When Was the Last Time Connecticut Women’s Basketball Missed the Final Four?
On Monday, Connecticut returned to the Final Four yet again after narrowly overcoming Baylor. A controversial no-call in the final seconds of the showdown helped tip the scales in the Huskies’ favor, but it doesn’t really matter how it happened – it happened. But when was the last time Connecticut women’s basketball missed the Final Four?
Connecticut Women’s Basketball Last Non-Final Four Season
The last time Connecticut women’s basketball missed the Final Four was 2007 – 14 years ago. After defeating Baylor, the program reached its 13th-straight Final Four (no tournament in 2020 meant no Final Four to make), an unreal accomplishment. But the 2006-07 squad came up just short of the national semifinals mark.
Renee Montgomery was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 13.3 points per game for the campaign. It was Tina Charles who shot the most efficiently on the squad, though, with a 59 percent clip on 190-of-322 shooting from the field in the 2006-07 season. Charles was also UConn’s top rebounder with 8.2 per contest and rim protector at 2.3 blocks per night, and Montgomery was the team’s premier passer, averaging 4.5 assists per outing.
Coming off of an Elite Eight appearance the March before, the Huskies were preseason top 10 with aims at that and then some for the upcoming 2006-07 season. They won their first 11 games of the campaign, including victories over No. 9 Purdue, 66-55, and a 84-26 destruction at Georgetown, their first Big East triumph of the year. But when UConn met No. 4 Tennessee in Hartford, Connecticut, the perfect record came to an end as Pat Summitt’s team toppling the Huskies, 70-64, in the most recent game the two stories programs played against one another until 2020.
Connecticut women’s basketball picked up a couple more Ws against Seton Hall and Syracuse before dropping the second game of its season, an 82-76 defeat at No. 2 North Carolina. It would be the final time the team would lose until March.
The team rattled off 13-straight wins before the Big East Tournament, topping a bevy of ranked opponents in that span, including No. 16 Marquette (52-48), No. 7 LSU (72-71) and No. 21 Rutgers (70-44) on the road and No. 23 Rutgers (60-50) and No. 20 Louisville (84-56) at home. The one-point victory at LSU broke the Tigers’ 43-game home winning streak, too. Connecticut finished with an unblemished 16-0 Big East record, good for the regular season championship and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament that was to be held in Hartford.
The Huskies dispatched South Florida, 74-54, in their first game of the Big East Tournament, then dismantled No. 23 Louisville, 76-50, in their second outing. Just Rutgers stood in UConn’s way of the title, but the Scarlet Knights played spoiler, handing the team its third loss of the season, 55-47.
The committee awarded Connecticut women’s basketball and its 29-3 record with the No. 1 seed in the Fresno Region. The Huskies easily took care of No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round in Hartford, 82-33, then faced much stiffer competition in the second round from No. 9 seed Green Bay. Still, the game wasn’t particularly close, ending in favor of UConn, 94-70, securing the program’s 14th-consecutive Sweet 16.
In the second weekend, No. 4 seed North Carolina State stood as UConn’s first challenger. The Wolfpack offered by up far the toughest out for the Huskies up to that point, but they weren’t enough to advance. Connecticut won the game, 78-71, to get back to the Elite Eight for the second time in a row and seventh time in eight years.
That is where the run would end, though. No. 3 seed LSU, whom Connecticut had defeated during the regular season, was back for revenge, and the Tigers got it. And it wasn’t particularly close, either.
The Tigers wrecked UConn, 73-50, to get to their fourth-straight Final Four. Sylvia Fowles was a nightmare for Connecticut to deal with, scoring 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting and hauling in 15 rebounds. UConn shot just 33 percent from the field, its worst clip of the campaign.
In every NCAA Tournament since, Connecticut women’s basketball has reached at least the Final Four, an absolutely incredible streak that has to be considered one of the most impressive runs in North American sports history. The next step for the current UConn team will be to win the team’s first national championship since 2017.