The Connecticut Lady Huskies (39-0) played perhaps their worst first half of basketball all season long in Tuesday night’s NCAA women’s championship game against Stanford in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The same undefeated UCONN team that won nearly 80 consecutive games by double-digits was trailing, 20-12, at halftime against the same school that gave them their last loss more than two years ago.
But even with their amazing streak appearing to slip away, there was no panic from the Lady Huskies. UCONN legendary coach Geno Auriemma didn’t even attempt a fiery locker room pep talk during the half break. Instead, he allowed his players go out and do what they’ve done so well the entire season: find a way to win.
“It couldn’t get any worst, but we knew we had a run coming,” said UCONN star Maya Moore, who made it her personal duty to make sure the Lady Huskies marched back to win, 53-47.
“We settled down and made some shots; just no fear.”
Moore certainly showed no fear taking shots at the basket. She went off in the second half, scoring 11 of the team’s first 17 points following the break. Moore finished with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds, helping UCONN claim its second straight title, seventh championship in school history.
“It’s what great players do,” Coach Auriemma told reporters after the game. “They do it at the most pressure-packed times that makes them who they are. That’s what makes them great. Maya’s a great scorer and you get that reputation by scoring points under pressure. She certainly did that.”
Lady Huskie’s star center Tina Charles also proved her greatness by nearly recording a double-double of nine points with 11 rebounds, along with six blocks.
Strong defense from both teams made it the lowest scoring game in NCAA Championship history, which is why Stanford (36-2) was able to stay close to Connecticut, one of finest scoring team in women’s basketball history.
“I can’t even imagine them scoring only 12 points ,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer told the media. “It was just an incredible job.”
But as Moore would prove, even great defense can’t stop “Super Woman.”
“Maya Moore was the difference,” Coach VanDerveer said. “If she’s on our team, we win. She really stepped up and made big plays for them. Really, she’s a great player.”