The 2010-11 season overflowed with promise of a potential fourth consecutive Final Four, promise of perhaps a third straight national title, promise of an astounding senior season from
But there was something else, and it promised to hover over the program all season.
approached their opener against Holy Cross on a 78-game winning streak, dating to their loss to
in the national semifinals of the 2008 Final Four in
That left an already historically accomplished program on the precipice of the iconic 88-game winning streak assembled by
's UCLA men from 1971-74.
And from the start of the season, every UConn press conference featured at least one, and usually more, inquiries about how the pursuit of Wooden would impact the Huskies.
It was, it would be, the sliver buried deep in
's thumb -- terribly annoying.
On top of that, critics from men's basketball, insulted by the threat Auriemma's program posed to Wooden's legacy, fired away as if UConn had crashed a private fraternity party.
"I don't expect the men's world to embrace this, if we get there," Auriemma said before the season. "I don't expect anyone to embrace anything we do."
The countdown began Nov. 14, 2010, with a 117-37 win over the Crusaders at
. And it then leaped potential obstacles; Baylor and 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner and a tough road game at Georgia Tech that left the Huskies with 81 straight wins heading into the Thanksgiving weekend.
Finally, appropriately, the Huskies traveled to
on Dec. 19 to play 11th-ranked
in the Maggie Dixon Classic, hoping to tie the record. UConn blasted the Buckeyes, 81-50.
And then on Dec. 21 at the
, a capacity crowd watched Moore almost singlehandedly carry UConn to the record. She scored 41 points to lead the Huskies to the 93-62 win that gave them win No. 89.
"Doing something 89 times in a row?" UConn's
said. "Well, I guess I can say now that it can be done."
The number would be extended once more at the University of Pacific before ending at an even 90 during a lackluster loss at Stanford on Dec. 30.
"All I can say is that we made you pay attention." Auriemma said. "Nobody had to [pay attention], but you did."
That settled, the Huskies refocused on more earthly goals. After dealing with the departure of freshman
following a win over
on Jan. 15, they pushed forward.
The Huskies ended the regular season 29-1, another perfect
season (16-0) in their travel bag as they headed to the Big East tournament.
There they knocked off
to win the Big East championship for the 17th time.
At 32-1, UConn earned the
's overall No. 1 seed and an assignment to the
Regional that began with wins over Hartford and Purdue at Gampel Pavilion and Georgetown and Duke at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
The Huskies were in the Final Four for the 12th time. And there waiting was the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, whom they had defeated three times.
UConn would not win a fourth time. The Irish ended the Huskies' season with a convincing 72-63 win.