Only a couple weeks into the season, women’s college basketball has already seen some of the top teams around the country be taken down by their underdog counterparts. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma believes college fans should get used to it.
“You’re going to see that happen more and more,” Auriemma told ESPN. “Hell, that’s what everybody’s saying we need, right? It happens all the time in men’s basketball.
“What we don’t need is when that does happen, to go, ‘Ah, that team’s not any good. How could they lose to that team?’ Well, damn, you can’t have it both ways. Either the favorites win all the time and there’s no parity, or the other guys win and you go, ‘Let’s celebrate those guys that won and don’t b**** about the guys that lost.’ That’s what we’re all striving for.”
Tennessee, Texas and Louisville, all of whom have appeared in the top-seven in the Associated Press’ top-25 rankings, have lost to teams ranked underneath them. The parity in women’s college basketball has elevated over the last few years as teams like UConn aren’t the perennial favorites to win every single.
“I don’t know if there’s as many great teams as there used to be back in the day, but there’s certainly more good teams that are capable of beating the other good teams,” Auriemma said. “And they come from places that you wouldn’t expect in years past.”
Auriemma hinted at the COVID season giving certain players an extra year of eligibility and the new transfer culture in the league is affecting the 2022-23 season already.
“I think there’s a combination of things,” Auriemma said. “Coaching has gotten a whole hell of a lot better, and players are more confident. There’s no conceding anything or [thinking] ‘We’ve never beaten them.’ Creighton proved it last year [making the NCAA Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed.] It doesn’t matter. You’ve just got to be good, man.”