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    Monday, December 05, 2022

    You heard it here first: UConn will not lose again until Geno retires

    Psst. Come in a little closer. Got a secret for you. Sometimes, we Lords Of The Laptop write things just to instigate. Provoke. And then sit back and chuckle at the (over)reaction. No, really. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

    And so, yes, this is going to sound like provocation. Or baloney. But it's not. This I truly believe:

    The UConn women aren't going to lose again while Geno Auriemma is coaching them.


    And I have no idea when Auriemma will retire.

    Dead serious here. This streak, which will reach 89 Wednesday night when the Huskies inhale poor East Carolina, isn't going to end until Auriemma birdies 18.

    There just aren't any words left to describe this fantasy that faithfully morphs into reality. They never lose. Auriemma schedules the toughest teams in the country. On the road. The year after the top three picks in the WNBA Draft graduate. They keep winning. That's what they do.

    And they're not going to get worse. A boffo recruiting class is coming. So is Azura Stevens, the 6-foot-6 Duke transfer, who only averaged 16.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and shot 52.3 percent from the field in 58 games for the Blue Devils in her two seasons there.

    Again: If they don't lose this year, when, exactly, is it going to happen?

    And do we see them losing this year? They haven't yet. Against the best competition, some of which might have more overall talent (Baylor, maybe Notre Dame, too). Point out what passes for warts if you'd like. Maybe the Huskies don't have as much depth as Auriemma wants. There's always the possibility of an injury. But is it relevant when every team they play looks at the jersey and gets scared shotless?

    Maybe that's the most incredible part. This is sports. Manure occureth. You have bad nights. The other team does everything right. You're tired. On the road. Not motivated. Losing is part of the deal. Losing is what makes winning better. Except here. They've lost once, since, what, Archie last told Edith to stifle?

    And yet there's the urge to nitpick, both from national media types searching for that ever elusive original thought and perhaps from a few infidels who don't like women clogging up their television screens playing basketball.

    Example: I've never been terribly interested in all the UCLA men/UConn women comparisons. Two different eras, two different games. How some of these people actually derive negatives from the Wooden/Auriemma accomplishments is hilarious, if not pathetic. Maybe we leave it here: Accept the privilege of witnessing history, whether written by men or women. It's history. Taught in school for a reason. Capeesh?

    Now I admit: I don't go watch them as much as the old days. There's only so many storylines. It's hard to write the same story 40 different ways every year. But that doesn't mean their accomplishments are any less significant. And stupefying.

    This isn't meant to be the evil eye — "Malocchio" — as the Italians call it. It's just something that popped into this cluttered mind after the Maryland game the other night. Now comes the American Athletic Conference portion of the schedule with South Carolina mixed in. Maybe you give South Carolina a chance. But the game's at Gampel. Good luck with that. The streak is going to be 104 going to the AAC Tournament.

    Think about that: 104 wins in a row. It would be 113 going to next year. With a better team coming. Not that I'd ever say this to him, but it sort of makes you wonder if Auriemma — honestly — is the greatest coach in the history of sports. That'll get pooh poohed here and there. But nobody has ever dominated his or her game the way Auriemma has dominated his. And as he likes to say: UConn isn't the only team with McDonald's All-Americans.

    He's the modern day example of what Bum Phillips meant once when he said, "He can take his'n and beat your'n and take your'n and beat his'n."

    He's done in 88 straight times. More to come.

    This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.

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