Dynasty – Ten Titles

For the past three weeks or so, I’ve been holed up trying to edit more than 20 years of photographs of the UConn women’s basketball team for a book on the 10 NCAA Championships they’ve won. A daunting task in many ways since we were limited to about 10-12 pages per chapter. Daunting, too, given the reality of how technology has changed from their first victory against Tennessee in 1995, when our photographers were still shooting film, to this year when Cloe Poisson and Michael McAndrews covered them during each round digitally shooting both stills and video to try to satisfy the enormous appetite of our readers online, in print and through social media.

My how times have changed.

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Minneapolis, MN 4.2.1995 UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma has enjoyed the ride that led to his first national championship. His players hoist him perfectly on their shoulders and carry him off the court. Photo by Brad Clift / The Hartford Courant

To view more photos and history of the UConn women’s basketball team click the View More link:

Passages from the Hartford Courant’s book,“Dynasty: UConn Women’s Ten-Title Season”, were used in each chapter here were written by John Altavilla, Hartford Courant UConn women’s basketball beat reporter.

To purchase the book go to this pre-order page:

One of the first challenges we faced was finding images from the 1995 season. We published our first book that year but finding the images, which were shot on film, in our archive system was problematic to say the least. All the negatives that were stored in our photo studio at the Courant were moved to one of our warehouse facilities, unfortunately the boxes containing these photos were not to be found. Part of the problem is that most of the staff that were a part of that season and project are no longer employed here and the chain of custody of the images was scattered between locations. I’m sure the photos are somewhere, we’re just not sure where. That limited our choice of images for the first chapter to images we were able to find in or digital archive system called Merlin. We had to have an outside vendor scan the negatives we did find of some behind the scene situations since we don’t have equipment to do that anymore.

 

 

Chapter One – The Start Of Something Big

Ten years into a job he originally figured wouldn’t last more than four, Geno Auriemma approached the 1994-95 season knowing that the window of opportunity to win his first national championship — the window he had stared through since losing to Virginia in the 1991 national semifinals — was closing fast.

UConn Women's national championship victory

Storrs, CT 11.5.1994 Pam Webber and Rebecca Lobo share a dorm room at the University of Connecticut and are teammates on the basketball team. Photo by Shana Sureck / The Hartford Courant

We did find some negatives that gave a behind the scenes look at student athletes.

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Philadelphia, PA 2.27.95 Jennifer Rizzotti chases a loose ball against Villanova’s Sue Glenning in the second half. Rizzotti scored her 1,000th point in the game, their final regular season game. The UConn women are undefeated. Photo by Stephen Dunn / The Hartford Courant

Images like this one of Jennifer Rizzotti wearing her trademark knee pads inspired many young ladies to take up the game of basketball.

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Storrs, CT 1.6.1995 UConn star Rebecca Lobo anticipates a No. 1 ranking for the first time in the team’s history. No. 2 UConn defeated the No. 1-ranked Volunteers 77-66, despite losing Lobo with about five minutes left to play when she fouled out of the University of Connecticut-Tennessee basketball game at Gampel Pavilion, Storrs. Photo by Albert Dickson / The Hartford Courant.

 

UConn Women's national championship victory

Storrs, CT 4.2.1995 Fans cheer of the UConn women as they win their first national championship against Tennessee. Photo by Richard Messina / The Hartford Courant

 

UConn Women's national championship victory

Hartford, CT 4.29.1995 Fans line the streets of Hartford celebrate with Jamelle Elliott and the UConn women’s basketball team after winning their first national championship. Photo by Shana Sureck / The Hartford Courant

 

One of the things I really enjoyed was seeing the public’s access to the athletes, which gets more difficult each year. When the parade was held in 1995 the players were seated in convertibles and fans were allowed to get fairly close to them along the parade route. Now the standard mode of transportation is the double decker bus. In today’s world of a controlled environment and security concerns for the athletes I guess I just long for a bygone era that is reflected in the two decades of coverage.

 

 

Chapter Two – Dominance Begins

The era from 1996-1999 was a comparative dark age for a program that would eventually become the brand name of its sport.

After losing in the national semifinals to Tennessee in 1996, the Huskies spent the next three seasons faltering in big spots, twice in the Elite Eight and then in the Sweet 16.

So before the 1999-2000 season began, coach Geno Auriemma and his players needed to take a deep breath.

 

UCONN WOMEN SCHUMACHER BLOCK

Philadelphia, PA. 4.2.00 — Kelly Schumacher blocks a shot by Tamika Catchings in the first half as Svetlana Abrosimova, left, and Tamika Williams, right, look on. The University of Connecticut and Tennessee faced off at the First Union Center in Philadelphia Sunday night to battle for the 2000 NCAA Women’s National Basketball Championship. Photo by Michael McAndrews / The Hartford Courant

 

“In the 2000 title game, it was Kelly Schumacher, who best justified the confidence her coach showed in her. She blocked nine shots. She set an aggressive offensive tone from the start.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said after the 71-52 defeat, “The blocked shots definitely broke our spirit.” John Altavilla / The Hartford Courant

UCONN WOMEN RALPH

Hartford, CT 11.24.99 Shea Ralph celebrates after UConn defeated the University of Kentucky 68-62 at the Hartford Civic Center in the second game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge. UConn advances to play Old Dominion University. Photo by Michael McAndrews / The Hartford Courant

 

Among the numerous players who embodied the UConn toughness that Geno Auriemma recruited, Shea Ralph stands out as one of the toughest for her ability to overcome season-ending knee injuries. She  now is one of his trusted assistant coaches.

UCONN VS TENN

Philadelphia, PA. 4.2.00 Geno Auriemma succumbs to the joy of winning his second national championship in his hometown of Philadelphia against Pat Summitt and Tennessee 71 to 52 at the First Union Center in Philadelphia Sunday night. Photo by Michael McAndrews / The Hartford Courant

 

 

 

Chapter Three – The Stars Come Out

There never was a barometer” for greatness, Vanderbilt coach Jim Foster said. “Now there is: The WNBA. UConn is playing with five first-round draft choices. I don’t think there’s ever been a men’s or women’s team that can make that statement.”

One week later, Bird (1), Cash (2), Jones (4) and Williams (6) were gobbled up by WNBA teams in the first round, leaving Taurasi behind to make more history.

She soon would.

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A 4×5 field camera to capture this timeless portrait of Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Williams who made up one of the Huskies best starting five. Photo by Jay L. Clendenin / The Hartford Courant

 

 

WILLIAMS OVERHEAD

Milwaukee, WI 3.23.02 Tamika Willaims works to keep the offense drive alive against Penn State’s Jacquelynn Shook during first half action of UConn’s 82-64 win over Penn State in the Mideast Regional at U.S. Cellular Arena. Photo by Jay L. Clendenin / The Hartford Courant

Jay L. Clendenin used a camera mounted over the basket and triggered it remotely from one of his camera bodies courtside.

MOORE TAURASI

Storrs, CT 11.30.01 UConn’s Jessica Moore hugs Diana Taurasi after Taurasi fouled under Ball State’s basket in the 1st half. The University of Connecticut Women play Ball State at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. Photo Michael McAndrews / The Hartford Courant

Taurasi’s leadership and intensity would help propel UConn to their first three-peat.

 

 

Chapter 4 – New Cast, Worthy Encore

At UConn, the dread of its fan base was palpable when four of its greatest players graduated simultaneously following the 2002 national championship. Doubt reverberated like a cellphone shrilling in a quiet chapel: “How could life possibly go on without Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones and Tamika Williams to lead us?”

But that summer of 2002 likely was when the fundamental nature of what UConn had become kicked in. This program was no longer a one- or two-year wonder. The Huskies were being built to last through an ever-expanding geographical recruiting base that began with Shea Ralph (North Carolina), Stacy Hansmeyer (Oklahoma) and Paige Sauer (Nevada) in the late 1990s.

1 UCONN SUPERSHOW

Storrs, CT 10.26.02 UConn freshman Ann Strother is all smiles as she emerges from the smoke and pyro-technics as she is introduced to the crowd in Gampel Pavilion during the UConn Women’s Basketball Supershow Saturday. Photo by Stephen Dunn / The Hartford Courant

 

Strother was one of three freshman All-Americans added to bolster the roster that included Diana Taurasi.

UCONN TENN CHARGE

Atlanta, GA 4.8.2003 Willnett Crockett reacts after drawing a charge on Brittany Jackson late in the UConn women’s national championship game against Tennessee at the Georgia Dome. Crockett scored only three points but grabbed six rebounds and played a big game on defense as UConn went on to win 73-68. Photo by Bob MacDonnell / The Hartford Courant

 

UCONN TENN CELEBRATE

Atlanta, GA 4.8.2003 Diana Taurasi and Ashley Battle celebrate as the UConn women win the national championship game against Tennessee, 73-68 at the Georgia Dome. (DIGITAL) Bob MacDonnell / The Hartford Courant

 

The following year Taurasi punted the ball into the rafters after…well, you’ll have to read Chapter 5…

 

 

Chapter Five – Dynamo

From the moment Geno Auriemma first saw Diana Taurasi on a basketball court, it was clear this charismatic dynamo defied simple description.

Half-Italian, half-Argentine, the kid from Chino, Calif., was a chemical reaction, talent bubbling over the top of the beaker. But it wasn’t just her ability, although it’s not every day that a kid scores 3,047 points in high school. It was her attitude: confident, spontaneous, fearless. Not only was she a step ahead of the field, she also was a one-liner ahead.

Taurasi could have gone to UCLA to play close to home. But enamored by Auriemma’s straight talk — she hated having smoke blown up her ass — she chose UConn, embracing the enormous challenges he placed at her feet over the comfort and safety of a more familiar future.

“I probably wouldn’t get a ring somewhere else,” Taurasi said. “Anyone who is a player and loves basketball wants to win. And to win a national championship, that’s worth more than any points that you can score.

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New Orleans, LA 4.4.04 Diana Taurasi reacts at a 1st half timeout as UConn started a run. The University of Connecticut women play the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the National Semifinals at New Orleans Arena. Photo by Michael McAndrews / The Hartford Courant Ashley Battle is on the right

 

Diana Taurasi reacts at a 1st half timeout with Ashley Battle as UConn started a run against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the National Semifinals at New Orleans Arena.

UCONN

Philadelphia, PA. 2.28.04 Liad Suez (L) of Villanova and Barbara Turner (R) battle for a looseball during the second half Saturday night at The Pavilion. Suez scored 23 points to lead the Wildcats to a 59-56 upset of #1 UConn while Turner lead all scorers with 25 points. The UConn women played Villanova at The Pavillion on campus. Photo by John Woike / The Hartford Courant

 

2003-04, the last lap for Taurasi, Maria Conlon and Morgan Valley, did not go as smoothly as the year before.

On Feb. 28, the Huskies lost to Villanova, the team that had ended their 70-game winning streak the season before in the Big East Tournament championship game. This time Israeli guard Liad Suez, who scored 21 of her 23 points in the second half, scored four in the final minute to seal a 59-56 win, spoiling the day Taurasi became the fifth UConn player to reach 2,000 points. Barbara Turner tries to rip the ball from Suez’s grip as they battle for control during the second half.

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New Orleans, LA 4.6.04 Pat Summitt and the Tennessee bench can’t bear to watch after her team committed a turnover in the first half of the Women’s NCAA Championship game between UConn and Tennessee at the New Orleans Arena. Summitt may have been thinking she’d seen the scene before, as UConn held off Tennessee 70-61 for their third consecutive title. Photo by Bob MacDonnell / The Hartford Courant

 

Diana Taurasi scored 17 points in 37 minutes in a 70-61 victory against Pat Summitt and Tennessee, taking the women to their third straight national championship. It was the last time the two powerhouses would face one another for a national championship and on June 8, 2007, it was announced the schools would discontinue their regular-season series.

 

 

Chapter Six – Return To Splendor

By the time Diana Taurasi got to Phoenix and the WNBA in the spring of 2004, aficionados of women’s basketball, not to mention White House date-planners, had come to expect certain things from UConn.

From 1995 to 2004, the Huskies played in seven Final Fours and won each of the five national championship games they played, including three in a row from 2002 to 2004. To some this constituted a trend, to others the birth of the sport’s new monarchy.

HC Bench reacts

Hartford, CT 03.10.09 (L to R) UConn’s Tiffany Hayes, Tina Charles and Maya Moore react to a teammate’s shot in the final seconds of the Big East final against Louisvile at the XL Center. UConn won, 75-36. Photo by Cloe Poisson / The Hartford Courant

Tiffany Hayes, Tina Charles and Maya Moore (l-r) react to a teammate’s shot in the final seconds of the Big East final against Louisville at the XL Center, UConn won 75-36.

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Chapel Hill, NC 1.19.09 The North Carolina student body came out with a message for the #1 ranked UConn Huskies, too bad the lady Tar Heels couldn’t back it up with a 86-56 Huskies victory. A record crowd of 12,722 were on hand to see the top two teams in the nation go toe to toe. The #1 ranked UConn women’s basketball team played the #2 ranked University of North Carolina Monday night at the Dean Center in Chapel Hill, NC. Photo by JOHN WOIKE / The Hartford Courant

When #1 UConn pulled into Chapel Hill the to play #2 North Carolina, Tar Heel student section had a message for the Huskies “YoUConNotWin” but…

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Chapel Hill, NC 1.19.09 Renee Montgomery of UConn finds a sliver of space between Cetera DeGraffanreid (L) and Heather Clayton (R) of North Carolina during the second half. Montgomery lead all scorers with 21 points. Photo by JOHN WOIKE / The Hartford Courant

…Renee Montgomery and the Huskies took care of business in a crushing 86-56 victory at Chapel Hill.

I used a remote camera on the basket stanchion to capture the atmosphere at the Dean Center in Chapel Hill, NC.

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St. Louis, MO. 4.7.2009 Geno Auriemma celebrates after cutting the net in the National Championship game after sefeating Louisville at the Scottrade Center. Michael McAndrews / The Hartford Courant

UConn completed the regular season 30-0 and cruised to a Big East Tournament title with a resounding 39-point win over upstart Louisville and Angel McCoughtry, the Big East player of the year in 2007. When Moore left the game with less than nine minutes to play, she had 28 points, the Cardinals just 27.

The NCAA Tournament simply was a coronation — a reaffirmation, really — featuring six lopsided wins that concluded with a 76-54 win over Louisville.

The drought was over. The Huskies completed their third undefeated championship season — the fifth in women’s basketball history. Moore would be national player of the year, Charles and Montgomery joining her as All-Americans.

“Now we can breathe,” said Montgomery.

 

 

Chapter 7 – Perfection Yet Again

Unbeaten in 1995. Unbeaten in 2002. Unbeaten in 2009.

“It doesn’t matter what the score is,” Auriemma once said. “My players are always under the impression that they are going to win. I’ve seen teams that accept losing say, ‘It’s not our day today; we’ll get it tomorrow.’ Well, my guys refuse to accept that. They will not accept it.”

If there is a level beyond perfection, UConn’s intention was to stamp its logo on it in 2009-10, following the 39-0 perfection of 2008-09, when the Huskies won every game by at least 10 points, the only team in NCAA history to do so.

HC UConn Stanford Greene saves

Hartford, CT 12.23.2009 UConn’s Kalana Greene tosses a loose ball to a teammate after battling for possession with Stanford’s Kayla Pedersen (left, top) and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (right) at the XL Center during the second half. UConn beat Stanford, 80-68. Cloe Poisson / The Hartford Courant

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San Antonio, TX 04.04.10 From left, UConn’s Caroline Doty gives Maya Moore a hug while Tiffany Hayes gets some love from Associate Head Coach Chris Dailey after the Huskies defeated Baylor 70-50 in the national semifinals at the Final Four at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas Sunday. The Huskies will take on Stanford Tuesday for the national championship. Moore was the lead scorer of the game with 34 points. Bettina Hansen / The Hartford Courant

There is a lot of love between players and coaches which is just one reason for the success of the Huskies.

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San Antonio, TX 04.06.2010 Associate Head Coach Chris Dailey gives a hug to a teary-eyed Tina Charles after their win over Stanford at the Final Four in the Alamodome in San Antonio for the national women’s basketball championship. Bettina Hansen / The Hartford Courant

The Huskies had their seventh national championship. They had a winning streak of 78. They had the Associated Press player of the year and Wooden Award winner (Charles) and the Wade Trophy winner (Moore).

But more than anything, they had surpassed their own system of measure, one that all teams that follow likely will be hard-pressed to emulate.

How can anybody be better than perfect times two?

 

 

Chapter Eight – Know Thy Enemy

In the summer of 2007, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, angered about recruiting tactics that led Maya Moore to UConn, abruptly ended the illustrious series that had provided the sport its most spirited rivalry and its growth chart since 1995.

Summitt’s departure left the stage open for a new central character to star in the drama. Was there another perceived villainess willing to joust with Geno Auriemma, the game’s Prince Valiant?

UConn women v. Notre Dame in NCAA Championship game

In ruby red stiletto heels and leather pencil skirt, Muffet McGraw brought high fashion to the runway of women’s college basketball long before the 2012-13 season. But as trailblazing as she was, it wasn’t her sense of couture that diverted attention from UConn as much as her plucky program at Notre Dame. Photo by John Woike / The Hartford Courant

It turns out, there was. The Fighting Irish had enhanced their national recruiting and closed the gap that separated UConn from other schools even before that second consecutive unbeaten national championship in 2010.

“We keep talking about the Fighting Irish. We are the Fighting Irish. Let’s give it a go,” McGraw said.

UConn vs Baylor WBB

Hartford, CT 02.18.13 After being held to just 4 points in the first half Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (42) turned it on to finish with 25 points against Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (23) and Stefanie Dolson of Connecticut (31) in the second half to lead Baylor to a 76-70 victory at the XL Center Monday night. Mosqueda-Lewis led all scorers 26 points and 15 rebounds. Photo by John Woike | woike@courant.com

UConn plays notre dame at 8:30, but also get some pix of the first game between Cal and Louisville for Monday coverage assuming UCon

New Orleans, LA 04.07.2013 Connecticut Huskies forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and the rest of the UConn bench go wild after UConn pulled away from Notre Dame late in the second half of their semi-final game at the NCAA women’s Final Four in New Orleans. Cloe Poisson / The Hartford Courant

uconn vs. louisville for national title game... Please make sure to get pix afterward if the team poses together. Last game for Fari

New Orleans, LA 04.09.13 Connecticut Huskies guard Kelly Faris (34) runs into Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma’s open arms as she leaves the final game of her UConn career as the clock ticks down on their NCAA Division I women’s championship win over Louisville at the New Orleans Arena Tuesday. UConn won, 93-60. Cloe Poisson / The Hartford Courant

 

 

Chapter Nine – American Experience

By 2013, you watched “Bonanza” reruns on a phone and college football bowl games on a flat-screen TV. And then everything changed. The cash and influence from football shook up UConn’s world.

Some schools in the Big East, including UConn, decided money and football mattered more than basketball and left for other conferences. Geno Auriemma found his program in the American Athletic Conference at the start of 2013-14 season.

aac championship; mulitple pix of game and the postgame festivities and the trophy presentation.

Uncasville, CT 03.10.2014 UConn Huskies forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis ducks under the AAC Championship trophy for a team photo after UConn defeated Louisville, 72-52, to win the inaugural championship at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Photo by Cloe Poisson / The Hartford Courant

UConn women game. Photo request put in a couple weeks before the game, so please check news reports and altavilla's blog for issues,

Piscataway, NJ 01.19.2014 UConn Huskies guard Moriah Jefferson dishes the ball to UConn Huskies guard Bria Hartley (off camera) around Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Briyona Canty in the second half at the Rutgers Athletic Center Sunday. UConn won, 94-64. Photo by Cloe Poisson / The Hartford Courant

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Nashville, TN 04.04.2014 (L to R) Breanna Stewart, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lweis and Stefanie Dolson do a “selfie” while mugging it up for the camera during an ESPN promo video Friday afternoon at the Bridgestone Arean as they prepare for the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Nashville, TN. Photo by JOHN WOIKE / The Hartford Courant

I was able to quietly slip into the interview room where ESPN was doing some pre-game promotions with players which allowed me to catch these three letting their personalities shine through. Moments like these are very hard to gain access to but with a little luck and persuasion of the right people you can get some great images behind the scenes.

UConn vs Notre Dame

Nashville, TN 4.8.2014 UConn Huskies center Stefanie Dolson reacts to a play in the second half as Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Jewell Loyd watches in the second half of the 2014 National Championship Tuesday night at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by John Woike / The Hartford Courant

But when it came to the championship game against Notre Dame Stefanie Dolson and the UConn Huskies had their “game face” on as they rolled to a 79-58 victory.

phots from parade and rally for uconn men and women winning national titles in basketball

Hartford, CT 04.13.2014 Bria Hartley of the NCAAChampionship UConn basketball team holds the trophy as she rides with her team atop a double decker bus Sunday during the Dual UConn NCAA championship parade. Behind them are the NCAA championship men’s basketball team on their bus. Hundreds of thousands of UConn fans streamed into the city to catch a glimpse of their favorite teams. Photo by STEPHEN DUNN / The Hartford Courant

 

 

Chapter Ten – Sustained Greatness

By the time John Thurston brought St. Francis Brooklyn to Gampel Pavilion in March 2015 to play its first-ever NCAA Tournament game, the silver-haired man with a distinctive New York lilt was well into his fifth decade coaching men’s and women’s basketball.

“The only thing I can compare UConn to in the time I have been around is UCLA. I haven’t seen anything else quite like it in my experience — the sustained excellence. I don’t know if it can ever be duplicated. It’s astonishing to see, sitting where I am.”

uconn and notre dame for national title. pix of Geno and Muffit for sure; last game for KML and Stokes; As many pix as possible for

Tampa, FL 04.07.2015 UConn guard Moriah Jefferson shoots while defended by Notre Dame guard Lindsay Allen in the second half of the NCAA Championship game at the Amalie Arena Tuesday. UConn won, 63-53, for their 10th national championship. Photo by Cloe Poisson / The Hartford Courant

On the 6th of December Moriah Jefferson’s stats during the Huskies game against Notre Dame in South Bend looked like this – TOT FG 0-8, 3 PNT 0-3, FT FTA 0-0, REBOUNDS OF – 0, DE -1, TOT 1, FP – 5, TP – 0, A – 2, TO – 5, BLK – 0, S – 1, all that in 21 minutes. Defenders stayed off her and she was a non-factor in a 76-58 victory that day but leading up the championship game she told reporters that she didn’t want to ever let her teammates down like that again. Not to worry as she constantly caused problems for Lindsay Allen and the rest of the Fighting Irish as she poured in 15 points, dished out 5 assists and 4 steals in 40 minutes to help the Huskies to a 63-53 victory.

uconn and notre dame for national title. pix of Geno and Muffit for sure; last game for KML and Stokes; As many pix as possible for

Tampa, FL 06.07.2015 Breanna Stewart takes a serious fall in the 1st half, defended by Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner. Stewart returned to the game after having her left ankle taped on the bench. Photo by Michael McAndrews / The Hartford Courant

A collective gasp could be heard through out the arena and across Husky Nation when Breanna Stewart twisted her left ankle while being defended by Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner during the first half. Stewart went to the bench to have the ankle looked at then returned a minute later and finished the night with 15 rebounds, 8 points, 4 blocks and her third national championship.

uconn and notre dame for national title. pix of Geno and Muffit for sure; last game for KML and Stokes; As many pix as possible for

Tampa, FL 04.07.2015 When the final buzzer sounded senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis leapt into the arms of Breanna Stewart as they celebrated their third straight and their 10th national championship. Photo by Cloe Poisson / The Hartford Courant

uconn and notre dame for national title. pix of Geno and Muffit for sure; last game for KML and Stokes; As many pix as possible for

Tampa, FL 04.07.2015 A familiar scene as Geno Auriemma is carried off the court by his team after UConn defeated Notre Dame 63-53 for their 10th national championship. Photo by Cloe Poisson / The Hartford Courant

Geno Auriemma’s program frequently has been compared to the UCLA men, coached by John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood, since the night in Hartford — Dec. 21, 2010 — when Maya Moore scored a career-high 41 points to lead UConn to its 89th consecutive victory.

That was one more than the record run Wooden’s team compiled in the 1970s, when the Bruins were redefining dynasty by winning 10 national championships in 12 seasons.

And from that point on it appeared even clearer that Auriemma was an icon in his own right, closing in on another, but with the advantage of youth and time on his side.

Once again he was carried off the court on the shoulders of his devoted players…

I have been fortunate to cover about half of these championships in some capacity over the 15 years I’ve been on staff at The Hartford Courant. Whether it was as a photographer or an on site editor, I’ve witnessed some amazing times for both the women’s and men’s programs. – John Altavilla / The Hartford Courant

Choosing images for this book project was challenging. The number of photos available , from each season is overwhelming and narrowing it down for the book left many amazing photos out. Trying to find the right balance of action, reaction and behind the scenes photos without looking redundant became more difficult in the latter chapters, they all seem to look like arms, legs and basketballs after a while. In the end I think we put together a pretty nice collection of images to reflect the talent and emotion of this very successful program. Congratulations to Geno Auriemma, Chris Dailey, the entire coaching staff and players from the past two decades on your accomplishment.

Posted in Best Of, Bettina Hansen, Brad Horrigan, Cloe Poisson, John Woike, Mark Mirko, Michael McAndrews, News & Events, Patrick Raycraft, Photojournalism, Richard Messina, Sports, Staff, Stephen Dunn, UConn, UConn Women's Basketball. RSS 2.0 feed.
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