With No. 8 Stanford’s decisive 71-59 victory over No. 1 Connecticut Thursday night (read more here), many must be wondering–what does this mean for the future of collegiate women’s basketball?
My answer? Absolutely nothing.
Sure, the Cardinal (strange how the school’s mascot is a tree and a bird. And a singular bird at that…) snapped (hence ESPN.com’s front page headlining with “Oh, Snap!”) the Huskies’ 90-game winning streak. Sure, a team with a loss under its belt going into the game overcame a team that had not lost since the 2008 NCAA Tournament Final Four. Sure, UConn boasted 2010’s Sportsman of the Year in Maya Moore.
But when it all comes down to it, those are just trivial details. Let’s not forget the rest of the story.
Stanford played at home and holds a 52-game winning streak in Palo Alto. The last time the Huskies were defeated were by this very same team, and though UConn won the national championship last season, it was over a close 53-47 score–again against Stanford. And you can bet the Cardinal was looking for revenge.
And in the end, what really matters was simply who wanted the win more, and the Huskies just couldn’t muster up that spirit. With the team’s all-star player earning high honors just days before the game and a huge winning streak for the team to uphold, UConn broke down. Moore was held to 4-of-15 shooting for the game, and the Huskie defense allowed Stanford’s Jeanette Pohlen to hit five treys and obtain a career-high 31 points. It wasn’t hard to tell who had the home court advantage.
So though it was a battle between the No. 8 team in the nation with a 8-2 record and the No. 1 team with a 12-0 record, in the end, the stats meant absolutely nothing. And what does it mean for the rest of the two teams’ season? Again, absolutely nothing.
It’s no wonder coaches stress that each game be taken individually. When Duke’s men’s basketball team (of course I have to mention them) dropped matches against NC State, Georgia Tech and Georgetown last year, who would’ve thought the Blue Devils would go on to win a national championship?
It’s all perspective, really. Each game is only defined by the hype before and after, though that’s not to say a loss isn’t a definite motivator to work harder. One point at a time, one opponent at a time, one tournament at a time. That’s all it is. A win here, a loss there. In the end, what really matters is the team’s performance on that given day in that given stadium. Statistics fall by the wayside, and even the best of teams can fall without even the slightest bit of fight, as was the case last night.
So as for the future of college NCAA women’s basketball? Only time will tell, but if the past is any indicator, it’s fair to say that Stanford’s upset over UConn doesn’t really mean much at all. For anyone.