To absolutely nobody's surprise, the UConn Lady Huskies steam-rolled the Syracuse Orange to capture the national championship. 82-51, a 31 point thumping, was the last exclamation point of a season that featured UConn's total dominance over the field.
During the course of the six games they played in the NCAA tournament, against the "best" competition, Geno's Bambinos outscored their rivals 544-305, an average winning margin of a whopping 40 points.
Having won his 11th national title, Auriemma surpassed the late/great/legendary John Wooden's mark at UCLA. If he "hangs" for a few more years -- and there's no reason to think he won't -- the mini-Italian stallion will no doubt blow past Pat Summit's all-time win record mark while at Tennessee.
[Let's be honest. Back in Coach Pat's hey-day, the competition wasn't nearly as tough as it is in modern times. Many universities didn't take lady's basketball seriously -- if they fielded a team at all. She got the cream of the crop prep stars every year because a lot of schools just didn't care enough to devote resources into a venture that would cost them a bunch of money while yielding little back in return.]
Breanna Stewart of UConn has found her own place in the record books. Four years, four national championships, and all four times being named the MVP of the tournament. That feat may or may not be equaled in the future by another phenom, but it can never be surpassed. It's like a hole-in-one in golf or a 300 game in bowling. It's possible to match, but it's unbeatable.
One thing is for sure. Ms. S has played her last game at UConn. After she and her coach/teammates are rightfully done celebrating another championship in Storrs, parade and all, one is left to ponder -- what's next?
Sure, Geno will reload. Five star prep recruits are standing in line drooling over a scholarship to play hoops at UConn. Success breeds more success. But what of Breanna?
She'll likely be the overall first pick in the WNBA draft which will come soon. And then she'll disappear to play on a bad pro team (likely the Seattle Storm -- currently the dregs of the WNBA) in front of mostly empty arenas. She's become used to winning everything while at UConn, It will come as quite the culture shock to not only relocate from the east coast to the far northwest, but also get used to losing -- probably a lot.
After graduating from college as the best player in the land, she's in for another rude awakening. The rookie salary cap in the WNBA is $35,000. People that pick up garbage, mow lawns, clean houses, and scan your grocery items -- among other decidedly non-skilled professions -- likely make a similar wage.
The "average" salary in the WNBA is $72,000, and the max just over $100,000, but a lady hoopster has to put in a few years of service to qualify for either. Seventy two grand ain't bad. It's certainly more than most reporters, teachers, cops, firefighters, nurses, auto workers, and anybody in the food service industry makes. Not too shabby for playing a game, though it pales in comparison to her male counterparts.
And if Bre can make it to the mountaintop of a hundred grand, she'll join some elite company. Trumpish? Hardly. But she'll be right up there with your average mid-level dope dealer or local crooked politician.
It's seems cruelly ironic that such a fine upstanding college student-athlete can finish at the pinnacle of success, only to find she'll be making far less all of next year than one of the above-mentioned politicians can make for giving a 20 minute speech -- that is mostly lies anyway.
At least Breanna Stewart was the real deal for her 4 years at UConn, and very much deserved all the accolades that were bestowed upon her.
Here's wishing Ms. S the best in whatever comes her way next.
But methinks it's going to be a lot rougher than it was in Storrs.......