. Bascomb became the first Lady Husky All-American, and she lead the university to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance, tournament win, and Final Four berth. She finished her career with 2,177 points, a school record until 1998, and still ranks in the top 10 in 12 statistical categories at Connecticut. Are you getting the picture here? While Geno’s team was clearly not who they are now, they were just scratching the surface. They beat us in a down to the wire game that day. Both programs would make the NCAA’s that season. It was UConn’s first time, and they haven’t missed a dance since (28 straight years)!
On Monday night, the Connecticut women’s basketball team won its 100th consecutive game. Of those 100, 59 have been decided by more than 40 points, and only 2 were fewer than 10-point wins! The date was November 17, 2014, when UConn last lost a game. They had a measly 47 game winning streak snapped that day (in overtime 88-86), by Stanford in Palo Alto. These Huskies show no sign of slowing down. Victim #101 is Tulane on Saturday in New Orleans. Sorry Green Wave fans but U-Can’t beat UConn. I wonder if Kerry Bascomb ever gets back up to Storrs to see what she jump started all those years ago?
And that is My 2 Sense.