I live a mere three miles from the XL Center in Hartford, where the the UConn women’s basketball team won their record-setting 89th straight game Tuesday night. The Huskies destroyed Florida State 93-62; surpassing the previous streak set by the UCLA men in 1974.
Back in May, I paid good money to see Pearl Jam at the same venue. Yet it never once crossed my mind to try and get tickets for this game. I just didn’t care. I want to care. I should care. But I don’t.
I realize this is a huge deal in sports. John Wooden, the legendary UCLA Head Coach died in June, but his grandson Greg flew in from California to be there. President Obama even called UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma after the game. But I just don’t think you’ll find a lot of people talking about it around the water cooler.
I am not a women’s hoops hater. Far from it. I played in high school (even though I only saw minutes during garbage time) , and was the women’s team beat writer for the Indiana Daily Student in college.
While working as a producer for CNNSports, I covered the thrilling 2003 NCAA Championship Game between UConn and Tennessee. The energy was amazing between the heavyweights of women’s college hoops and the Huskies battled to a five-point win. Diana Taurasi put on the one of the most incredible performances I have ever seen in person – by a man or a woman. And I have to admit, I was a little nervous and intimidated interviewing her after the game.
Auriemma probably makes some in the media feel the same way. The fiery, brazen leader is never at a loss for words, and has been critical of the recent press.
“There wouldn’t be this many people in the room if we were chasing a women’s record,” he said Sunday after beating Ohio State. “The reason everybody’s having a heart attack the last four, five days is because a bunch of women are threatening to break a men’s record … All the miserable bastards who follow men’s basketball that don’t want us to break the record are all here because they’re [angry]. ”If we were breaking a women’s record, everybody would go, ‘Aren’t those girls nice, let’s give them two paragraphs in USA Today, you know, give them one line on the bottom of ESPN and then let’s send them back where they belong, in the kitchen.’ ”
Well, he’s right. Not that they belong in the kitchen, but most people just don’t care. Yes, its an amazing feat and the women are so bad ass they could probably beat some men’s teams. The halftime score vs. Florida State was FSU 27, Maya Moore 26. During the 89-game streak, they had only two single-digit wins; and margin of victory was 32 points.
I think that’s where they lose me. What makes the NFL shine is parity. No such thing in women’s basketball. Even if there was, I think the country is too consumed right now with the impending NFL playoffs, NBA, MLB hot stove, college bowls and men’s college basketball.