If you haven’t been watching college basketball, let me tell you about the NCAA University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. These young women are among the greatest players on the planet today. Last night, in the semi-finals of the Big East conference they were sorely tested by Notre Dame. They prevailed and won by 15 points (they win by 36 points on average) exceeding their own 70-game winning streak from 2003. The UConn Huskies are unstoppable and simply gorgeous to watch.
It isn’t just the records they set—the 71 game winning streak, records in shots, blocks, and assists, player and coaching awards and accolades—it’s also their work ethic, their character, and their dedication to the team. This is in large part due to their brilliant coach, Geno Auriemma. He knows how to recruit them and how to train them.
But none of this can convey what a joy it is to watch them play. Every play is a clinic in how to handle the ball, how to pass, how to make baskets, and how to defend. They are all power, grace, and conviction.
Listen, I have never been an athlete. Those opportunities were not available to me in high school (that was before Title IX prohibited gender discrimination in all federally funded schools). But I was a feminist and I knew that until we were free to move our own bodies we would never gain independence. I was among the first to subscribe to womenSport magazine published by Billie Jean King in 1974. I recall reading stories about women basketball players, women who otherwise would never have been know outside their schools. Now, over 35 years later, the women of UConn’s basketball team are the subject of discussion even among the most stalwart masculinist sportscasters.
If you love watching the human body in motion, watch the finals of the Big East conference tonight on ESPN 7:00 E, 4:00 P. You won’t regret it.