Baylor Women Beat UConn Huskies, Ending The Team's Winning Streak
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Something remarkable happened last night in women's college basketball. The University of Connecticut lost.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: For the first time, Kim Mulkey's got a win against number one. A signature upset in Waco, Texas.
CORNISH: Baylor managed to do something no team had done in years during the regular season - beat the mighty UConn Huskies. The streak ended at 126 games. Connecticut Public Radio's Frankie Graziano was on campus today getting a reaction.
FRANKIE GRAZIANO, BYLINE: It was quiet at UConn's student union. Students are on winter break. But junior Rushil Thakkar was there studying for a science test.
RUSHIL THAKKAR: One of the greatest dynasties in sports. But last night, they lost their streak after 126 games, which is pretty tragic. But still regular season.
GRAZIANO: For the students that were still on campus, there wasn't a lot of concern about the basketball squad. Emily Reid is a junior who plays on the ice hockey team.
EMILY REID: It's definitely the best team in the country. So it's a really big deal, I'd say, when they lose just because it's not frequent.
BOB JOYCE: To go that long over four years without a regular season loss is extraordinary at any level.
GRAZIANO: That's Bob Joyce, the voice of the UConn women for 18 seasons. That includes a time the team went on another unbelievable run - four consecutive championships, 111 straight victories. No other team, men or women, had won that many games in a row in the history of NCAA Division I basketball.
JOYCE: It starts at practice. Their work ethic is extraordinary, and this is the result you get. And not only just this win streak, but all the national championships they've garnered over the last - the quarter-century, it's just some amazing numbers that people can throw out at you.
GRAZIANO: UConn missed 70 percent of its shots in the loss against Baylor last night. No Huskies team had done that poorly since the 1990s. Mechelle Voepel covered the game for ESPN.
MECHELLE VOEPEL: To put this together and not really have very many nights - oh, heck - over the last 25, 30 years like they did last night just speaks to how incredibly consistent that they have been. And I think that's something everybody who follows sports has to just sort of marvel at.
GRAZIANO: Voepel says there's no reason for UConn fans to panic just yet. The team will be a favorite when the NCAA tournament starts in March. Despite UConn's regular-season success, the school has gone several years without winning a national title. The team made it to the Final Four without losing a game in its last two years but lost both times in the semifinals. Back on campus, Rushil Thakkar, the science student, isn't worried that the team's dynasty is over, not with Geno Auriemma as head coach.
THAKKAR: I guess it's just a credit to Geno to say that two losses in two years is something for concern for UConn women's when, you know, there's other teams out there that have lost much more than that.
GRAZIANO: The UConn Huskies get a chance to start another streak Sunday. That's when they play the University of Houston. For NPR News, I'm Frankie Graziano in Hartford, Conn. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.