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5 things UConns 89 game win streak means

By Edited Jan 18, 2016 0 0

You could just see this argument coming from a mile away. You know the topic. The University of Connecticut women's basketball team just set a Division 1 basketball record by winning their 89th game in a row. That surpasses UCLA's men's team record of 88. Pass out the ammunition.

1. Women's basketball is just as "good" as men's basketball.

Well, this all depends on your definition of "good". If you mean as Uconn is as athletic UCLA was the answer to that is no. Uconn gets up and down the floor better than anyone that they play against. They consistently recruit and develop the best athletes available so they are a formidable opponent year in and year out. The list of All-Americans that have gone through Storrs, Connecticut reads like a who's who of women's college basketball. That is similar to a certain west coast program I know. The UCLA team that put together the 88 game streak boasted multiple All-American's and ran up and down the floor until opponents just withered. If those two teams played today (UCLA in their prime) I don't have any doubts which team would have the upper hand. It would be the one's in powder blue with UCLA on their chest.

2. Women's basketball is more "pure" basketball than men's is.

The art of the mid-range jump shot just doesn't exist anymore in the men's game. I also won't argue that a lot of guys can't shoot foul shots under penalty of execution. You would think that the shooting percentages would be higher for the women right? Last year Uconn shot .723% from the foul line and .511% from the field. Let's compare apples to apples. Duke, the men's champion last year connected on .759% of free throw attempts and had a field goal percentage of .442% . Uconn did shoot better from the field but as you can tell from the free throw percentages if you let Duke just stand there and shoot they will make you pay. Overall I'm going to declare this category a draw.

3. The difference is in better coaching.

John Wooden, in my opinion was the greatest coach ever. Not just in basketball, but in any sport. On a personal level, I don't think anyone could compete with him. From a professional standpoint however, Geno Auriemma is very comparable. Coach Wooden won 620 games and lost only 147. A daunting record to be sure. Coach Auriemma's teams have celebrated 735 times against just 122 losses. That is a phenomenal record. Even though overall the coaching on the men's side may be deeper, there is no shortage of basketball genius on the women's side. On statistical evidence my nod goes to Coach Auriemma.

4. The level of competition isn't as tough now as it used to be.

This simply isn't true. UCLA played against 18 ranked opponents during the 88 game win streak. That equates to a little over 20% of their games played were against top competition. Uconn during its streak has beaten 30 ranked opponents! 33% of the time someone with talent waiting to take their best shot at you. That's impressive no matter what sport you're talking about. Uconn benefits here from playing in a bigger, stronger conference with more teams ranked to begin with but that just made the hill bigger to climb.

5. Can we really compare men's and women's basketball?

No, especially when the streaks in question are nearly 40 years apart. The real question is should we compare them at all. The answer doesn't change though. To win that many games in a row takes more than talent, it takes dedication, passion, commitment, and a lot of things falling into place. UCLA and Uconn should both be honored and held up as models of where you want your program to be. Uconn, I applaud you for your accomplishment, and UCLA, I applaud you for leading the way.

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