Mission Accomplished: History-making four-peat for UConnn, Huskies beat Syracuse 82-51 for national title

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Photos © Lee Michaelson, all rights reserved.

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“I want to win four national championships,” UConn senior forward Breanna Stewart said in 2012 before she began her college career. Stewart and the Connecticut Huskies not only won four straight national titles, they gave UConn an NCAA-record 11 championships Tuesday night. Head coach Geno Auriemma passed UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden for most titles by a coach in Division I basketball history with the 11th title.

The undefeated 38-0 Huskies beat Syracuse 82-51. The top overall seed dominated the game from the tip, going on a 9-0 run to start, keeping No. 4 Syracuse scoreless for the first four minutes of the game.

Stewart, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Senior Morgan Tuck contributed 19 points and seven rebounds. Senior point guard Moriah Jefferson contributed 13 points and five assists.

“This is exactly what we wanted,” Stewart said during the championship ceremony. “This is what we asked for. We said we wanted to do this when we came in as freshmen and now we did it.”

Jefferson was still in shock about the record-making victory.

“It feels incredible. I don’t even have words right now. I just have to give all the glory to God and I cannot believe we just won four national championships in a row.”

With 1:46 left in the game, Geno Auriemma emptied his bench to let his reserves take the floor. Senior walk-on guard Briana Pulido scored a jumper with 11 seconds left to the roar of the crowd and cheers from the UConn bench. The pre-med senior came to UConn initially as a track athlete but joined the women’s basketball team during the 2013-14 season.

Cornelia Fondren paced Syracuse with 16 points. Brittney Sykes scored 12 and Alexis Peterson added 11.

While UConn never looked in danger of losing, leading 50-23 at halftime, Syracuse went on a 16-0 run in the third quarter. The offensive outburst led Auriemma to call a defensive timeout. When the Huskies came out of the timeout, they made the last two shots of the period. The Orange outscored their opponents 18-8 in the third quarter. However, in the fourth, UConn outpaced Syracuse 18-8.

UConn had a 399 in passes in the compared to only 165 for Syracuse. Connecticut’s passing game was led by the back and forth combination of Moriah Jefferson and Brianna Stewart. Stewart and Jefferson combined for 88 passes to each other. [More statistics]

Stewart became the only player in NCAA basketball history to win the MOP award four times. The All-tournament team included Talia Walton (Washington), Brittney Sykes (Syracuse) and three players from UConn: Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck and Breanna Stewart.

Stewart, one of just six players in NCAA tournament history to score at least 400 career points in the tournament, finished her tournament career with 446 points, the third most in tournament history and second in UConn history behind Maya Moore. She finished second in NCAA tournament history in career blocks with 71 and third in career rebounds with 207.

Jefferson finished her UConn career with 106 assists in NCAA tournament play, tied for fourth most in tournament history alongside fellow Huskie Diana Taurasi.

Tuck, who has one year left of college eligibility, is keeping her decision about turning pro versus staying at UConn under wraps. The WNBA draft is April 14.

UConn Notes

  • UConn claims the program’s 11th NCAA Divis­­ion One Women’s Basketball Championship, including its fourth consecutive crown.
  • UConn becomes the first program in NCAA Division One Women’s Basketball to claim four consecutive titles and joins Southern California (1983-84) and Tennessee (1996-97-98, 2007-08) as teams to win consecutive titles. (UConn: 2002-03-04, 2009-10, 2013-14-15-16)
  • The Huskies are now 11-0 all-time in the national championship game.
  • UConn concludes the season with an unblemished 38-0 record and have won 75 consecutive games, extending the second-longest streak in NCAA history.
  • UConn completes its sixth undefeated season in program history, including second consecutive and fourth since 2009.
  • UConn has won 24 straight games in NCAA Tournament play, extending their own record.
  • With the program’s 22nd all-time victory in the Women’s Final Four, UConn becomes the winningest program in Women’s Final Four history, passing Tennessee’s 21 all-time wins.
  • With his 22nd all-time win at the Women’s Final Four, head coach Geno Auriemma becomes the winningest coach in Women’s Final Four history, passing Pat Summit’s 21 all-time Final Four victories with Tennessee.
  • UConn became the 10th team in NCAA Tournament history to reach the national championship game undefeated and became the ninth to finish an undefeated season in the title game among those 10 teams. They joined the 1986 Texas, 1995 UConn, 1998 Tennessee, 2002 UConn, 2009 UConn, 2010 UConn, 2012 Baylor, 2014 Notre Dame and 2014 UConn squads as teams to go undefeated with a national title. The only team to not win the title after entering with a perfect record was the 2014 Notre Dame team that lost to another unbeaten team in UConn.
  • This is the third time in women’s basketball history that all three division national champions finished the year with undefeated records. Thomas More (33-0 in Division III) and Lubbock Christian (35-0 in Division II) also completed undefeated seasons with national championships this season. In 2014, UConn (40-0 in Division I), Bentley (35-0 in Division II) and FDU-Florham (33-0 in Division III) all went undefeated. In 1995, UConn (35-0 in Division I), North Dakota State, (32-0 in 1995) and Capital (33-0 in 1995) all went undefeated.

Syracuse Notes

  • Syracuse finishes the season 30-8, the most wins in school history, advancing to its first national championship game.
  • The Orange seniors won 99 games in four years, most by any class in program history.
  • Brianna Butler finishes the season with an NCAA record for three-pointers in a season (129)
  • Butler made 18 three-pointers during the NCAA Tournament, tied for the fifth-most in an NCAA Tournament.
  • Butler attempted 61 three-point field goals during the NCAA Tournament, a new record for three-point attempts in a single NCAA Tournament. That breaks the old mark of 47 held by Aubrey Eblin from Old Dominion in 1997.
  • Butler finishes her career with 373, three-point field goals, a Syracuse record and the 12th most in NCAA history.
  • Alexis Peterson had 97 field-goal attempts in the NCAA Tournament, 11th on the all-time list for FGA in an NCAA Tournament.
  • Briana Day finishes with 301 rebounds for the season, the first player in Syracuse history with multiple 300-plus rebound seasons. She had a school-record 322 in 2014-15.
  • Syracuse came into the game, No. 1 in the country in turnover margin (+10.28), forcing 24.22 turnovers per game. The Orange forced 19 turnovers in the game, tied for the most forced turnovers against Connecticut this season (Memphis on Jan. 30).

Box score


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SportsVu Stats

UConn had a whopping 399 in passes in the National Championship Game, compared to only 165 for Syracuse. Connecticut’s passing game was led by the back and forth combination of Moriah Jefferson and Brianna Stewart. Stewart and Jefferson combined for 88 passes to each other.

Team Passer Receiver Total Passes
Connecticut Moriah Jefferson Breanna Stewart 45
Connecticut Breanna Stewart Moriah Jefferson 43
Connecticut Moriah Jefferson Kia Nurse 32
Syracuse Cornelia Fondren Alexis Peterson 29
Connecticut Kia Nurse Moriah Jefferson 29
Connecticut Breanna Stewart Kia Nurse 27


Team Touches Passes Assists Hockey Assists
Connecticut 497 399 22 14
Syracuse 253 165 5 0

Hockey Assist: When a player makes the pass that leads to the pass that is an assist. Player A passes to Player B who assists Player C to score.

Syracuse Struggles on Jumpers

UConn has a lot of success when Syracuse played them close, as they shot 20-31 (65%) on contested jumpers. On the other end, Syracuse really struggled on contested jumpers, as they shot only 9-32 (28%), compared to 43% on uncontested jumpers.

Team Contested Uncontested
Connecticut 20-31 (65%) 8-23 (35%)
Syracuse 9-32 (28%) 13-30 (43%)

Distance Ran

Team Distance
Kia Nurse UConn 2.59
Breanna Stewart UConn 2.48
Moriah Jefferson UConn 2.41
Morgan Tuck UConn 2.23
Gabby Williams UConn 1.74
Brianna Butler Syracuse 2.12
Alexis Peterson Syracuse 2.07
Brittney Sykes Syracuse 2
Cornelia Fondren Syracuse 1.94
Bria Day Syracuse 1.31

Breanna Stewart Defensive Matchups

Time FG% 3P% eFG% Points
Brittney Sykes 2:14 1-3 (33%) 1-2 (50%) 50 3
Cornelia Fondren 1:44 0-1 (0%) 0-0 (0%) 0 0
Brianna Butler 1:18 0-2 (0%) 0-1 (0%) 0 0
Bria Day 1:14 2-2 (100%) 0-0 (0%) 100 4


Syracuse was able to penetrate more often than UConn, as they had 17 drives compared to only 8 for UConn. However, Syracuse did not find much success on those drives, as they managed only 0.35 Team PPP.

Player Drives Points Team Points Team PPP Shot % FG% Pass % TO%
Syracuse Brittney Sykes 8 6 6 0.75 75 50 12.5 0
Syracuse Cornelia Fondren 5 0 0 0 80 0 0 20
Syracuse Alexis Peterson 4 0 0 0 50 0 25 25
UConn Kia Nurse 3 0 0 0 0 0 100 0

Off-Dribble Jumpers

Syracuse attempted 28 jumpers off the dribbles, compared to only 6 for UConn. However Syracuse shot only 36% on those attempts.

Syracuse Orange 10 28 36%
Connecticut Huskies 4 6 67%

Ball Screens

Alexis Peterson was the ball handler on 29 ball screens versus UConn, 20 more than the next most frequent ball handler.

Ball Handler
Screens Points Team Points Team PPP Shot % FG% Pass% TO%
Alexis Peterson 29 2 15 0.63 20 20 68 8
Brittney Sykes 9 4 9 1 44.4 50 33.3 0
Moriah Jefferson 7 0 3 0.43 0 0 85.7 0
Cornelia Fondren 7 4 5 0.71 71.4 40 0 0
Brianna Butler 6 0 3 0.75 50 0 25 0
Kia Nurse 5 0 7 1.4 0 0 80 0
Maggie Morrison 4 0 0 0 33.3 0 66.7 0


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