Best Teams Ever bracket: NCAA women's basketball, championship round

Welcome to the Best Team Ever bracket series, where the greatest of all time have their most dominant seasons stacked up against each other until we ultimately crown a champion in each sport. The tournament will be decided by fan vote, so be sure to submit yours below! Check out the first round of voting here, the second round of voting here and the Final Four voting here. The championship round poll will close at noon ET on Tuesday.

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An all-Connecticut championship was completely expected out of the gate. It would have been an odd final if it didn’t pit two of the 11 national title Huskies teams against each other.

It’s a battle of No. 1 seed versus No. 3 seed, 2010s UConn stars vs. 2000s UConn stars. Breanna Stewart vs. Sue Bird (who we’d far rather see battling together for the Seattle Storm when sports returns).

The 2016 Connecticut iteration, featuring Stewart, crushed the 2020 Oregon team (83 percent) and beat out 2010 UConn (58 percent) and 2014 UConn (65 percent). The 2002 iteration — featuring Bird, Diana Taurasi and Swin Cash — beat 1985 Old Dominion (84 percent), 2012 Baylor (63 percent) and 2015 UConn (79 percent) with No. 2 seed 1982 Louisiana Tech out in the first round after losing to a UConn team.

Both Huskies squad have dominated the bracket. Which one comes out on top?

Best Teams Ever bracket: Women's college basketball edition, championship round. (Yahoo Sports illustration)
Best Teams Ever bracket: Women's college basketball edition, championship round. (Yahoo Sports illustration)

2016 Connecticut vs. 2002 Connecticut

No. 1 — 2016 Connecticut (38-0)

PPG: 88.1 | Opp PPG: 48.3 | Margin: 39.7

The 2016 Huskies are the last UConn squad to win a championship, and easily made it to the semifinals with 58 percent of the vote while pitted against the 2010 Connecticut team.

Stewart won the AP Player of the Year, Naismith Trophy, Wade Trophy and John R. Wooden Award among other accolades for the Huskies’ fourth title in four years. She became the first unanimous AP POY selection; Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu became the second this spring. Stewie averaged 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, all career highs. Her 57.9 shooting percentage and 42.6 percent mark from behind the arc were both bests.

The Huskies had the second-largest margin of victory in NCAA history at 39.7 points. Their dominance didn’t stop in the regular season as they beat their Final Four and title game opponents by a combined 60 points. It was during their 111-game win streak that stretched from November 2014 to the 2017 Final Four.

No. 3 — 2002 Connecticut (39-0)

PPG: 87.0 | Opp PPG: 51.6 | Margin: 35.4

  • Sue Bird and Swin Cash, seniors

  • Diana Taurasi, sophomore

And finally, the 2002 Connecticut team had 63 percent of the vote against the Brittney Griner-led Baylor team that was the first to go 40-0 in 2012.

This Huskies iteration was voted the best of any in a 2017 Hartford Courant poll. The smallest margin of victory was nine points for the all-star group that has gone on to WNBA championships, Team USA golds and all-time basketball records.

Bird won the Naismith award in 2002 (followed by Taurasi’s two wins) and was the No. 1 pick in the draft. She averaged 14.4 PPG on 50.5 percent shooting, including 46.6 percent from 3-point range. The Huskies scored fewer than 82 points only once in the NCAA tournament and their closest win was by 12 against Oklahoma in the title game.

Bird averaged 14.4 points and 5.9 rebounds on 50.5 percent shooting. Cash averaged 14.9 points and 8.6 rebounds on 54.9 percent shooting. And Taurasi averaged 14.9 points and 5.3 assists while shooting a collegiate career-high 44 percent from 3-point range.

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