Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2016 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 109 of 133

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI O kay, women's college basket‑ ball, you can come out again. It's a little safer now. The basketball Tsunami that was Connecticut's 6‑4 Breanna Stew‑ art, the nation's top overall player the past three years, is gone. So is Moriah Jefferson, the nation's best point guard. So is 6‑2 Morgan Tuck, who rounded out the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 WNBA selections — unprecedented in any pro sport — on April 14. The trio led the Huskies to an un‑ precedented four consecutive na‑ tional titles while becoming the top current dynasty in any collegiate or professional sport. Since the start of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, UConn posted a 122‑1 ledger — winning ev‑ ery game by at least 10 points — and was victorious in each of its last 75. Head coach Geno Auriemma is the John Wooden of women's basketball, and he now has more championship rings (11) than fingers and thumbs to put them on. He has been invincible in championship settings, going 11‑0 in title games (Wooden was 10‑0). As long as Auriemma remains on the sidelines, the road to the national title still goes through Stoors, Conn. In 2016‑17, though, and 2017‑18 as well, the path should be a little more navigable for Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw's program to achieve the elusive second national title they've hunted since the start of the 2001‑02 campaign. During the same past four years, Notre Dame is a phenomenal 141‑8 (.946 wi n n i ng percentage) with four outright league titles in the Big East or ACC. It also is 138‑3 the last four years versus teams not named UConn, establishing itself as the na‑ tion's second best program. The combination of the Huskies losing their three mainstays (while also signing only one player), plus Notre Dame returning five of its top A WINDOW OF HOPE Notre Dame's national title chances might be at their peak the next two seasons

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