On Tuesday night, the Connecticut Lady Huskies gave Geno Auriemma his 10th national championship by defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 63-53 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
It was UConn and Auriemma's third straight national championship. The program's Twitter account congratulated the squad:
Once the game was over, senior center Kiah Stokes talked about the accomplishment, via Jim Fuller of The New Haven Register:
Fuller also captured the Lady Huskies ceremoniously cutting down the nets after their triumph:
The Lady Huskies were paced by Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (15 points), Moriah Jefferson (15 points) and Breanna Stewart (eight points and 15 rebounds). Morgan Tuck didn't shoot the ball well, but she was a stat-sheet stuffer with 12 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
Notre Dame gave a valiant effort in defeat. It actually led 9-6 early in the first half and never fell behind by more than 13 points the entire game. While moral victories don't count for much at this stage of the season, hanging tough with the Huskies was an accomplishment in itself during the 2015 NCAA women's tournament.
UConn had beaten its five previous tournament foes by an average of 37.4 points. Staying within 10 was like losing on a last-second shot to this team. There really wasn't a definitive run in the game; the Huskies slowly but surely distanced themselves from the Irish but never totally pulled away.
It wasn't UConn's best performance, but it's a testament to its dominance that it could beat a quality team without its A-game.
Notre Dame got a double-double performance from Brianna Turner. She scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the contest. Notre Dame actually out-rebounded UConn 45-34, but the Huskies' smothering defense, which held the Irish to 33.3 percent shooting from the field, was a major factor.
Likewise, UConn made eight threes compared to just three for Notre Dame. If the Irish were to have any chance to win, they needed to be red hot from distance. That obviously didn't happen.
Perhaps the scariest part about the Huskies win is that the squad only consists of two seniors. Lewis and Stokes will move on to the WNBA, but a strong squad with four seniors will make the Huskies the major favorites for the 2016 NCAA crown.
UConn haters might have to sit through another celebration next season.