The Huskies concluded another stretch Sunday that saw them further prove that they are the best team in the nation. In a span of six days, they defeated then-No. 2 Duke on the road by 22 points and then-No. 21 California by 33 at Madison Square Garden.
UConn has now defeated five ranked opponents this season by an average of 22.0 points (76.4-54.4). Three of the wins have come in true road games. Three have come against Top 10 foes. Two came against Top 5 foes.
“I think that after playing Duke and Cal we’re, obviously, really confident in what we’re doing,’’ sophomore Breanna Stewart said. “But, at the same time, there’s still a lot that we can focus on in practice, and we’re going to do that before we play Cincinnati on Sunday. But I think that everyone’s really clicking and finding their roles on this team and that’s only going to help us going into the conference play.’’
Said California coach Lindsay Gottlieb: “Connecticut is better than we are, but they’re better than everyone.’’
The Huskies have 18 games against American Athletic Conference competition to be played. A meeting at No. 9 Baylor Jan. 13 represents their final non-conference game during a 31-game regular season.
However, no matter what they have accomplished to this point they collectively understand that they must continue to improve in an attempt to be at their absolute best in the postseason.
“We came back from the Duke game and we watched film,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “And that’s the great thing about technology today. When we watch film I can make it look like we won by 50 and I can make it look like we lost by 30. It all depends on what kind of spin I want to put on it. But there were a lot of things in that Duke game that our team when we were watching it was like, `Wow, I didn’t realize we were that bad at certain things.’ Because all the things we were good at we were great at. So playing a team like Duke on the road and knowing that there was so many things that we can do better and can get better that’s great for our team to know that that as good as we are now there’s so many things we can improve on. And (Sunday) was just another example of that.
“We’re really good. I’d be lying if I sat here and said that we weren’t. We’re really, really good. I’m not one of these coaches that says, `We just want to compete and hope we make the NCAA tournament and see what happens. Get lucky.’ All that crap. We’re really good. But I also think that if we sit around and say, `we’re really good,’ then we’re not going to get any better. And I just assume that the teams we’ve beaten already who are really good are going to get better. I just assume they are. If they don’t then that’s their problem. But I assume that they’re going to get better. So I think we’ve got to keep getting better.’’