John A: Geno calls 2001 - 02 greatest in WCBB history | The Boneyard

John A: Geno calls 2001 - 02 greatest in WCBB history

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pap49cba

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From John A.:

Geno calls the 2001-02 #UConnwomen national champs, to be honored Thursday, the greatest in the history of the sport

"No question the best team of all-time," Geno said. "Haven't seen one before or after that made me change my mind."

"What other team had a starting backcourt [Bird and Taurasi] that would later start for the Olympic team?" Geno said.

"That's like having Ruth and Gehrig in the same lineup," Geno said. "It doesn't happen that often, does it?"

"There was never a time that team {2001-02] was at loss for what to do.," said Geno

Lots of other tweets following today's practice
 

MilfordHusky

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sue-bird-and-diana-taurasi-olympics.jpg
 

alexrgct

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Time will tell as to whether Maya and Tina both start for an Olympic team, but I think they were a one-two punch at least the equal of Sue and D at the college level. However, that senior frontcourt of Swin, Asjha and Tamika was a monster. Add that to the best backcourt ever, and it's tough to top that starting lineup.

The one relative weakness of that 2002 team was that it wasn't especially deep. There were kids on the team that proved to be critical role-players on subsequent championship squads, but they didn't see a ton of meaningful minutes in 2001-02. It's possible the 2012-13 or 2013-14 teams could be as good or better for that reason. The starting five may not be quite as strong as TASS+D (though a possible 2013-14 five of seniors Stef and Bria, junior KML, and sophs Breanna and MJ wouldn't exactly be chopped liver), but the bench will be much stronger. The team will also have more length.

Tantalizing to think that a program that's produced the 2001-02 juggernaut, four undefeated national champions, and a 90-game win streak, might just have its best days ahead of it.
 

MilfordHusky

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Time will tell as to whether Maya and Tina both start for an Olympic team, but I think they were a one-two punch at least the equal of Sue and D at the college level. However, that senior frontcourt of Swin, Asjha and Tamika was a monster. Add that to the best backcourt ever, and it's tough to top that starting lineup.

The one relative weakness of that 2002 team was that it wasn't especially deep. There were kids on the team that proved to be critical role-players on subsequent championship squads, but they didn't see a ton of meaningful minutes in 2001-02. It's possible the 2012-13 or 2013-14 teams could be as good or better for that reason. The starting five may not be quite as strong as TASS+D (though a possible 2013-14 five of seniors Stef and Bria, junior KML, and sophs Breanna and MJ wouldn't exactly be chopped liver), but the bench will be much stronger. The team will also have more length.

Tantalizing to think that a program that's produced the 2001-02 juggernaut, four undefeated national champions, and a 90-game win streak, might just have its best days ahead of it.

Mindboggling.

We won 77 in a row by double-digits without the TASS group. Ruth and Gehrig were NOT part of the 90-game win streak, but Maya Moore was.
 
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No doubt an outstanding team with outstanding talent. Those who question their depth must not have a ton of respect for the likes of Jessica Moore, Ashley Battle and Maria Conlon. However, the 2001-2002 team did not play an overly challenging schedule. The Big East was void of Top 25 contenders, and their out of conference schedule consisted of three Top 10 teams, two more teams in the Top 25, and not much else; A good schedule mind you, but nowhere close to the schedule the 2009-2010 team played which included three occasions in which they went on the road to play a ranked team on Monday after playing a ranked team at home on Saturday.
 
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I gotta go with Geno on this, after all he by what so many here say is the absolute best coach and evaluator of talent in the game, and I do agree with them.
 

MilfordHusky

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When you combine arguably the best point guard with arguably the best player, that is quite a pairing.

Another measure of their performance and greatness: that duo won the first FIVE Lieberman Awards. I believe that no other school has more than 1.
 

alexrgct

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No doubt an outstanding team with outstanding talent. Those who question their depth must not have a ton of respect for the likes of Jessica Moore, Ashley Battle and Maria Conlon. However, the 2001-2002 team did not play an overly challenging schedule. The Big East was void of Top 25 contenders, and their out of conference schedule consisted of three Top 10 teams, two more teams in the Top 25, and not much else; A good schedule mind you, but nowhere close to the schedule the 2009-2010 team played which included three occasions in which they went on the road to play a ranked team on Monday after playing a ranked team at home on Saturday.
If that was directed at me, I think you misinterpreted where I said "The one relative weakness of that 2002 team was that it wasn't especially deep. There were kids on the team that proved to be critical role-players on subsequent championship squads, but they didn't see a ton of meaningful minutes in 2001-02." A) relative doesn't mean absolute, and B) I stated there were players on the team (the very ones you referenced, as it happens) who were critical to UConn's success in subsequent championship seasons, but didn't play a huge role in the rare non-blowouts in 2001-02 specifically.
 

EricLA

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i can't remember who was still injured and who was redshirting, but wasn't that team deeper than some we've had?

Sue, Swin, Ashja, Tamika
no juniors (Kennitra transferred)
Diana, Morgan V (hobbling that year), Maria
Ashley V, AB (RS), Jess (RS)

Did AB miss her sophomore year? i know JMO redshirted her freshman year to she was really the only post sub, and Maria and AB would have been the guard/wing subs...
 
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I love coach Auriemma. But the "greatest in the history of the sport"? The 2001-02 was tough. But I would love to see the 2001-02 team against the Lady Trojans from the 1983-84 squad of USC. The team that had Pamela and Paula McGee both 6'3" and good on both sides of the floor, along with that lady named Cheryl Miller. Then they had Cynthia Cooper. Plus a scrappy Rhonda Windham. Then you throw in the fact that the McGee twins, along with Cheryl, Cooper, and Windham could take you out on the perimeter, makes it a scary matchup. But if coach calls the 01-02 team the greatest, who am I to complain. :) Go, Huskies!
 
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I love coach Auriemma. But the "greatest in the history of the sport"? The 2001-02 was tough. But I would love to see the 2001-02 team against the Lady Trojans from the 1983-84 squad of USC. The team that had Pamela and Paula McGee both 6'3" and good on both sides of the floor, along with that lady named Cheryl Miller. Then they had Cynthia Cooper. Plus a scrappy Rhonda Windham. Then you throw in the fact that the McGee twins, along with Cheryl, Cooper, and Windham could take you out on the perimeter, makes it a scary matchup. But if coach calls the 01-02 team the greatest, who am I to complain. :) Go, Huskies!

That USC team was, in fact, outstanding. Rhonda Windham was as good a ball handler as anyone whoever played WCBB. 1983-1984 though. Was that not the second of two consecutive national championships for that squad? If I am remembering correctly, Windham tore her ACL that season and was replaced by a freshman point guard, whose name totally escapes me, who was more than adequate. All she had to do was bring the ball up and get the offense going. Windham did return, but was not nearly as explosive.

Cheryl Miller being active in 1986 was my primary argument against Kamie Etheridge winning the Wade Trophy. My feeling is that as long as Cheryl Miller was playing, there could not have been anyone better. My other argument was that Kamie Etheridge was not even the best player on that Longhorn team.
 
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The heart of that team, Bird, Cash, Jones and Williams were part of perhaps Geno's greatest recruiting effort. All four were ranked in the top 20 coming out of high school with Tamika Williams at #1. I think there was a fifth player too who never played much because of injuries. I don't recall her name but I believe she was in the top 20 too. She may have been from Colorado.
 

MilfordHusky

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The heart of that team, Bird, Cash, Jones and Williams were part of perhaps Geno's greatest recruiting effort. All four were ranked in the top 20 coming out of high school with Tamika Williams at #1. I think there was a fifth player too who never played much because of injuries. I don't recall her name but I believe she was in the top 20 too. She may have been from Colorado.
Keirsten Walters was top 5 or so. I think Tamika was 1, and Swin was 2. Sue was 20 or so--chuckle.
 

Icebear

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Sorry, but I don't think the USC team would have a chance because the game had changed significantly by 2002. The progression of the game has an impact that is rarely fully accounted for. If we are talking comparison peer to peer that is a different issue.
 

speedoo

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Keirsten Walters was top 5 or so. I think Tamika was 1, and Swin was 2. Sue was 20 or so--chuckle.
Sue was ranked 20 or so by Blue Star, the only recruit ranking service that published rankings back then. Mike Flynn did not like the fact that Sue played AAU ball for a competing group instead of his own team, so even though he clearly knew how good Sue was, he tried to penalize her for that choice. Around the same time, Flynn ranked two players #1 in separate classes, Nina Smith and Nicole Kaszmarski, who never did much of anything after high school, for different reasons. They of course, did play for the Blue Star AAU team, and so they were rewarded. I have zero respect for Mike Flynn.

Meanwhile, Sue, probably the best woman ever to play point guard in history, should have been ranked #1 IMO. With her in the starting backcourt as a frosh, UConn was blowing out every team they played. Like beating UCLA at UCLA by 50. But when she tore her ACL in practice one day, I knew what a great loss it was and so did Geno. Without Sue, that UConn team lost in the Sweet 16 to Iowa State, the worst NCAA performance by a UConn team in a very long time.

The HS kids Sue played against certainly knew how good she was. Lindsay Yamasaki, who was I believe #3 in that class, thought long and hard about joining with that UConn class when she heard Sue was part of it, but finally elected to stay on the West Coast and attend Stanford (Lindsay was from Oregon).
 

DaddyChoc

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Sorry, but I don't think the USC team would have a chance because the game had changed significantly by 2002. The progression of the game has an impact that is rarely fully accounted for. If we are talking comparison peer to peer that is a different issue.
same reason I say Renee, Maya, KG & Tina would beat the '02 team
 

Icebear

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same reason I say Renee, Maya, KG & Tina would beat the '02 team
I understand although I think the progression is less from 2002 to 2010 than from the early 80s to 2002. I think that is visible when watching film and in watching the WNBA today and the competitive skills of those 2002 and 2010 against each other today.
 

easttexastrash

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I have to go with Geno on this one. It was basically a starting five for a WNBA team. As far as depth, that team didn't need much more than a person to come into the game long enough for the starters to get a quick blow. One of the starters coming out still left four WNBA caliber players on the floor.

Bird, Taurasi and Cash...forget about it! Probably the three best players to ever be on the same court together. In WCBB you can usually win with two stars, like Maya and Tina. The combination of those three would have been unbeatable with almost any other two players you put on the court.
 
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I agree that Sue and DT were the best starting backcourt ever. But I do not believe they had nearly as good a frontcourt as the 2009 team. Remember the 2002 team was the same bunch of kids who got beat up by Ruth Riley and ND in the 2001 national semifinals. They did not start a true center or any player taller than 6"2".
 

VAMike23

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I think Renee's crew d'ed up better

I agree - this is why I think it's really a wash between the 2002 team and Renee's NC team, and even the following NC team. I agree with Geno that the 2002 team never looked like it 'didn't know what to do' and that by implication, 2008-2010 teams would occasionally be stuck in 1st gear, but this is more true on the offensive end than the defensive end. Particularly with the 2009-10 teams, I would give the recent teams a slight edge on the defensive end. Tina as a senior was truly a warrior in the middle, then you had players like KG and Tiff on the perimeter, plus Maya for rebounding/blocks/steals, and a young Kelly Faris who was already a great defensive player. When that team dialed up the "D" for 40 mins, I don't believe I have ever seen a finer defensive squad in WCBB. They instilled fear.

While the 2002 squad would have had no such fear, they still would have had their hands full. They were more skilled across the board but it's pretty much a "pick-em" in my book.
 

MilfordHusky

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Sue was ranked 20 or so by Blue Star, the only recruit ranking service that published rankings back then. Mike Flynn did not like the fact that Sue played AAU ball for a competing group instead of his own team, so even though he clearly knew how good Sue was, he tried to penalize her for that choice. Around the same time, Flynn ranked two players #1 in separate classes, Nina Smith and Nicole Kaszmarski, who never did much of anything after high school, for different reasons. They of course, did play for the Blue Star AAU team, and so they were rewarded. I have zero respect for Mike Flynn.

Meanwhile, Sue, probably the best woman ever to play point guard in history, should have been ranked #1 IMO. With her in the starting backcourt as a frosh, UConn was blowing out every team they played. Like beating UCLA at UCLA by 50. But when she tore her ACL in practice one day, I knew what a great loss it was and so did Geno. Without Sue, that UConn team lost in the Sweet 16 to Iowa State, the worst NCAA performance by a UConn team in a very long time.

The HS kids Sue played against certainly knew how good she was. Lindsay Yamasaki, who was I believe #3 in that class, thought long and hard about joining with that UConn class when she heard Sue was part of it, but finally elected to stay on the West Coast and attend Stanford (Lindsay was from Oregon).
Much more than I knew. Thanks.

Sue was a converted shooting guard. I think the conversion worked. :) Her sister is an M.D. Sue is smart. When she was hurt, she listed to Geno and absorbed what he said. As a PG, she won 3 Lieberman Awards, 1 NPOY award, 2 NCAA titles, and all but 4 games in 3 years. She also had a book named after her.
 

speedoo

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I agree that Sue and DT were the best starting backcourt ever. But I do not believe they had nearly as good a frontcourt as the 2009 team. Remember the 2002 team was the same bunch of kids who got beat up by Ruth Riley and ND in the 2001 national semifinals. They did not start a true center or any player taller than 6"2".
"got beat up by"? That UConn team had lost two All American seniors, Shea Ralph and Sveta very late in the season. Put either of them in that game and it's a different outcome.
 

MilfordHusky

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"got beat up by"? That UConn team had lost two All American seniors, Shea Ralph and Sveta very late in the season. Put either of them in that game and it's a different outcome.
I don't agree with "beat up" either. Against a very good team, we got away from the game plan and went ice cold. But the loss motivated them, and that would be the only NCAA tourney game that Diana would ever lose.
 
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Meanwhile, Sue, probably the best woman ever to play point guard in history, should have been ranked #1 IMO. With her in the starting backcourt as a frosh, UConn was blowing out every team they played. Like beating UCLA at UCLA by 50. But when she tore her ACL in practice one day, I knew what a great loss it was and so did Geno. Without Sue, that UConn team lost in the Sweet 16 to Iowa State, the worst NCAA performance by a UConn team in a very long time.

I actually went to that game at UCLA. The lady bruins were highly ranked going into that game and Uconn was very young but also ranked. UCLA never knew what hit them and I don't think they ever fully recovered. I don't remember them winning by 50 but they did win easily. It was the first (and only time) I attended a game at Pauley Pavillion.
 
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