Op-Ed: UConn women keep winning without spotlight

Any college basketball team that reaches 11 straight Final Fours is obviously going to be plastered all over every news site, right?

That’d be the case if the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team was the opposite gender.

UConn just surpassed John Wooden’s UCLA dynasty’s record for consecutive Final Four appearances. The same UCLA dynasty that had the famous 88-game winning streak. That’s clearly impressive, but, I mean, Geno Auriemma has coached UConn during a 90-game win streak and a 111-game win streak. And the 111-game streak was only snapped by a two-point overtime loss to Mississippi State in last year’s Final Four.

If Duke, Kansas, North Carolina or Syracuse had won 111 games in a row, we’d never hear the end of it. Their game results would have led every Sportscenter broadcast.

But since UConn’s accomplishments were made by women, they get honorable mentions stuffed in between random NBA games and meaningless MLB offseason news. Ironically, the biggest story that came from UConn’s 111-game streak is the game that ended it.

This season UConn is an average 36-0 and only defeated defending champion and 2-seed South Carolina in the Elite Eight by 29 points. They already beat their Final Four opponent, Notre Dame, in December by nine points — a mediocre margin by their standards.

UConn has won 11 national titles since 1995. The team has produced many WNBA stars such as Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart. What Geno Auriemma and the UConn women have accomplished is basically doubly as impressive as anything Mike Krzyzewski has done with Duke. If UConn’s stats were compared the stats of the greatest men’s teams without names or titles, everyone would look at UConn’s resume as the superior one.

It’s impossible to escape Warriors coverage, Patriots praise or Yankees hype. Every American sports dynasty is placed on a pedestal, equipped with constant reminders about their achievements.

There’s only one reason that UConn’s nearly two-decade long dynasty isn’t treated the same, and it has nothing to do with their performance on the court.