The Connecticut women’s basketball team won its 100th straight game Monday night, beating No. 6 South Carolina, 66-55. While some people believe that Geno Auriemma and the Huskies are bad for women’s college basketball, Jen Rizzotti disagrees.
“Obviously I’m biased,” the former UConn point guard and current George Washington women’s head coach said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I would never think that, but I played there. So for me, it’s a matter of pride every time I turn on the TV and see them covering the UConn women’s team. I understand it. I’m not sure if my viewpoint would be different as a college coach, being in awe of what they’ve been able to accomplish, but I think the people that complain about it being bad for basketball are people who don’t like UConn to begin with or aren’t women’s athletic fans. Because all I see is women’s basketball not getting covered enough, and yet, when he accomplishes 100 wins in a row or four national championships in a row, they get covered everywhere. It’s the only time women’s basketball gets that much attention.
“So it might not be good for the other programs, and that’s where a lot of the backlash comes,” Rizzotti continued. “Maybe it’s not good for the other programs having to recruit against UConn, but as far as giving women’s basketball attention, they do it in the right way because they’ve got not just All-American basketball players; they have All-American kids, they have All-American students, and they have kids that are really committed to being good people. So there’s nothing bad about showcasing those young ladies that go through that program, especially with how hard they have to work to live up to that expectation.”
Rizzotti played for UConn from 1992-96 and led the Huskies to a national championship in 1995. She said that Auriemma, despite his serious public persona, is a “softy at heart.”
And regardless of whether UConn’s dynasty is good or bad for college hoops, one thing is certain: it’s impressive.
“As a coach, I’m happy with 10 straight wins, so I can’t imagine doing that 10 consecutive times,” Rizzotti said. “I think all of us in the business are just kind of in awe of that. To sustain that – not just the level of play and success, but just to get your kids to buy in and to be able to play through some injuries or foul trouble or an off-shooting night and just constantly come out on top, it really truly is unbelievable.”