While the first two days of the Nike Tournament of Champions had plenty of talent on display, many of the games in the early going have been lopsided and rather uncompetitive. But while this years Tournament of Championships may have lacked some of the great early-round games that have typified the NCAA Tournament in recent years, Tuesday night's semifinals did not disappoint, as high school players, coaches, college coaches, and fans and families packed into Hamilton High School to witness the best night of girls' high school basketball so far this year. If there were any doubt about the state of the game, the naysayers were silenced on Tuesday night with two epic semifinal battles between some of the top female ballers in the country in the event's elite Joe Smith Division.
If you are under 50 years old, you need to shut up now about the alleged superiority of the mens game.
Before a sold-out crowd of 16,294 in Hartford's XL Center, the University of Connecticut womens basketball team proved itself to be the best Division I college basketball team in history Tuesday night, as they handily won their eighty-ninth consecutive game.* Behind a career-high 41 points, plus 10 boards, from two-time National Player of the Year Maya Moore, and another 22 points from freshman point prodigy Bria Hartley, the Huskies broke the seemingly untouchable record set 36 years ago by the UCLA men's team.
The UCLA Bruins mens team won eighty-eight in a row from 1971 to 74. Eighty-nine is more than eighty-eight. That simple math is all one needs to know to conclude that these UConn women are among the most dominant sports teams in history. But really, who cares whether they are better than the UCLA team who used to hold the consecutive game record? Connecticut doesnt care.
I dont want to compare anything to anything, UConn Coach Geno Auriemma said after his teams 93-62 victory over last week's Full Court Press No. 15 team, Florida State. What John Wooden and his team did will never, ever, be repeated. Im not John Wooden, and this team isnt UCLA. This is Connecticut, and thats good enough.
That is the right perspective on the media- and misogynist-driven denials and comparisons pitting UConns greatness against UCLAs legendary might. It isnt a question of womens or mens basketball. Each team dominated its sport in its time. Each holds a record unlikely to be equaled. But claims that UConns record is somehow less than UCLAs are driven either by ignorance of NCAA history, or by an insecurity fostered by the thought that women broke a mens record.