SAN ANTONIO _ Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma has grown tired of folks saying his team's 76-game winning streak if bad for women's college basketball.
"I've worked really hard the last five or six years to not lash out at people and get defensive and be my old self,'' Auriemma said at a Saturday press conference. "And a lot of the guys that cover our team aren't too happy about that.
"They like when I make smart-ass comments and get myself in trouble and annoy everyone in America and let all those people think that I'm an arrogant ass, say, 'See, I was right.' But I've worked really hard to stay away from that stuff.''
Auriemma went on to acknowledge: "So when I say this, I don't want it to sound kind of rude or anything towards anybody. But most of the people asking those questions are gender-biased. If this was a men's team, no one would be asking that question.
"I don't remember anybody asking questions about, you know, when Tiger (Woods) was winning every major, 'Is this good for golf? Can't anybody out there beat this guy?'
"No, they couldn't. He was too damn good. Well, everybody all of a sudden had to get better. So you either get better or you just keep letting people win.''
UConn hasn't lost a game since losing to Stanford, 82-73, in the 2008 NCAA Final Four semifinals. Since then, the wins have kept stacking up to the point where Auriemma is annoyed that some people believe his team's success is hurting women's college basketball.
"And if you just keep letting us win, then, you're right, it's bad for the game,'' a sarcastic Auriemma said. "But I guarantee you, five years from now there will be a lot more good teams in America than there are today because of what we're doing.
"Just like after we won the whole thing in 1995, there are a lot more programs doing what they're doing now than there were back then. Somebody's gotta stand up there and say, 'I'll be the bad guy.' And right now I'm the bad guy.''
Only the UCLA men's team, featuring Bill Walton, has a longer winning streak in college basketball than the UConn women. UCLA won 88 straight games from 1971-'74, and the streak was praised nearly in every corner.
But UConn's streak?
"I'm the guy that everybody loves to hate,'' Auriemma said. "We're the team that everybody loves to beat.
"We're the Yankees, we're the Celtics, we're the Montreal Canadiens, we're the Russian hockey team before (losing to the USA in the) 1980 (Olympics).''
Auriemma knows streaks were made to be broken. He just hopes his team can beat Baylor at 8:30 Sunday night, and then proceed to defeat the winner of the Oklahoma-Stanford game in Tuesday's NCAA championship game.
"But everything goes away at some point,'' Auriemma said. "Everything changes. And when the change comes, it will be because somebody's paid attention to what we're doing and said, 'You know what, that's how I'm going to do it. I'm going to knock those guys off.
"And it could be this weekend. But it's going to happen, and I would like to think that we're going to help it happen, and that's good for the game.''
-- Dwain Price