The University of Memphis women’s basketball team will face the giant that is the University of Connecticut women’s basketball Saturday. On top of playing arguably the most dominant team in sports history, they will have to do it on the road.
UConn has won 102 straight games in Division 1 women’s basketball. The Huskies broke their previous streak of 90 straight wins January 14 with a win over SMU. Their last loss came 831 days ago when they lost a road game against Stanford.
Geno Auriemma took over the job 31 years ago, and he has taken the program to unmatched heights. UConn now has 11 national championships, 17 final fours and six perfect seasons.
The Huskies have won four straight national championships and have at least made the Final Four for the past nine seasons.
This season the Tigers are 13-14 and 6-8 in conference play with two games remaining in the regular season. Looking at the records alone, it seems a near impossible task, but there are a few reasons that the Tigers could be the team to snap the streak.
Tulane is one of the common opponents between the Tigers and Huskies. UConn has played the Green Wave twice this season. The first matchup went as expected and the Huskies ran away with a 44 point win. But their second game was a surprise.
Obviously, Tulane lost, but they lost 63-60. That 41-point turn-around almost snapped the streak, but it also shows that UConn is beatable.
In their lone matchup this season, Memphis beat the Green Wave 55-52 on the road. So the Tigers matched the 102 straight win Huskies in a common game.
This does not mean much because it is hard to compare two teams that have not played each other, but it does show some hope in the situation the Tigers are in.
In other close games that UConn has had, they have shown the same themes from the Tulsa game. Memphis will have to copy what those teams did, and execute it even better.
In all three games decided by less than 10 points, the Huskies have been outshot from the free-throw line. The Tigers have done a good job of getting to the charity stripe all season, but they are facing a team that does not foul often.
UConn has gone to the line slightly more than the Tigers, but they allow their opponents to shoot less free throws. Memphis will have to attack the rim offensively to force UConn into tough situations and play smart defensively to avoid bad fouls.
The Huskies are a good three-point shooting team, but they have struggled to shoot from the perimeter in their close games. Memphis needs to pack the paint and force them to shoot threes.
UConn could shoot 50 percent from beyond the arch and win by 50, but the chances for the Tigers are better if they pack the paint.
The last thing Memphis needs to do is make threes. The Tigers are at a height disadvantage in the post, so they will have to spread the floor and use their speed. Making three-pointers will force UConn out of the paint and create lanes for Memphis to get the basket.
Chances are that Memphis will lose by double-digits, but if things fall perfectly, Tulane proved that an upset is possible. This will be the Tigers toughest game all season, but it is also their chance to shock the entire college basketball world.
Memphis players box out against UConn for a rebound last season. The Tigers will try to upset the Huskies and snap their 102 game winning streak.