A First !! Dual National Championships...and a Three Peat for DT

April 6, 2004 (New Orleans) - Well the guys did it the night before in San Antonio, so now it was the UConn Women's turn to beat their arch rivals to not only three peat, but make history. One school owning BOTH National Championships in the same season...It was Emeka Okafor and Diana Taurasi on the cover of SI when the season began, would they be on the cover again ??

Two ties and three lead changes early...But the Huskies established themselves when Barbara Turner and Ashley Battle made threes to get the Huskies a 19-9 lead. Battle's 7th of the season....and the lead kept growing. Conlon a 3 at 22-11, Taurasi made a triple, 25-11 and an Ann Strother layup from Turner and the Huskies led 27-11. With six minutes left in the half at 30-15, Pat Summitt's Team showed it's fight...tightening up the D and going on a half ending 9-0 run that got the Lady Vols within 6 at the half....UConn made 11 of it's first 17 shots...They missed their last 6...30-24 Huskies...

Tennessee got within 3 at 41-38 five minutes into the second half. Then the runs came for each team. A 7-0 UConn spurt that put the Huskies up 10..2 hoops for Turner and a DT 3 as UConn started the half making 8 of it's first 11 to go up 10. The Lady Vols a 10-2 run that included a LONG three by Brittany Jackson and the lead was down to 2 at 50-48 with nine minutes left and it was game on. But every time the Huskies needed a hoop that got it. With 6:30 left, Jessica Moore grabbed a rebound and fell awkwardly...she left the game. It meant others needed to step up. Like Wilnett Crockett, who schooled freshman Sydney Spencer for a spinning duck and under and one with 3:30 left to put the Huskies up 62-55.

Stunningly, Moore sprinted out of the locker room and finished the game...The Huskies got stops and made it's free throws with everyone contributing...And UConn made it a three peat and history !! 70-61 and dual national championships for UConn Basketball. Taurasi leading four players in double figures with 17, Ann Strother 14 and Moore added 14 & 9...The last 3 minutes left, she played on a torn ACL as an MRI would show the next day....Turner 12p-9r and Maria Conlon's career with 7p-5a...In her two National Championship Games, just one turnover !!

Needless to say the parade to honor BOTH teams in Hartford was a doozy !! People can say Breanna Stewart won four Natty's...True, but Stewie always had an All American or two with her. Taurasi did get help to win the National Championship Games, but none of the help were All Americans...Yes, Diana Taurasi raised the level of her teammates. Thus my reasoning she's the best player in UConn Women's Basketball History...

See the Game at UConnHuskyGames.com

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