UCLA’s aspirations against Connecticut’s women’s basketball team have gone from ending a streak to preserving one.
The Bruins became another notch in the win column for the Huskies last season before UConn’s record 111-game winning streak was snapped by Mississippi State in a national semifinal game.
Now it’s UCLA that wants to extend a lengthy winning streak when the fifth-ranked Bruins (3-0) meet top-ranked UConn (3-0) on Tuesday night in Pauley Pavilion during a game nationally televised by ESPNU. UCLA has won 32 consecutive home games, the second-longest active home winning streak in the nation behind UConn’s 67-game winning streak inside Gampel Pavilion.
The Huskies aren’t bad on the road either. Their 38-game road winning streak that dates to 2014 is the longest in the history of women’s college basketball. (The loss to Mississippi State was on a neutral court.)
UConn also has ended three of the longest home winning streaks in the sport, defeating Stanford in 2012 to end the Cardinal’s 82-game winning streak; defeating Tennessee in 1996 to end the Lady Vols’ 69-game winning streak and defeating Baylor in 2014 to end the Bears’ 69-game winning streak.
UCLA has already achieved a couple of notable breakthroughs in the season’s early going. The Bruins’ 82-68 victory over then-No. 3 Baylor on Saturday was their first triumph over the Bears since 1996 and their first victory over a top-three team since 2008, ending a 0-22 slide.
UCLA senior point guard Jordin Canada was named the Pac-12 Conference’s player of the week after collecting 20 points and 13 rebounds against Baylor.
UConn figures to be a tougher test even if All-American Katie Lou Samuelson, a Huntington Beach native who starred at Santa Ana Mater Dei High, is sidelined, as expected, because of a foot injury.
The Huskies have routed three nationally ranked teams, winning each game by at least 25 points. Kia Nurse scored 21 points and was one of six players to reach double figures Sunday during UConn’s 97-72 victory over Maryland.
UConn is 4-0 all time against UCLA, including an 86-71 victory over the Bruins last March in the NCAA tournament’s Bridgeport Regional. UCLA led for nearly six minutes before the Huskies did what they usually do, home or away: pull away for the victory.
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch