Published March 29. 2012 4:00AM
This Final Four University of Connecticut women's basketball team is arguably among the most impressive, not because it is among the best teams in school history - it isn't - but because its lofty achievement depended not on one or more All-Americans, but on everyone stepping up their game.
Yes, Coach Geno Auriemma continues to recruit among the best high school players in the country, but so do many big-time programs. This is a team with only one senior. It is a program that saw Maya Moore, one of the greatest women players in college basketball history, graduate last year. She was the top draft pick in the 2011 WNBA draft. The top WNBA pick in 2010? That would be Tina Charles, UConn alum.
The WNBA will not be choosing any UConn players first this year, yet the team is back in the Final Four.
It is fair to say this is a team of overachievers, a team with many good players if not any great ones. A team well coached, but that's now a given.
Its games have not lacked for excitement because this squad has to play its best against good, and sometimes even average teams, to win, which was not the case in the recent past. That imperfection was illustrated by its four losses (against 33 wins), a spectacular achievement by the standards of most every other team, but an off year in Storrs. A loss on Senior Night at Gampel Pavilion snapped a 99-game win streak there, but seemed to motivate the team toward its current success.
And who's to say this team will not continue to overachieve by winning it all in Denver? Certainly not us.