It was Connecticut superstar and WNBA great Diana Taurasi who asked the question on everyone’s mind three years ago after the NCAA tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Do you think Coach was happy the tournament didn’t happen?” she asked, a glint in her eye, about Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma while on an Instagram Live with former teammate Sue Bird.
UConn had taken late-season losses to top-ranked South Carolina and the Sabrina Ionescu-led Oregon Ducks. In the last selection committee reveal for that canceled tournament, the Huskies were ranked No. 6 overall and a No. 2 seed. The streak of more than a decade of consecutive Final Four berths appeared to be in jeopardy.
On the late-night Insta Live, Bird gave a deep shrug and the two laughed, noting that UConn was adding No. 1 recruit and heralded generational talent Paige Bueckers that summer. The expectations — and burdens — soared as high as talk of four titles in four years à la Breanna Stewart. It took off further when Azzi Fudd, Bueckers’ best friend and the No. 1 recruit in the 2021 class, committed to UConn.
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It hasn’t quite gone to plan in Storrs, Connecticut, and this time there’s no avoiding Taurasi’s underlying question. The Huskies’ streak of 14 Final Fours appears in more danger than any season prior. The major culprit is an unprecedented streak of injuries that has sidelined their two No. 1 recruits and most of the roster at some time. UConn (29-5) hasn’t missed an Elite Eight since 2006 and a Sweet 16 since 1993.
It wouldn’t be the first time this season a 30-year streak has snapped. Yet again, it wouldn’t be the first time even in the past 14 months we’ve seen a UConn star return late to lead the Huskies into April. And the bracket did the Huskies, a No. 2 seed in the Seattle 3 region, favors in their quest.
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Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/ncaa-tournament-will-uconns-14-season-final-four-streak-end-230421208.html?src=rss
Author : Yahoo Sports
Publish date : 2023-03-14 23:04:21
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