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UConn routs Notre Dame, 79-58, wins ninth title

Auriemma Emotional After Win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Geno Auriemma and Connecticut stand alone in women's college basketball, and they reached the top in unprecedented fashion.

The Huskies routed Notre Dame 79-58 Tuesday night in the first championship game featuring undefeated teams, winning their record ninth national title. Auriemma broke a tie with Pat Summitt and Tennessee for most all-time, doing it in her backyard.

Breanna Stewart, who was the AP's player of the year, scored 21 points to lead the Huskies (40-0) while Stefanie Dolson added 17 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists. Auriemma took out his senior center with a minute left and the pair embraced in a long hug.

The victory also means that UConn is now the center of the college basketball world with both the men's and women's teams winning the championship in the same year again. The men's team beat Kentucky in the title game Monday night. This pair of victories come a decade after the Huskies became the only school to accomplish the feat.

While the names change at UConn, from Rebecca Lobo to Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore and now Stewart, Auriemma has been the constant, winning nine titles in only 20 seasons - including the last two. He's never lost in a national championship game.

"Congratulations to the UConn Huskies for winning the 2014 NCAA National Championship!," Summitt said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. "My compliments also to coach Geno Auriemma for winning his ninth national title. He has accomplished this feat in record time."

It was the fifth unbeaten season for Auriemma and UConn and the first time the Huskies went 40-0 - matching Baylor as the only schools to accomplish that feat. The victory was also Connecticut's 46th straight dating back to last season's NCAA tournament title run. It's the third longest streak in school history - well short of the NCAA record 90 straight they won.

The loss was Notre Dame's third in the title game in the past four years. Kayla McBride finished off her stellar career with 21 points to lead the Irish, who were looking for their first championship since 2001.

After proving to be no challenge for the Huskies during the first 15 years of the rivalry which began in 1995, Notre Dame had owned the series lately, winning seven of the previous nine meetings. UConn though has won the last two, eliminating Notre Dame in the Final Four last season before topping them in the championship game this year.

The two former Big East rivals, who have no love lost for each other, put on a show in a game that women's basketball hoped could transcend the sport. The coaches added to the drama of the game with their verbal sparring on Monday. But it was Auriemma who got the last word again.

Even with the loss, it was a record-setting season for the Irish.

Notre Dame lost Skylar Diggins to graduation and changed conferences to the ACC. Neither mattered as they ran through their opponents, winning by an average of 25.6 points while taking both the conference regular season and tournament championships.

The Irish lost senior Natalie Achonwa to a torn ACL in the regional final win over Baylor. Notre Dame wore warmup shirts with Achonwa's nickname "Ace" below her No. 11.

The team played inspired basketball in the Final Four win over Maryland, outrebounding the Terps by a record margin. The Irish couldn't muster a similar effort against UConn and it's gigantic front line. Stewart, Stefanie Dolson and Kiah Stokes dominated the interior. The Huskies outrebounded the Irish 54-31 and held them to a season-low in points.

After the teams traded shots early on, Stewart fueled a 16-0 run as the Huskies, who have played stellar defense all season, held the Irish without a point for nearly five minutes. Stewart's lay-in with 11:02 left made it 22-8.

A minute later, Dolson had an acrobatic tip to Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis for another layup.

The Irish stayed in the first half by hot 3-point shooting by Michaela Mabrey and Jewell Loyd. Trailing 37-25 with 4:09 left in the first half, the pair sparked a 13-6 run, hitting three 3-pointers which brought the Irish faithful to their feet.

UConn led 45-38 at the half, shooting 57 percent from the field and having 16 assists on their 21 baskets.

The Huskies closed the door on any Irish comeback scoring 18 of the first 22 points in the second half to put the game away. Stewart and Dolson had 10 points during the burst.

Join the discussion

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nbibba April 09 2014 at 8:01 AM

Way to go Huskies. You put the best of the best on the floor. While Brianna seems to be the focus of the news writers, the entire team played beautiful basketball. Their unselfishness is shown by their desire to win as a team and not as an individual player by making the plays that would end up with a basket. The jibes by Muffet towards Geno were uncalled for as he has always been a gentleman. The desire by women who want to play basketball at the highest level all want to go to UConn because of him. He brings the best out of all the players and their desire to win because of him shows with the caliber of play that they have shown.
Never was a real basketball fan or viewer before but UConn has brought me to the point that I watch them every chance I get.

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1 reply
Joan nbibba April 09 2014 at 8:25 AM

In a way, payback can be very sweet for Muffet. She should have kept her mouth closed instead of coming across as a whiner. Maybe she would want some cheese with that whine. Agree, Geno has always been a gentleman, throughout his long career here in Connecticut.

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Ocala April 09 2014 at 9:33 AM

The coach was emotional after the win! Umm Where is the outrage here?

Kidding, Congratulations UCONN. The old Conn Agriculture College has come a long way.
Including a Big East run. Great job ladies!

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Tom April 09 2014 at 9:26 AM

UCONN.................UCONN....................UCONN !!!

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wboozer@mail.com April 09 2014 at 4:25 AM

I'm also from a small state (Oregon), and it does my heart better than any statin can to see little states whip the tar out of the biggies in anything! Congratulations to UCONN, both the men and women for dominating College basketball!

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qmcsm004 April 09 2014 at 5:12 AM

You go UCONN....bring to all back to the Northeast.

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2 replies
Rick qmcsm004 April 09 2014 at 5:40 AM

ghetto game

Flag Reply +1 rate up
firestallionfox qmcsm004 April 09 2014 at 6:19 AM

Yeah, do you people in the NE play football? Does Uconn even have a football team, I have never heard of them!

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2 replies
jdsept firestallionfox April 09 2014 at 7:36 AM

YOU obviously missed the UConn football team when they beat Notre Dame. They also did bowl games 4 straight years, one being a BCS bowl. Granted, the last few years they did poorly, but did play Michigan last year. And up till the disintegration of the Big East UConn played Louisville, Boston College, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Pittsburgh on a regular basis, all teams who have done bowl games and spent some time in the top 10 rankings. Ever hear of of Boston College who has played big time football for awhile? Doug Flutie ring a bell? Obviously YOU follow sports very little. How about sticking to the gardening or cooking blogs?

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The Great One firestallionfox April 09 2014 at 8:33 AM

If by the NE, you mean New York, New Jersey, Eastern Penn, & the New England states High School & College Football are not real big spectator sports. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, & Rhode Island all have very small populations. In Mass., Conn., New York, New Jersey, and Eastern Penn. the pro sports dominate the spending of the sports dollars. A second factor is the sheer number of colleges in this region- splitting the $$$ even more. There a probably more colleges in the Boston metro area than in Alabama & Georgia Combined.
Football is big in SEC, Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Big Ten, Pac 10(12 or whatever they are) because these areas had very few in any pro teams. The south had none until the Miami Dolphins & Atlanta Braves, New Orleans Saints. Texas - Cowboys, Oilers, Rangers. Midwest: Chicago, St. Louis & Detroit all have pro teams but also large populations - the rest of the Big Ten covers large pre-dominantly farming areas with no pro teams. etc.

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sinnedcon April 09 2014 at 9:19 AM

The UCONN women have been sensational in these past few years, and Geno is the reason behind it all...Great Coach that sees thing in the Girls he picks for his team. Go UCONN......
only School to have both men and women win the title twice oh, even once was great.....

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a.ea1 April 09 2014 at 6:05 AM

GO U CCONN...........

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Dude! April 09 2014 at 9:12 AM

Congrats Huskies!!!!!

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runeagle April 09 2014 at 9:11 AM

Congratulations to the UCONN Huskies!! I'm going to miss senior Stefanie Dolson's happy go lucky personality and smile!!

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jimcat40 April 09 2014 at 6:31 AM

The college basketball center of the country is not New York or Boston, nor is it Duke, Kansas, or UCLA. At lesst for a little while it is Storrs Connecticut home of the UCONN Huskies. And stop hating on Woman's Basketball.

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