Continued from page 1

It’s not just the X’s and O’s that Auriemma has adopted from Wooden. It’s also the pursuit of excellence. The top block of Wooden’s pyramid of success reads: “Competitive Greatness: Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required every day.”

In the last decade, which includes three perfect seasons, six NCAA championships, a slew of All-Americans and many sold-out crowds and appearances on national television, Auriemma’s teams rarely seem to let down. UConn hasn’t lost consecutive games in more than 17 years.

“One thing that’s non-negotiable is that the one thing we have in common is we settle for nothing less than the absolute best we give you every single night. They did it and we’re doing it. Everything else to me is meaningless,” Auriemma said.

UConn’s feat has left an impression on coaches across the sport. Even those who have had a somewhat frosty relationship with Auriemma can’t help marveling at his team.

“It should be really applauded for an incredible accomplishment in what they’ve done,” UConn men’s coach Jim Calhoun said Sunday. “Nobody in their sport has done it and I don’t think anybody, by the way, ever will, including them. I don’t think (UConn) can repeat, even. The game’s getting better. It’s just an incredible accomplishment.”

High praise from a Hall of Fame coach, who casts a pretty big shadow himself on the campus in Storrs.

Calhoun highly regards coaches C. Vivian Stringer of Rutgers and Pat Summitt of Tennessee, but said UConn’s winning numbers speak for themselves.

“It’s proving very simply that they’re the greatest women’s program in the history of women’s basketball,” Calhoun said. “The streak is the greatest women’s feat that you can have.”

Summitt, who won’t play UConn anymore in the regular season because of a feud with Auriemma, recently lauded the achievement.

“Obviously, they’ve had tremendous success,” she said. “They know how to win. To break that record is amazing.”


AP Sports Writer Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report.