Best Teams Ever bracket: NCAA women's basketball edition, Final Four

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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 and the second round of voting here. Final Four polls will close at noon ET on Saturday.

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It’s an all-Huskies Final Four in the “Best Teams Ever” tournament and frankly, no one should be surprised. Connecticut has the more national titles (11) than any other school and has watched its stars go on to incredibly successful WNBA and Team USA careers.

So which Huskies squad is the best of all? One of the three championship teams that featured Breanna Stewart in the last decade? Or the 2002 squad featuring legends Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi?

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

2016 Connecticut vs. 2014 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. 4 — 2014 Connecticut (40-0)

PPG: 82.1 | Opp PPG: 47.8 | Margin: 34.3

The 2014 Huskies got by the second round in a tighter battle than the first. They won 53 percent of the vote against the 1998 Tennessee Lady Vols team featuring Tamika Catchings and Chamique Holdsclaw.

It was the second of four consecutive national titles with Stewart and in November, they started their record 111-game winning streak. It would continue until the Final Four against Mississippi State in 2017. Stewart averaged 19.4 points, tying a career high, with 8.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. She shot 49.7 percent overall, including 34.3 percent from 3-point range.

UConn defeated Stanford by 19 points in the Final Four and Notre Dame by 21 in the championship. It was the only title game between undefeated squads. The Huskies rank sixth in scoring margin all-time and fourth in scoring percentage defense (752 of 2,425, 31%).

2015 Connecticut vs. 2002 Connecticut

No. 10 — 2015 Connecticut (38-1)

PPG: 89.3 | Opp PPG: 48.6 | Margin: 40.6

  • Stewart (junior), Tuck, Jefferson, Williams, Kia Nurse, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis

  • NCAA record points, scoring margin

The 2015 team got 55 percent of the vote in the second round against its 2003 counterparts, led by GOAT Diana Taurasi. Led by Stewart, then a junior, the 2015 Huskies scored an NCAA record 3,481 points and had a record scoring margin of 40.6 points. Their only loss was to Stanford in the second game of the season, 88-86, in overtime.

Stewart was a junior and averaged 17.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Her 53.9 percent shooting was a career high until her senior year, but she hit fewer 3-pointers (31.3) than she had in previous seasons.

Connecticut crushed its NCAA tournament competition until the title game against Notre Dame, when it won by only 10 points.

No. 3 — 2002 Connecticut (39-0)

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

  • Sue Bird and Swin Cash, seniors

  • 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 form 3-point range.

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