For more than 10 years and counting, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has been the definition of dominance. Over the past decade the Huskies have appeared in 10 final fours and cut down the nets six times within that span. Head coach Geno Auriemma has coached numerous All-Americans, National Players of the Year and first round picks during his time in Storrs, Connecticut, while compiling 90 and 111 game win streaks.
As a result, the program has become the greatest examples of success. With such a long streak of sustained winning, the Huskies have clearly put themselves among some of the greatest programs in the history of sports. Additionally, their continued dominance has seemed to catapult them into a league of their own. Unlike the Patriots or Yankees who still lose from time to time, the Huskies are viewed as almost unbeatable (if we forget about that Mississippi State buzzer beater). To many, they are the pinnacle of success that no team in any other sport could ever replicate. However, it’s time we begin to view the Maryland Women’s Lacrosse team in the same light as the Huskies.
On Sunday the Terps defeated Boston College to win the National Championship and finish off a perfect 23-0 season. The victory gave Maryland their third title in four years in what was their ninth straight final four appearance. Although they may not get the national spotlight Connecticut does, the categories and criteria that define the Huskies greatness can be met by the Terps. Let’s break it down so everyone can see just how dominant the Maryland program is.
If you want to compare wins, Maryland can go toe to toe with the Huskies. They may not have the insanely long win streaks Connecticut had, but yesterday’s win put their record over the past four seasons at 89-3,which included a 46-0 record in College Park. During that same stretch the Huskies were 152-2, but it is important to remember that they play around 15 more games per season than Maryland so the records are pretty similar when put into perspective. The Terps also compiled a 15-0 conference record since moving to the Big Ten. If it wasn’t for a National Championship loss to North Carolina in 2016, we would be looking at a streak of 50 straight wins and counting.
Connecticut’s performance in postseason play is another reason why they garner so much praise, but Maryland Women’s Lacrosse has had no shortage of postseason success as well. As mentioned above, the Terps now have three championships in four years and four total championships during their nine straight trips to the final four. Those numbers greatly resemble the Huskies six titles and 10 final four appearances. In total, Maryland has racked up 14 national championships while Connecticut has compiled 11. So when looking at the programs as a whole, Maryland actually holds the advantage in titles. Trophies have helped make the Huskies great, but the Terps hardware is equally as impressive.
Some of the best women’s college basketball players of all-time spent their four years playing for the Huskies. Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi are just some of the great players to dominate while donning a Connecticut jersey.
Want to hear a crazy stat about just how prominent Maryland players are in lacrosse? All four coaches in this years final four, Cathy Reese of Maryland, Cindy Timchal of Navy, Missy Doherty of Penn State and Acacia Walker of Boston College, were part of the Maryland program at one point. From Taylor Cummings, who was the first player in either men’s or women’s lacrosse history to win the Tewaaraton Award three times, to Zoe Stukenberg, who just captured her third title, Maryland has constantly had some of the top players in the nation sporting the red, black and gold. From their time playing in College Park to their careers after, you can expect plenty of Terps to continue to make an impact in the world of lacrosse.
Even with their final four loss this year, we all know Connecticut is not going anywhere. Sure they have been great in the past, but their ability to continuously bring in top recruits means there are plenty of more trophies and wins in their future. The same can be said for the Terps. They may be losing a senior class that went 89-3 during their time in College Park, but that doesn’t mean you should expect them to slow down. Key players Megan Whittle, Caroline Steele, Jen Giles, Kali Hartshorn and more are all returning to Maryland in 2018. Add that to a loaded recruiting class and a deep bench that includes top recruits like Brindi Griffin who could be starters on other teams and you have a formula for a long run of success. The Terps have been on a dominant stretch in the past years and I don’t believe it is going to slow down anytime soon.
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball program deserves to be viewed as one of the greatest organizations of all time. And although many believe they are in a league of their own, Maryland Women’s Lacrosse has played their way into being mentioned in the same sentence as the Huskies whether you like it or not.