UConn women’s basketball: The Huskies' record winning streak ends at 111 games

After 111 games, including two national championship runs, the UConn women's basketball team has lost a game. The program's record winning streak, stretching back to 2014, was snapped in Friday's Final Four matchup between the Huskies and Mississippi State with the Bulldogs coming out with a 66-64 overtime win on a buzzer-beating jumper from Morgan William. MSU will now face South Carolina in the national championship game, ending UConn's four-year title run.

Before Friday's setback, UConn's 111-game winning streak was a dominating journey filled with countless blowouts against stiff competition. UConn set the DI basketball record with its 91st straight win over SMU on Jan. 14.

Here are some mind-boggling numbers to come out of UConn's streak:

867: Days between UConn losses. The Huskies' streak started with a 96-60 win over Creighton in Storrs, Connecticut on Nov. 23, 2014. UConn would finish 38-1 that banner season.

108: Double-digit wins during the streak. That leaves just three victories that came down to the wire for the Huskies. It was a lot of smooth sailing.

81: Wins while ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25. The Huskies were never ranked lower than No. 3 during the streak.

80: Consecutive wins in AAC play. UConn still hasn't lost in conference play since the AAC was formed in 2013-14 — a year before the winning streak started.

65: Largest margin of victory during the streak. UConn's biggest blowout came in a 103-37 shellacking against No. 20 South Florida on Jan. 10. That victory gave the Huskies their 90th straight, tying the all-time record.

61: Victories by at least 40 points. USF wasn't alone in being simply overmatched.

46: Win streak before UConn's last loss before this year's Final Four. The Huskies' second-to-last defeat came on Nov. 17, 2014 in an overtime thriller against long-time rival Stanford. That ended a respectable 46-game run.

38: Consecutive road victories during the stretch. The Huskies boast the three best road streaks in women's basketball history. Their current mark — which doesn't include neutral site play — surpassed the 34 straight road victories achieved by the program from 2000-04. The streak also passed the men's record (36), which was achieved by Kansas from 1924-28.

29: Ranked teams beaten during this streak. With all these games against elite foes with equal Final Four aspirations at the end of each respective season, there had to be at least one setback right? Not until Friday night.

23: More wins than the men's record. The UCLA men's team, led by coach John Wooden, won 88 straight games from 1970-74.  UConn now has two separate win streaks that surpass that total.

11: Ranked teams beaten this season. UConn's nonconference schedule was unforgiving to open the season, but that didn't stop the No. 1 Huskies. UConn knocked off No. 12 Florida State, No. 2 Baylor, No. 15 DePaul, No. 14 Texas, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 12 Ohio State, No. 4 Maryland, No. 20 USF and No. 6 South Carolina in the regular season. In the NCAA tournament, the Huskies dispatched No. 21 Syracuse and No. 15 UCLA.

9: Wins over top five opponents. The Huskies beat then-No. 2 Baylor, then-No. 2 Notre Dame and then-No. 4 Maryland this season alone.

2: Least amount of points allowed in a single quarter during the streak. UConn held SMU to two points in the opening quarter of the record 91st straight win.

2: National titles won during streak. The Huskies have reached 10 consecutive Final Fours and won four straight championships from 2012-16.

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Shocking! Mississippi State Does The Unthinkable: Stops Streaking UConn 66-64 In OT

The ball floated through the air as the last second ticked off the clock, the record winning streak and a historic championship run hanging in the balance.

As the buzzer sounded and the ball settled in the net, it was over.

The game. The winning streak. The title run. The season.

The team that spent the season finding a way to surprise the world was out of answers. Morgan William's running jumper as overtime ended made history — Mississippi State handed UConn its first loss since Nov. 17, 2014, ending the 111-game winning streak.

As the Bulldogs celebrated a 66-64 win Friday night, the young Huskies walked off the court with their shoulders slouched. After 36 wins through an improbable run this season, the Huskies were losers.

"I'm proud of our team, I'm proud of our kids," Geno Auriemma said. "They had an incredible run, but we came up against a much better team tonight."

The four-time defending national champion Huskies weren't supposed to be No. 1 in the country for much of the season. After graduating three elite players, UConn returned a young roster. Players would serve new roles while the team attempted to survive with little depth and a short bench.

They managed, navigating a difficult nonconference schedule early in the season. They extended the winning streak and moved through March with confidence.

But they faced a tough and experienced team in the national semifinal. Mississippi State (34-4) led by as many as 16 in the first half and answered every UConn run throughout the second half.

In overtime, Katie Lou Samuelson tied the game with two free throws after officials called a flagrant foul on an earlier play. On the ensuing possession, senior Saniya Chong drove to the basket and threw up an off-balance shot that never quite elevated.

Mississippi State took the ball with 12 seconds left. William, coming off a 41-point performance in a win over Baylor in the regional final, took the ball and drove past Gabby Williams, perhaps the best defensive player in the country.

The basket won the game. Auriemma watched and smiled.

"I know how to appreciate when other people win," Auriemma said.

Williams had 21 points to lead UConn. Victoria Vivians had 19 to lead Mississippi State.

A year ago, UConn beat Mississippi State by 60 points in the NCAA Tournament. That was a motivator for the Bulldogs.

"We believe in our locker room that it would be done," Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said.

Schaefer said his team beat the greatest team with the greatest streak in the history of sports. Auriemma said what unfolded in the national semifinal was what he feared all season, his young players playing like young players.

Sophomores Samuelson (15 points) and Napheesa Collier (11 points) struggled to find their rhythm. The Huskies dealt with foul trouble and Auriemma watched as UConn rode a 12-0 first-half run to cut the lead.

They trailed 36-28 at halftime. Auriemma said they were lucky it was that close. It was the second time this season the Huskies trailed at halftime. They also trailed Florida State at halftime in the first game of the season.

In the second half, UConn could never quite seize control. Mississippi State continually made shots.

"When you get to this point in the season and you lose, it's the worst feeling imaginable," Auriemma said. "The excitement that was in the Mississippi State locker room, we've been there. We've been there lots of times. ... Today they deserved to win. They beat us. We had our chances but they beat us We didn't have the kind of maturity."

Auriemma has been cautioning that UConn's youth would reveal itself. It happened at a bad time. It was 60-60 at the end of regulation. The Huskies missed their first six shots in overtime.

But they were still in a position to win in the final minute. In the end, the team that scratched out a two-point win in the first game of the season fell short.

"I'm proud of what they've been able to do and how much they changed since last October," Auriemma said. "These kids were way older than they were supposed to be."

Four starters return next season. Williams and Kia Nurse, who have been on the team for all of the 111-game streak, will be seniors.

"It's been quite a fun ride," Nurse said. "It's been a challenge but we handled it pretty well."

It was the first Final Four overtime game since Notre Dame beat UConn in the 2012 national semifinal. It was UConn's third overtime loss in the Final Four and fourth in the NCAA Tournament.

Mississippi State will play for the NCAA title against South Carolina Sunday. UConn turns its attention to next season.

"I'm really proud of what we've done," Williams said.

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