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Finding perfection

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By Brian Blair

What is your definition of perfect?

This past weekend was perfect as far as the weather goes. Who could not get used to days like that? But what makes something perfect? Sometimes perfection can be arbitrary. What might be perfect to me might not be perfect to you.

Last Tuesday night in the Alamo Dome in San Antonio a basketball team did something that was perfectly perfect, again.

The University of Connecticut Lady Huskies finished off their second straight perfect season by defeating the Stanford Cardinal to claim yet another National Championship. It was the team’s 78th consecutive win. The streak is the longest ever such streak breaking the old mark of 70th straight wins set by, guess who, the Lady Huskies during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

The win last week marked the seventh time Gino Auriemma and his teams have cut the nets down since he was hired in 1985.

I know what some of you are thinking. Who cares? That is women’s basketball. Let me put this achievement into a little bit of perspective.

The only basketball team that has put up the same type of numbers would be the UCLA Bruins, who won 88 games in a row between Jan. 30, 1971, and Jan. 19, 1974. That means they won the first game of that streak almost exactly one year before I was born in January 1972 and did not lose again until I was almost 2 years old.

The longest streak in the NBA is 33 straight wins by the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1971-72 season. One has to go back a long way to find a significant winning streak in Major League Baseball. The New York Giants won 26 games in a row way back in 1916.

The longest winning streak ever by a National Hockey League Team is 17 by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1993.

In the college ranks, the Oklahoma Sooners won 47 straight contests between 1953 and 1957.

In the National Football League, the New England Patriots won 21 straight games including the regular season and the playoffs back during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Of course the Patriots finished the 2007 regular season unbeaten before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

The last professional team, of the four major sports to go unbeaten and win a championship was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins went 17-0 that season including 14 regular season games and three games in the postseason.

What the Lady Huskies have accomplished during the winning streak is extremely impressive. Because it is women’s basketball, most people have overlooked the accomplishment. It is not easy to win one game let alone 78 in a row.

What will Gino Auriemma and his team do for an encore? I don’t know. As good as the U Conn ladies program is, I would not be shocked if they added a few more games to that streak and maybe even pass the 88-game streak set by UCLA and John Wooden.

Ask Auriemma what he might think of that accomplishment and I am sure he might just say that it would be “perfect.”