COLUMN: Huskies’ run shows need for change

first_imgGeno Auriemma barely reacted when the buzzer sounded to signal his 100th straight victory.Behind him, a sold-out crowd decked in white T-shirts roared in support of the victory. WNBA stars Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart made their way to the court to hug their former coach. But for the Hall of Fame coach, the moment was more of a breath of relief than a milestone victory.It was, after all, just another win.UConn women’s basketball is the most dominant athletic program in the history of sports. Period. The Patriots, the Yankees, the Celtics, the Crimson Tide — they don’t even come close. No team has ever won this much and this big for this long without even flinching. We’ll probably never see it again.In their recent win-streak, the Huskies clinched 98 of those victories by double-digit margins. Of those games, 56 were won by 40 or more points.That streak extends into last season, when UConn won its fourth-straight national championship and graduated the first, second and third picks in the WNBA draft. With 11 total championship rings, Auriemma still has yet to lose an NCAA championship game.They’re the best. No one can dispute that. But as Auriemma and his Huskies continue to eviscerate the rest of the NCAA, it raises the question — is all this winning good for women’s basketball?It’s not that dominant teams are inherently bad for the game. My home team, the Kansas Jayhawks, is one of the most dominant programs in college basketball. Head coach Bill Self has more Big 12 championship rings than home losses in his 14-year tenure in Lawrence. As a fan, I’m not complaining.But that dynasty isn’t bulletproof. Just a few weeks ago, Kansas dropped a home game to an unranked Iowa State team. That is, after all, the fun of college basketball, and of any sport — anyone can win.It’s why we call it March Madness, why we sit on the edge of our seats even when the Patriots are down by a handful of touchdowns in the Super Bowl. Because it doesn’t matter how invincible Steph Curry looks when he’s taking that 30-foot jump shot — even he can lose a 3-1 lead.But when it comes to collegiate women’s sports, the competition just isn’t the same.College sports for women haven’t been around for as long. Take basketball for example — women didn’t even start playing five-on-five full court until 1971. The first NCAA women’s basketball championship took place in 1982, a full 43 years after the first men’s championship took place.Because of this, women’s sports are still growing. And amid all of the debates surrounding equal pay and equal coverage, an important issue is missed — how a smaller pool of prospects keeps talent from being equally spread.With fewer post-collegiate options for female athletes, the competition for collegiate athletics is lower. A few great teams can snap up the top talent, leaving a gaping canyon of talent between ranked and unranked squads.More than the lack of dunks or the smaller 3-point arc, this disparity in talent is what makes women’s basketball less fun to watch.So why UConn? That’s easy to answer. Auriemma was named the U.S. women’s national team head coach in 2001. Since then, he’s won 10 NCAA championships and three Olympic gold medals.The method of recruiting athletes is clear — if you want to be the best, play with the best. It’s hard to argue against the undefeated U.S. coach when defining who is the best coach in the nation. So Auriemma gets the best, year after year.That has to change. For women’s basketball to be taken seriously, for the game to grow at every level, something will have to give. And as impressive as it is, the end of the UConn dynasty will be the best thing to happen to women’s basketball.If you don’t believe me, look to NCAA women’s soccer.For decades, North Carolina stood in the same dominant shoes as UConn basketball, winning 21 national titles in the 34 years that the College Cup has existed. For the entirety of that time, Anson Dorrance served as the head coach. For the first eight years, he also served as the American head coach, just like Auriemma.North Carolina starters and alumni made up over half of the U.S. roster for almost a decade. Players went to North Carolina because they wanted to play for America, and in the process the Tar Heels created a culture of dominance.But women’s soccer has changed since then. Thanks to Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, women’s soccer has earned more viewers, more fans and more support with each passing year. And as talent and interest continued to spread, the Tar Heels have won less and less, with new programs rising in the rankings and our own Trojans taking the title this year.It’s time for that diversity of talent to seep into women’s basketball.It’s not anything that UConn is doing wrong. They’re just recruiting the best players to the best program with the best coach and winning. A lot. It’s easy to hate the Huskies for winning, but it’s hard to fault them for continuing to succeed. But now it’s time for the playing field to begin to level in women’s basketball.For now, we can celebrate their legacy. But down the road, when that win streak is snapped and the NCAA trophy is hoisted year after year by a coach other than Auriemma — it will be a victory.The legacy of women’s basketball will be much more than a collection of dynasties. And though the Huskies might reign now, the sport will truly flourish when it becomes any woman’s game.Julia Poe is a sophomore studying print and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, Poe’s Perspective, runs on Wednesdays.last_img read more

VP Records Celebrates 40 Years With ‘Down in Jamaica’

first_imgQUEENS, New York – Down in Jamaica — 40 Years of VP Records, a hit-laden box set celebrating the Queens, New York company’s latest milestone, will be released on October 25.The set contains 94 songs by 101 artists who helped make VP Records, arguably, the leading independent company of its kind in the United States. Several of those songs, including Who Am I and No Letting Go, were sizable pop hits that made VP a solid player in mainstream markets.“Who Am I” by Beenie Man reached number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1998. Released in 2003, No Letting Go by singer Wayne Wonder peaked at number 11 on that table.The songs on ‘Down in Jamaica’ were compiled by Carter Van Pelt, VP’s Director of Catalog Development. Its four-CD set, four seven-inch vinyl records and four 12-inch vinyl records, are accompanied by a 24-page biography about the company.“The set doesn’t focus on a particular genre, but covers the types of music that were current in every era, whether it was reggae, dub, dancehall, or hybrid styles or reggae revival, and of course a nod to soca,” Van Pelt explained.Those genres include lovers rock which is represented by songs like Beres Hammond’s Rockaway, Just One of Those Days (Sizzla) and She’s Royal by Tarrus Riley; roots-reggae by Garnet Silk (Lord Watch Over our Shoulder), Down by The River (Morgan Heritage) and Destiny (Buju Banton); dancehall from Admiral Tibet, Shabba Ranks and Coco Tea (Serious Times), Stop Loving You (Freddie McGregor), Footprints (TOK) and Mavado (On The Rock); George Nooks’ gospel smash, God is Standing By; and soca in the form of Bunji Garlin’s Big Bad Soca.VP Records was founded in 1979 by the husband-and-wife of Vincent and Pat Chin in 1979. Previously, they operated the successful Randy’s record label and recording studio in their native Jamaica, working with elite artistes such as The Skatalites, The Wailers, Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown.VP evolved from distributing the songs and albums of artists and producers through licensing deals to signing exclusive contracts with them. Those arrangements flourished during the 1990s when the company worked with top Jamaican production houses like Penthouse, Shocking Vibes and Main Street.Vincent Chin died in 2003, but VP Records continues to thrive with main outlets in Queens and Miramar, Florida.last_img read more