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Connecticut Wins 3rd Straight Women's Basketball Title


Last night, it was the women's turn as the two powerhouses in women's college basketball met in the NCAA final in Tampa. The University of Connecticut Huskies won their third straight title, beating Notre Dame, the team they faced last year. For more, we're joined now by Michelle Smith who's in Tampa. She's a contributing writer to espnW. Good morning.


MONTAGNE: So what clinched the third straight title for Connecticut?

SMITH: Being the better team, basically.

MONTAGNE: (Laughter).

SMITH: I mean, it was - Notre Dame didn't hit quite as many shots as it needed to. They turned the ball over quite a bit. All of that being said, the Irish didn't really give it away. It was close for a long time, and then Connecticut kind of pushed away at the end minute - probably ended the way most people thought that it would.

MONTAGNE: And UConn was favored for the entire season. Still, last night was a big milestone for their coach.

SMITH: Yeah, Geno Auriemma won his 10th title, and it put him in some pretty rare company. John Wooden at UCLA won 10 titles at UCLA. And then Phil Jackson, in his coaching career in the NBA, won 11 titles. So there are not very many coaches who have this sort of success and certainly not at one place. Phil Jackson had his success at a couple of different places. But Geno Auriemma finds himself in pretty rare company right now.

MONTAGNE: And last night reminds us that women's hoops is consistently dominated by just a few elite teams - UConn, Notre Dame, also Baylor, Maryland, Tennessee, a few others. Is that bad for the game?

SMITH: You know, I think that there are some brand names in women's basketball to be sure. I think it's sort of arguable whether or not it's bad. Connecticut has been very dominant over the last few years, and it has made some of these tournaments seem a little bit like an exercise in inevitability. But on the other hand, Gino Auriemma will say if you want to be better, if you want us to play with us, please be our guest. They really set a very high bar. But it's a matter of recruiting. It's a matter of the best athletes going to the best schools. And that kind of perpetuates itself in the women's game.

MONTAGNE: Michelle Smith of espnW. Thanks for joining us.

SMITH: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.