Playing for Geno Auriemma is not easy. And it shouldn't be, or so say those who fully subscribe to the risk-reward theory of finding success.

But that's not really the point now, as the state celebrates his record ninth women's basketball championship.

“It means we've done something that no one else has ever done,” Auriemma said. “So you're flattered and you're grateful and you're all the things that come with this kind of accomplishment. Of course. That's not the driving force. That's not what motivates us at Connecticut.”

The point is playing for him seems more than worth it to players who migrate from cities and suburbs to run through walls, metaphorical and otherwise, for him.

You could see that in the UConn locker room after Tuesday's 79-58 win over Notre Dame in the national championship game in Nashville.

There mingling with current players were representatives of generations past: Kalana Greene, Tina Charles, Mel Thomas, Cassie Kerns and Asjha Jones.

“What I will remember about him is his straightforwardness and his sarcasm,” Stefanie Dolson said. “I remember how he once stopped practice when I was a freshman. I had just grabbed a rebound. He took out a piece of paper and put it on the court. And then he said, you just jumped over that to get the rebound.”

Four years later, Dolson ran into his arms one final time after the scoring 17 points with 16 rebounds and seven assist to help the Huskies complete the fifth unbeaten season (40-0) in their history.

She made the leap, all right, from doughty freshman to one of the biggest prime-time players in school history, a two-time All-American who ended her stay as its fourth-leading career rebounder.

The key to Auriemma's success, and of the primary factors of the success this team enjoyed, is his ceaseless dedication to repetition and perfection that helped create it.

“We try to do the right thing for the people that are there,” Auriemma said. “If it means winning a national championship, great.”

Auriemma does not see his players as women's basketball players. He views them simply as athletes, hopefully interested in achieving as much as they can. He pushes them as relentlessly as any men's coach pushes their players.

If the Huskies work hard in practice, it's because Auriemma and his staff want every movement committed to muscle memory, whether its floor spacing or screen setting or the precision way the team cuts to the basket to find the open man.

“He knows what he wants,” guard Moriah Jefferson said. “And he knows what he is doing. He's been coaching for so many years [29], so we really pay attention to anything he says. He always does a great job preparing us.”

And during this perfect season, the team's execution was practically perfect in every way as it rolled to 40 double-digit victories that spanned from 11 (66-55 over Baylor) to 61 (102-41 over SMU).

All five starters averaged double figures in scoring and the program set an NCAA record for blocked shots (324). It held opponents to just 47.8 points and a shooting percentage of 31.0.

It assisted on 850 of 1,251 field goals while picking off 375 steals.

Sophomore Breanna Stewart was a unanimous choice to the Associated Press All-America team and a WBCA and USWBA All-American. She was the Naismith and Associated Press player of the year and was named the Final Four's most outstanding player for the second straight season.

Senior Bria Hartley fought back from an injury-plagued junior season to become a WBCA All-American again, just as she had as a sophomore. She was a model of consistency down the stretch and ended her career just six points shy of 2,000, but the program's all-time leader in minutes.