New Orleans — To think it was but a month ago when what felt like unfathomable losses to Notre Dame left the UConn women staring at the progressive deterioration of possibilities for this season.
Could they win close games anymore?
Had coach Geno Auriemma lost his fastball?
And then came Tuesday night at New Orleans Arena when the UConn women authored a rout, erasing any doubt.
The Huskies disposed of Big East rival Louisville, 93-60, winning the program's eighth national championship.
"It wasn't easy. They were able to conquer some things that are hard to conquer," Auriemma said.
Freshman Breanna Stewart, who dazzled the crowd with an array of three-point shots and one-armed rebounds, became the first freshman (and third in the history of the game) to be named the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four since Tonya Edwards (1987, Tennessee).
Stewart, who scored a career-high 29 points during UConn's 83-65 semifinal win over Notre Dame, backed that up with a game-high 23 points and nine rebounds against Louisville.
She was joined in double figures by Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who made five 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, senior Kelly Faris (14), Bria Hartley(13) and Stefanie Dolson (12).
Senior Heather Buck, a graduate of Stonington High School, was part of her third national championship team at UConn. Buck became part of an elite list of 14 players in women's basketball history to play on three national championship teams.
Buck joins teammate Caroline Doty and former UConn players Diana Taurasi, Morgan Valley, Maria Conlon, Ashley Valley, Ashley Battle, Jessica Moore and Stacey Marron and former Tennessee players Laurie Milligan, Misty Greene, Brynae Laxton, Chamique Holdsclaw and Kellie Jolly.