UConn Makes Record 12th Straight Women's Final Four in Win vs. Louisville

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2019

Connecticut players and Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, far right, celebrate with their trophy after winning the regional championship game in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. UConn defeated Louisville 80-73 to advance to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The Connecticut Huskies' steak of consecutive Final Four appearances is almost a teenager by now.

The second-seeded Huskies beat the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals 80-73 in the 2019 NCAA women's basketball tournament, thus punching their ticket to the national semifinals for the 12th year in a row.

Connecticut set the Division I record for most consecutive Final Fours in 2017-18, toppling a mark set by the UCLA Bruins during the John Wooden era.

"I don't think it's supposed to happen," UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said of the record, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "Not in today's world the way things change and teams keep getting better and better. It's not normal. It's something that's hard to describe because even if you're writing a book and making it up, people would say it doesn't happen in real life."

Sunday's win wasn't without some drama. Louisville went on a 10-1 run late in the fourth quarter to make it a two-point game, 75-73, inside the final 30 seconds. Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier each hit two free throws to create a little more distance on the Cardinals, and that proved to be enough for the Huskies.

Samuelson was the game's leading scorer (29 points), and Collier posted a double-double (12 points, 13 rebounds). They're looking to atone for the team's back-to-back semifinal exits.

Regardless of what UConn does in this year's Final Four, many will expect the Huskies to return in 2020. Samuelson and Collier are the only two seniors on the team.

Heading into this year, Auriemma had to replace three players who were first-round WNBA draft picks (Gabby Williams, Azura Stevens and Kia Nurse). Despite that, UConn is once again two games away from a 12th national title.

In Crystal Dangerfield, Megan Walker and Christyn Williams, Auriemma has three players who will be ready to take over for Samuelson and Collier when they move on to the next level.