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  • 24 April 2019
    STORRS, Conn. -- With its road win over second-ranked Notre Dame on Wednesday, UConn has opened the 2016-17 season at 8-0 to extend its current winning streak to 83 games.The 72-61 victory over the Fighting Irish marked the second time this season the Huskies -- ranked third in the AP Top 25 preseason poll -- beat the nations No. 2 team.Prior to the Nov. 17 matchup with then-No. 2 Baylor, UConn coach Geno Auriemma said: Im somewhat realistic about what my expectation level is. Im realistic about what we can do, and I think the previous couple of years we would sit here and tell you that we were the favorite to win the national championship. Thats not the case this year. I know it, and I think everyone on our team knows it.But lets be realistic: Its time to talk about the Huskies being the favorites -- again.Weve seen this movie before. When Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tamika Williams and Asjha Jones graduated after winning the 2002 national championship with a perfect 39-0 record, many thought the Huskies would be down on their luck the next year.The AP preseason poll ranked the 2003 Huskies fourth; the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll had UConn third. The Huskies werent supposed to extend a 39-game winning streak to 70. They werent supposed to go 37-1. They definitely werent supposed to win their second consecutive NCAA championship.Of course, a lot of things were different 14 years ago.The 2003 championship marked the programs fourth title. The Huskies now have 11. Their streak of 70 consecutive victories was the longest in Division I womens basketball history. UConn has since shattered its own record; it owns the top spot in all of Division I basketball, having unseated the 88-game streak the UCLA men put together (1971 to 74) with a 90-game winning streak from 2009 to 11.And most of all, in 2003, UConn had Diana Taurasi and no one else did.While Taurasi was the primary reason for UConns championship-level success in 2003 (and 2004), the defining characteristic of the 2003 squad was the fact that its composition worked (Taurasi averaged 17.6 points per game). It just so happened that its composition required Wonder Woman in the form of a basketball player.There is obviously no Taurasi at UConn this season, and quite frankly, there doesnt need to be. What makes this version of the Huskies work is how malleable they are. They create matchup difficulties all over the floor.Gabby Williams primarily plays inside but is increasingly stepping out to the perimeter, and she can guard pretty much anyone. Sophomore forward Napheesa Colliers movement off the ball and quickness make her difficult to guard for traditional forwards and centers.The perimeter doesnt get much more friendly with 6-foot-3 sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson and 6-foot junior Kia Nurse. Overall, size inside has the potential to be a big problem for UConn, but its quickness is a problem for everyone else.The most concerning thing for the Huskies is that their offense has stalled for atypical stretches, especially when Collier is not in the mix. Collier is averaging 19.1 points per game (Samuelson is right behind at 19.0 PPG), and when she is on the floor producing, Collier opens up the perimeter for Samuelson and Nurse. Without her on the floor, UConn struggles, as it did in the second quarter against Notre Dame (the Irish outscored the Huskies 20-11).And dont underestimate the intangibles. For the first time in years, UConn has gotten to play as the underdog. When the season started, few expected the Huskies to win another championship this year, and that has proven to matter.The differences my first two years and this year in the expectations people have for us, thats something that I play with a chip on my shoulder about, Nurse said before the Baylor game.Those expectations have already begun to shift, as reflected in UConn jumping Notre Dame for the No. 1 spot in the rankings this past week, despite the Irish remaining unbeaten at the time. It took the 2003 Huskies 13 weeks to top the rankings, doing so as the only remaining unbeaten team.This does not mean that UConn is somehow impenetrable. The Huskies still have to play at No. 4 Maryland (Dec. 29), home versus No. 6 South Carolina (Feb. 13), and home versus No. 12 Ohio State (Dec. 19). They could also lose unexpectedly, akin to the Huskies Big East championship loss to Villanova in 2003.In the grand scheme of things, 2003 probably doesnt matter that much to this crop of Huskies, but that teams success shows just how far they could go. Discount Yeezy 350 . Ibaka equaled a career high with 20 rebounds, adding four blocked shots and 15 points as the Thunder smothered the Milwaukee Bucks offence in a 92-79 victory Saturday night. Clearance Yeezy 350 . Defencemen Drew Doughty, Shea Weber and forward Ryan Getzlaf also scored for the Canadians, who started their gold-medal defence 2-0. Goalie Roberto Luongo, getting the call in place of Game 1 starter Carey Price, was solid when needed in making 23 saves for the shutout. . "I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates," said Hejduk in a statement. Cheap Yeezy 350 . The news was first reported on Gonzalezs Twitter account and confirmed by the Rockies. Gonzalez has a six-week window before position players have their first workout at spring training in Arizona. Wholesale Yeezys Free Shipping . 1 position. The Mustangs (6-0), who beat Queens 50-31 last weekend, earned 17 first-place votes and 287 points in voting by the Football Reporters of Canada. Western was last ranked first in the country in October 2011. TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Even Nick Saban sometimes has to deliver an I told you so to his team, along with a few other choice words.No. 1 Alabamas slow-starting 31-3 victory over FCS team Chattanooga on Saturday night was one of those times.Jalen Hurts passed for three touchdowns and rushed for 68 yards, but the Crimson Tide (11-0) spotted the Mocs (8-3) the games first three points and didnt really shake them until late in the third quarter. The defense had a more Bama-like performance, and hasnt given up a touchdown in 13 quarters.Sabans halftime message after a week of trying to get his players to take Chattanooga seriously: I said, `Do you believe me now?Id been telling them all week, Saban said. The rest wed better bleep out.Hurts was 15 of 21 for 136 yards a week after torching Mississippi State for 347 yards. He had a 47-yard TD pass to Calvin Ridley and added two 1-yarders to Gehrig Dieter, including one in the final minutes that made the score look a little closer to what most expected. Hurts set Alabamas single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback.Damien Harris rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown and Ridley gained 94 yards on seven catches.Alabama wide receiver ArDarius Stewart did not play in the game, and Saban indicated he was held out because sometimes we have players that have a violation of our standard of behavior.It was a milestone win for Saban, whose 41-5 record as the No. 1 team gives him the most of any coach. He had been tied with Ohio States Woody Hayes (40-4-1) and Florida States Bobby Bowden (40-5).This one came after a string of more impressive performances against Southeastern Conference opponents.I worried about it all week long, Saban said. When youre playing conference games every week and youre playing big games every week, its really hard to get guys not to have a letdown.Chattanoogas first-quarter field goal put Alabama behind for the first time since Kentucky scored the first three points on Oct. 1. The Mocs trailed just 14-3 until deep into the third quarter before Harris raced 25 yards for a touchdown.ddddddddddddAlejandro Bennifield completed 16 of 21 passes for 106 yards for the Mocs, who sacked Hurts three times.I remember playing them here in 2013 and barely recording a first down, Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman said. They have got a really good football team, and they probably slept walked coming into this game. I am not trying to think that they were all jacked up to play Chattanooga, but our guys were pretty excited to play, and I am awful proud of them.Alabama wasnt exactly pushing the Mocs around early. Chattanooga stopped two runs from the 1-yard line in the second quarter before Hurts rolled right on fourth down and hit Dieter in the end zone for a 14-3 lead.That was set up by a muffed punt at the 9.I guess we just underestimated them, Ridley said.THE TAKEAWAYChattanooga: Was almost even in total yards with Alabama midway through the third quarter. Didnt allow a sack to a defense that came in with the most in the nation.Alabama: It was probably the least impressive performance of the season, considering what `Bama is expected to do to FCS teams. Left tackle Cam Robinson and backup Korren Kirven, who started at right guard, both left late with shoulder injuries. Saban expects them to be able to play in the Iron Bowl.POLL IMPLICATIONSChattanooga: Came in ranked No. 11 in the FCS coaches poll and shouldnt be judged much for this one.Alabama: Still a lock to be No. 1 in the AP poll and playoff rankings, especially with teams behind Tide struggling.UP NEXTChattanooga: Finished the regular season and awaits its playoff fate.Alabama: Hosts Auburn in the Iron Bowl seeking a third straight win over its in-state rival.---More AP college football: and ' ' '