AUDIE CORNISH, host: To sports now.
(Soundbite of cheering)
Unidentified Man: And Connecticut has done it. They have equaled UCLA. They have won 88 in a row.
CORNISH: That was the call from last night's record-tying performance by the University of Connecticut women's basketball team. The top-ranked Huskies devastated number 10, Ohio state, 81 to 50.
UConn already had a record-winning streak(连胜) among women's teams. As we heard, this latest victory means they now share a record 88 consecutive wins with a legendary men's team; the UCLA Bruins did it in the early '70s.
Joining me now is Michelle Smith. She's a senior sportswriter for AOL FanHouse.
Michelle, welcome to the program.
Ms. MICHELLE SMITH (Senior Sportswriter, AOL FanHouse): Thank you for having me.
CORNISH: Michelle, winning 88 in a row would be probably a big deal no matter how you did it...
Ms. SMITH: Yes.
CORNISH: ...but the Huskies tend to win by an average of, like, 25 points per game. So why are they so much better than everyone else?
Ms. SMITH: Well, they've recruited well. They've had some great players. I think there's a lot of confidence that comes with winning. There are players on that team now who have never lost a game in a Connecticut uniform. But, you know, I think part of it is the talent pool. I think Geno Auriemma has been able to recruit well and concentrate some of the talent up there at Connecticut. And I would say that there's more talent in women's basketball than ever before. But I almost think that because some of that talent is spreading across teams across the country, it's diluted the power teams a little bit, which I think is great for a lot of programs, but maybe not great for the top programs.
CORNISH: So the wins are good for UConn. But I mean, are they really good for the women's sport?
Ms. SMITH: Well, you know, I think in a sense they are. I think people will look at it and say, wow, Connecticut's so much better than everybody else. The rest of the sport must be bad. But I think that what Connecticut is doing is raising the bar for everybody else. I think if Connecticut is going to play that well, then Tennessee and Stanford and Ohio State and Baylor all have to raise their game. They're going to have to recruit better. They're going to have to be better, and I think ultimately that's probably good for women's basketball.
CORNISH: At the same time, this issue of competitiveness has also come up amongst sportswriters in terms of discussing whether this winning streak is truly comparable to the UCLA men's team of the '70s, and I want to just bring up the quote from Coach Geno Auriemma of UConn. He said it's - they're getting attention because we're breaking a men's record. We've got a lot of people paying attention. If we're breaking a women's record, everybody would go: Aren't those girls nice? Let's give them two paragraphs in USA Today, you know, give them one line on the bottom of ESPN and then let's send them back where they belong, in the kitchen.
Does he have a point there about why we're paying attention to this, or is he kind of taking it over the top?
Ms. SMITH: Gosh, we love Geno. He's so good for the notebook.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Ms. SMITH: He is making a point - and I think it's a valid point - about how people have viewed this record and what kind of the conversation has been in the run-up to what Connecticut has been able to do. They are different sports. They are different games. I mean, you know, there's certainly - you can talk about the generalities: the women's game being played below the rim, the men's game being played above the rim.
But if you want to go through - comb through those statistics and compare what UCLA and what UConn have done, Connecticut's won by a larger margin of victory. But in the early '70s, UCLA stayed mostly on the West Coast to play its games, and the NCAA Tournament had 24 teams in it. They're different eras. You just have to look at the achievement for what it is and not place it up against somebody that did something the same. It is a record, and they own that record. Just respect the record, I think, is where I've been with all of this.
CORNISH: That's Michelle Smith. She's a senior sportswriter for AOL FanHouse.
Michelle, thanks so much.
Ms. SMITH: Thank you.
CORNISH: And tomorrow night, the Huskies have the opportunity for their 89th consecutive win in a home game against Florida State.