STORRS, Conn. -- Sometime next season, University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma should record his 1,000th career win. The top-ranked Huskies gave him No. 977 Sunday when they routed American Athletic Conference foe Tulsa, 96-50, at Gampel Pavilion.
Before his game, Auriemma reached out to fellow Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, who won his 1,000th game with the Syracuse men Saturday when the Orange defeated Virginia at the Carrier Dome (of note, 101 of Boeheim's wins have been vacated by the NCAA).
"I texted Jim and I said, 'That's a lot of wins.' And he goes, 'Yeah, you probably did that in 20 years.' I said, 'No, not quite, but almost,' " Auriemma said with a laugh.
"But when you think about it, and I said something to CD (associate head coach Chris Dailey) ... Do you know how many games you have to coach to win 1,000 games? It's not just the 1,000 wins, it's all the other games. It's just a lot of time in the gym, a lot of time on the bus, a lot of time in practice. You think back, and how many coaches do their careers span 500 games let alone 1,000 wins?"
Auriemma, in his 32nd season at UConn, has a record of 977-134 and his winning percentage of .879 is the best among women's coaches all time.
The Tulsa win tied him with Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer for fourth on the all-time women's list. Stringer, in her 45th season overall and 22nd at Rutgers, owns a 977-383 (.718) record. Auriemma can pass Stringer, at least temporarily, Tuesday when the Huskies visit Cincinnati. The Scarlet Knights do not play again until Wednesday when they host Indiana.
Since Stringer took over at Rutgers for the 1995-96 season, Auriemma has won more games with the Huskies (750) than Stringer has coached with the Scarlet Knights (705).
The late Tennessee coach Pat Summitt tops the all-time wins list at 1,098. Stanford's Tara VanDerveer reached 1,000 Friday when the Cardinal, paced by Karlie Samuelson's 21 points, topped USC. North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell is at 988 wins.
"It's the consistency you have to have to win that many games," Auriemma said. "The same goes for Tara VanDerveer. You have to be consistent. It's a certain level of consistency that's really, really, really hard to match. It's hard to do. There are a lot of coaches that have great teams here and there. To win 1,000 games, you have to have an unbelievable basketball program."
Auriemma's Huskies (22-0 overall, 10-0 AAC) are three wins away from their 24th consecutive 25-win campaign. In 21 of the previous 23 seasons, they've reached 30 wins. Eleven times they've won 35 games in a season.
UConn has the three longest winning streaks in NCAA history -- the current 97, 90 (2008-10), and 70 (2001-03). It has not lost back-to-back games since March, 1993 -- a span of 871 games entering Tuesday. The only losing season the Huskies have had under Auriemma was his first in 1985-86 (12-15).
AAC HONORS COLLIER
Napheesa Collier just missed getting her third-straight double-double on Sunday. But on Monday the Huskies' sophomore forward was named the AAC Player of the Week for the third time this season.
The St. Peters, Missouri, native averaged 24.5 points on 81.5 percent shooting from the floor and 9.5 rebounds in UConn's wins over Temple and Tulsa. She had 25 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals against the Owls last Wednesday, and 24 points, nine rebounds, and three assists against the Golden Hurricane Sunday.
On the season, Collier is second in the AAC in scoring (19.3), fifth in rebounds (8.3), first in field-goal percentage (67.5), eighth in steals (2.0), and second in blocked shots (1.7).
She shares the league lead in Player of the Week awards with teammate Katie Lou Samuelson. UConn's Gabby Williams and South Florida's Kitija Laksa have won in twice each.
Named to the AAC weekly honor roll were Houston's Jacqueline Blake, Memphis' Brea Elmore, USF's Maria Jespersen, SMU's Morgan Bolton, and Temple's Tanaya Atkinson.
Tulsa forward Kendrian Elliott was the AAC Freshman of the Week.
WALKER A NAISMITH SEMIFINALIST
UConn Class of 2017 signee and McDonald's All-American Megan Walker is among 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy as the high school girls national Player of the Year.
Walker (6-foot-1 wing from Chesterfield, Virginia) has led Monacan High to a 20-0 start and is averaging 25.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.3 steals per game according to maxpreps.com.
The other semifinalists Rellah Boothe (Texas), Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M), Rennia Davis (Tennessee), Dana Evans (Louisville), Anastasia Hayes (Tennessee), Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA), Chasity Patterson (Texas), Evina Westbrook (Tennessee), and Kiana Williams (Stanford). The five finalists will be announced on Feb. 21.
Samuelson (2015) was the last UConn player to win the Naismith Trophy.
UConn maintained its spot atop the Associated Press top 25 for the 10th consecutive week (the ninth straight week unanimously) in the poll released Monday.
The Huskies (22-0), who received 33 first-place votes, play two AAC games this week as they visit Cincinnati Tuesday (SNY, 7 p.m.) and host SMU at Gampel Pavilion Saturday (SNY, 2 p.m.). They entertain South Carolina in Storrs on Feb. 13.
Baylor (23-1) came within two points of being the unanimous No. 2 pick. The Bears' only loss this season was to UConn at Gampel Pavilion on Nov. 17. Maryland (23-1) remained third. The Terrapins, whose only loss was to UConn at the Xfinity Center in College Park on Dec. 29, received the two second-place votes Baylor did not get along with 28 third-place votes and three fourth-place votes.
Mississippi State (23-1) and Florida State (21-2) each moved up one spot to round out the top five. The Seminoles have won 20 of 21 games since a loss to UConn in Tallahassee on Nov. 14.
South Carolina (20-2), Notre Dame (21-3), Stanford (20-3), Oregon State (22-2), and Washington (22-3) complete the top 10.
USF (18-4) dropped two spots to No. 22 following its loss to Memphis Sunday. Also receiving votes was Temple (17-5), which rebounded from its 28-point loss to UConn with a convincing win at Tulane Sunday. The Owls had nine points, up from three a week ago.
Three teams -- No. 21 Michigan (19-5), No. 24 Tennessee (15-8), and No. 25 Kansas State (17-7) joined the poll with Kentucky, Green Bay, and West Virginia dropping out.
Collier, Samuelson, and Williams were among 10 players added to the WBCA's Wade Trophy watch list on Monday. Kia Nurse was already on the original 25-player watch list from the preseason. Breanna Stewart won the Wade Trophy in 2015 and 2016, while Maya Moore was a three-time winner (2009-11) ... UConn was not called for a foul in the first half on Sunday. When Williams was whistled for a foul 1:01 into the third quarter, Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman went down her bench giving high fives to her assistant coaches and reserves ... Freshman Crystal Dangerfield, in her second game back after missing five with a stress reaction in her left foot, played 27 minutes and had six points and six assists ... UConn's lead in the AAC is at 2.5 games. The Huskies are 10-0 in league play while USF and Temple share second at 7-2.