WASHINGTON -- UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma is not a numbers guy. He does not get caught up in winning streaks and things like that. He is a day-to-day type of guy, who first and foremost concerns himself with what it takes to make the Huskies the best they can be.
But the numbers have been difficult to ignore since the start of the 1994-95 season, when UConn surged to the upper echelon of the sport. The Huskies have won seven national championships and made 12 Final Four appearances over the previous 18 seasons. They set an NCAA record by winning 90 straight games overall and 99 straight at home. They have also had 16 30-win seasons during this span, including a current run of five straight.
Yet, there is one statistic that is even more mind-boggling. It is one that Auriemma does not even ponder, one that you will not find in any record book and is not widely publicized.
With Wednesday's 75-48 win over Georgetown at McDonough Arena, the Huskies extended their mesmerizing streak without enduring back-to-back losses to 707 games.
"I haven't really given that much thought,'' Auriemma said. "But this particular group, we're trying to learn some things and we're trying to find out some things about what we can do well, what we can't do well, what we're really good at, what we need to get better at. And that's taken up all my thoughts. I really haven't given much thought to the other stuff.''
UConn is 655-52 since losing to Providence 87-73 in the Big East tournament semifinals on March 7, 1993 and to Louisville 74-71 in the first round of the NCAA tournament March 17, 1993. The Huskies have won their last 18 regular-season games following a loss by double figures including nine by at least 30.
How deep does this streak go? Six of the 11 players currently on UConn's roster -- sophomores Brianna Banks, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes and freshmen Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck -- were not yet born the last time this team lost twice in a row.
"That's a really good statistic," UConn senior Kelly Faris said. "Are a lot of people going to focus on it? Probably not. But as long as you're talking about it, it speaks a lot about what Coach has done. The program has a lot of history and Coach knows what to instill in his players. It says a lot about how much they focus on maturity and the mentality of their players.''
The second longest current streak without back-to-back losses is held by No. 4 Duke at 178. The Blue Devils lost three straight games to UConn, Vanderbilt, and Penn State from Nov. 25, 2007 through Dec. 2, 2007.
Providing further evidence of just how remarkable UConn's run of consistency has been, consider the remaining teams that are ranked in the top five this week in The Associated Press national poll. Top-ranked Baylor's streak without back-to-back losses stands at 104 games. Second-ranked Notre Dame is at 88. And No. 4 Stanford is at 83.
"My sophomore year (2009-10), we chased perfection to get to excellence and that's a theme between the coaches and players,'' UConn senior Caroline Doty said. "I think we have a great understanding of it. We take it personally.''
Being such intense competitors, the Huskies do take losing personally. They do not take games off. And their collective approach is the same whether it is a No. 1 versus No. 2 game or they're facing a Division II team.
This is a big reason why UConn has not lost back-to-back games in nearly 20 years.
"It's hard, but it's part of what we have to teach,'' Auriemma said. "You only get X number of games in college. You only get X number of opportunities to play this game. If you're going to decide you're only going to play well against certain teams and not show up for others, you're cheating the game, you're cheating yourself, and you're cheating the program. We don't put up with that.''
Auriemma and the Huskies will not take even a moment to reflect in what it has taken to assemble such a streak. Not now. Not with an eighth national championship out there for the taking.
But once the players move on, and once Auriemma finally steps down, the time for reflection will present itself. Then, and only then, will they be able to appreciate what they have been able to accomplish.
"When it's over and I look back, I'm going to be amazed by some of the things we've done here,'' Auriemma said.
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