History[ edit ] Early years — [ edit ] After just one winning season in 10 years under coaches Sandra Hamm —75Wanda Flora —80 and Jean Balthaser —85UConn hired as their new head coach the Italian-born Geno Auriemmawho had served as assistant coach at Virginia, with the goal of revitalizing the program. Auriemma's training skills had an immediate impact and the team showed steady signs of progress: after going 12—15 in his first season in —86, Auriemma led UConn to winning seasons in —87 and — Bascom had an immediate impact on the UConn program: in she won the Big East Player of the Year award as a sophomore she also won the award in her junior and senior years and led UConn to its first Big East regular season and Tournament title, along with its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance; the tournament ended in a first round loss. UConn's season ended with a 61—55 loss to top-seeded Virginia in the national semifinals at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. Bascom was hit with early foul trouble and Virginia held off a late UConn rally.
Unlike the previous two years, they don't have the burden of a record winning streak or an unbeaten season. One thing is familiar for the Huskies, however: They have to beat rival Notre Dame to reach the championship game.
Heading into their showdown with rival Irish on Friday night, the Huskies have already lost two games this season and don't have as Auriemma put it "the fear of losing" this year.
Our kids have experienced that dramatic feeling of, Oh, my God, we lost. I think there's this sense coming out here this year, What's the big deal?
Besides the losses, UConn had to rally a few times to pull out victories.
We know if we get in those positions, we know what to do in order to bring ourselves out of whatever is going on, to stay calm, kind of just trust in ourselves and know we've been here before, there's no reason to, like, panic. Both players feel a sense of urgency knowing this is their last go-round no matter what happens Friday night.
It seems like while you're playing here, that's never going to end," Samuelson said. The fact that it is kind of the end of the road, we just want to go out and give everything we have because we know this could be one of the last few chances we get to wear the UConn jersey.
UConn and Notre Dame have played six times in the Final Four or national championship game since They have split the six meetings with the Irish going in the semifinals.
Here are some other things to know about the game: TIP-INS Samuelson and Collier have combined for 4, points which is the highest combo for a pair of classmates in school history. The starting five for Notre Dame has combined to score over 10, points that is No.
This is the 50th meeting between the schools and UConn holds a lead in the all-time series. Ogunbowale and the Irish pulled off one of the most unbelievable feats last year, winning the semifinals and championship game on buzzer beaters by the guard. The star guard knows this is a different year.
We're here to win, however we have to do it, whatever fashion, we're just here to win. That's what we're focused on.
She was happy to have the chance to play this year on the biggest stage. But, I mean, my injuries are in the past.
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