This UConn streak stands alone

The 2008-10 Connecticut Huskies surpassed their 2001-03 counterparts with their 71st consecutive victory, a win against fifth-seeded – and sixth-ranked – Notre Dame.

Which UConn team is better? That’s hard to say, until this team wins a second national title.

Connecticut's Tina Charles takes a shot as Notre Dame's Erica Williamson, right, defends during the first half of the Big East Tournament semifinals on Monday.

But the old streak simply doesn’t compare. While that run featured showdowns against longtime rival Tennessee – a team UConn no longer plays in the regular season – it’s simple math. The Huskies haven’t won by fewer than 10 points. They’re in a conference this season that has the No. 6 team in the country – as a fifth seed. And Nos. 9, 13 and 17, too.

They beat the ACC regular-season and tournament champ (No. 7 Duke) by 33. In Durham, N.C. They won fairly handily at Florida State and Oklahoma as well. They handed No. 2 Stanford its only loss of the season. And that’s not even counting last season, when they made a mockery of the Final Four.

So move over, 2001-03 Huskies. You still may have the edge in titles, but you no longer have the most impressive streak in women’s college basketball.

Here’s how the record-breaking victory transpired at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., on Monday:

Conn 9, ND 8, 14:35 1st
Well, at least the Irish led twice, 2-0 and 4-3. Notre Dame at least looks like a team that already has faced UConn twice and won’t be surprised by the Husky greatness.

Conn 14, ND 10, 11:44 1st
Charles still hasn’t taken a shot, and the Huskies haven’t committed a foul (ND has three).

Conn 19, ND 14, 7:40 1st
Charles is on the board, but Doty’s three 3-pointers are the difference so far. Diggins has six points for the Irish.

Conn 21, ND 20, 2:34 1st
Notre Dame is not backing down. The Irish have had several chances to take the lead, and they are keeping Connecticut from transition baskets. Devereaux Peters did have to leave the game after losing a battle for a rebound; it appeared the wind got knocked out of her.

The Irish also trailed by three at the half in the closest game of the streak, the Huskies’ 76-66 win last season.

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma reacts during the first half against Notre Dame in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament on Monday night.

Conn 25, ND 22, half
The Irish hold UConn to seven points fewer than their previous first-half low during the streak. The Huskies had a 24-point second half earlier this season in a 68-43 win at Marquette. Charles is up to seven points and 11 rebounds, but Moore has struggled from the perimeter against the Irish zone (five points, 1 of 6 from three). ND’s Skylar Diggins has 10 points to lead all scorers.

Conn 32, ND 24, 17:51 2nd
Danger. Moore hits a three to give UConn its biggest lead and force an Irish timeout.

Conn 34, ND 28, 15:43 2nd
This has been a physical game, not surprisingly. The Irish have stayed in it and haven’t backed down, especially on the glass.

Conn 44, ND 33, 11:10 2nd
The Irish needed a late comeback to end the UCLA men’s 88-game winning streak, and they’ll need something similar to pull this off. Of course that game was in South Bend, and this is in Hartford. The Huskies looked to be feeling the pressure a bit in the first half, but now shots are falling.

Conn 51, ND 37, 7:46 2nd
Becca Bruszewski fouls out on an awful call, and the Huskies boost the lead to 14 at the next-to-last timeout.

Conn 53, ND 41, 3:42 2nd
After a couple of scoreless minutes for both teams, Charles scores and gets fouled to spark the final media timeout. It seems like a dagger.

Conn 58, ND 44, :49.7 2nd
The Huskies’ Caroline Doty has been down on the floor for several minutes with a head injury from a scramble for the ball with Ashley Barlow and Skylar Diggins (it appeared to be an inadvertent elbow from Barlow, who was running forward as Doty was diving to the floor). It will dampen the celebration.

Conn 59, ND 44, final
It’s official. Seventy-one in a row. All by double digits. West Virginia or Rutgers probably becomes victim No. 72 on Tuesday.

Jeremy Stone is an editor for Yahoo! Sports. Send Jeremy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Monday, Mar 8, 2010