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UConn could surpass UCLA's record Tuesday night

Freshman guard Bria Hartley, left, a former North

Freshman guard Bria Hartley, left, a former North Babylon star, is hoping to help the Huskies win their 89th straight game on Tuesday. Photo Credit: AP

UCLA's 88-game winning streak had just been snapped by Notre Dame in 1974 when Bruins coach John Wooden was asked how long it would be before somebody beat the streak.

"I have no idea how long it will be before somebody else wins that many. I know it takes at least three years," he replied.

Try nearly 37 years. And the University of Connecticut women's team can do it Tuesday.

Coach Geno Auriemma and his players - just Huskies, never the Lady Huskies - have been so dominant that some in the sports world have even suggested their overwhelming success is no good for the game.

Auriemma took the debate a step further Sunday after UConn's 88th straight win, questioning whether there is a gender bias against his team.

"The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record, and everybody is all up in arms about it," he said.

There is no dispute, however, that the streak has raised the profile of women's basketball by daring to compare UConn's accomplishment to one of the most revered numbers in sports history orchestrated by one of its most hallowed figures.

"Whether you agree or disagree with the time, the era, the competitive balance - whatever your take on it is, you can put any spin you want on it," Auriemma said. "You can make it better, the same or less - it's just a matter of how you look at it."

UCLA great Bill Walton, who was instrumental in the Bruins' run, said his former coach - who died earlier this year - was aware of UConn's streak.

"The women leave better than when they enter," Walton told The Associated Press last year. "We couldn't be happier for them and couldn't be more proud. I encourage them to enjoy it while it lasts."

No men's team has approached UCLA's record set from 1971-74, but Auriemma and UConn once came close. The Huskies won 70 straight in the early 2000s before tripping up against Villanova. That was a record that many thought would never be achieved again.

Until now. UConn, which hasn't lost since the 2008 NCAA Tournament, will pass UCLA with a win over No. 22 Florida State.

"I like to remind my players all the time, you don't stumble and bumble into the history book," Auriemma said. "You'll have to do it the right way if you want to get in there. It may not come again."

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