The Connecticut women’s basketball team, as expected, dominated Syracuse in the national championship on Tuesday night, winning 82-51 to record yet another undefeated season and notch the program’s fourth consecutive national title. Connecticut has now won 75 straight games – all by double figures.
At some point, this has to be bad for women’s basketball, right?
Swin Cash, who won two national titles under Geno Auriemma, says no.
“My reaction is the same,” Cash said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “If I’m watching the Yankees dominate and winning championship after championship, no one’s getting mad about it. Now, you can say, ‘All right, it’s how they’re winning (that’s the problem).’ Come on. At the end of the day, you like to see somebody that’s that good. If you love basketball, you love to see how UConn plays the game, how they move the ball. Yeah, they’re blowing people out, but it’s pretty when they’re blowing people out. If you see how these girls play, they execute, they share the ball, they’re knocking down shots. If anything, I would be more offended to say, ‘Well, why aren’t the other coaches stepping up their game and preparing their girls to compete at this elite level?’ It’s not like (Auriemma) just started doing this and winning championships. I mean, this is No. 11 right now. This is year after year after year. So if anything, I would be putting the onus on the other coaches to step up their game. So I don’t pay attention to the media stuff.”
Cash doesn’t understand why people criticize Connecticut for dominating but didn’t get mad at Villanova for beating Oklahoma by 44 points in the Final Four last Saturday.
“I didn’t hear a peep after the semifinal game when the guys got blown out,” Cash said. “It was, ‘Oh, I know the championship game will be better.’ So there’s always an excuse, there’s always a but somewhere when it comes to men, but we don’t get it as women. But you . . . kind of just move on past it and don’t even get consumed with it. Until somebody beats you, you don’t settle for mediocracy. You want to dominate year in and year out. So next year, they shouldn’t be saying, ‘Oh, we hope teams are better.’ They should be saying, ‘Oh, you know what? We’re going for No. 12.”
Cash, 36, won national titles at Connecticut in 2000 and 2002 and is a three-time WNBA champion. She described what it was like playing for Auriemma.
“Listen, when you’re in school, you don’t like the man,” Cash said. “Point blank, period. You don’t understand why, but there’s buttons that he pushes that really frustrate you, and he does that with players obviously that he knows have the ability to be great. You kind of form that love-hate relationship, but at the end of the day when you take a look back, you realize it was actually helping you become a better player as well. I think the one thing that I learned from him is just having that mental toughness. He challenges you every day in practice, He challenges you even when you’re sleeping to think about the game or learn about the game. I think that’s why he separates himself from so many other college coaches because it doesn’t stop when you’re just between those lines; it’s always about evolving and really growing as a player and then as a team.”