DALLAS >> Now that UConn has broken its own NCAA record with 91 wins in a row, the four-time defending national champion Huskies can look toward trying to extend their other impressive streak.
They want to get back to Dallas for a chance to win five titles in a row — something no women’s team has ever done.
Coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies spent some extra time in Big D after their record-setting win at SMU. They attended a Dallas Mavericks game Sunday at the American Airlines Center, where the women’s Final Four will be played in 2 1/2 months.
“We took them there last year to see a game, and the Mavs happen to be in town again,” Auriemma said. “I didn’t say anything last year, but I’ll remind them, that’s the goal. We want to be back and playing in this building at the end of the season.”
After an 88-48 romp over SMU on Saturday, when the Huskies (16-0) scored the game’s first 21 points, they had more time before heading north to Tulsa for their next game on Tuesday night.
“Not necessarily relax, but we get to kind of take a second to look back and see what we’ve accomplished and kind of appreciate it more,” junior forward Gabby Williams said. “We kind of get to take a breath and be like ‘Wow, look what we did.’ It still hasn’t set in for any of us because we have a bigger goal at hand.”
Because of that bigger goal, the reaction after winning their 91st consecutive game was seemingly subdued. While there was a sense of accomplishment, there really were only a few handshakes and hugs on the court.
Katie Lou Samuelson insists that she didn’t even think about being in the Final Four city until being asked about that after the game.
“We kind of go into these games just focusing on this specific game, and that’s why we’ve had so much success as a program,” Samuelson said. “We don’t get too far ahead of ourselves. … We would like to be back here, but we know each game we can’t take for granted and we have to be ready to go.”
The sophomore forward said that “maybe” she would let herself imagine being back in the AAC when the Huskies went to the NBA game.
UConn’s last loss was in overtime at sixth-ranked Stanford on Nov. 17, 2014.
With a 65-point rout of 20th-ranked South Florida last Tuesday, the Huskies matched their record 90-game winning streak. When they won 90 in a row the first time, a streak ended by another loss to Stanford in December 2010, they broke the Division I record of 88 straight wins by the UCLA men’s basketball team and famed coach John Wooden.
UConn also had a 70-game winning streak from 2001-03, and the next closest Division I women’s streak is 54 in a row by Louisiana Tech from 1980-82.
The next milestone would be No. 100 — that would be Feb. 13 against fifth-ranked South Carolina at home, the only challenge left between the Huskies and another undefeated regular season.
They could be at 104 games by the end of the regular season, and if they sweep through the American Athletic Conference tournament for fourth consecutive year in that league, they would take a 107-game streak into the NCAA Tournament.
It would then take four more wins to get to the Final Four, so they could get back to Dallas in late March with a 111-game winning streak.
“I told the players, look everything ends,” said Auriemma, using the analogy of a wave. “I don’t care where it starts, that wave is going to crash on some shore at some point.”
Until then, he told them to enjoy the streak, “because not many people get to be on this kind of ride.”