Winning four national championships in the past six seasons certainly has proven its effectiveness in the NCAA tournament in recent years.
So when the second-seeded Huskies face No. 15 seed Coppin State tonight at the Bryce Jordan Center, they are confident they will have another strong NCAA tournament run this season.
"It's postseason," said forward Willnett Crockett, who is known for coming through with big performances during the NCAA tournament. "Not to say that it doesn't matter during the (regular) season, but you know what you're playing for. You obviously want a national championship and you want to go out on top."
Since 1995, the Huskies have the second most Final Four appearances of any team, reaching at least the national semifinal round seven times and winning the national championship five teams during that stretch. Tennessee is the only team with more Final Four appearances in that span with nine.
In the past 12 seasons, they advanced to at least the regional semifinal every year and played in the Final Four for an unprecedented five years in a row from 2000-2004.
"I think we have a reputation of being a really good NCAA tournament team," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "There does seem to be a little more of an edge to our game, a little more of a focus. I don't think we get up tight. I see teams that get very, very tentative and tense at tournament time and I don't see us being like that generally. I think our approach as a coaching staff is pretty laid back. We want to reward our kids for a great season."
But the players say the biggest reward they are striving for is winning a national championship
"We know that right now it's one and done," forward Charde Houston said. "It's not like the regular season where (if) you lose to one particular team and just say, 'It's OK. We'll get them next time.' There is no next time."
Not only do the players say they have more confidence during the NCAA tournament, they say they usually play their best basketball in the postseason.
"We all know what we need to do," Crockett said. "You go through a season and those are just a test to prepare you for the NCAAs. It's one and done and you've got to give it your all and come in night in and night out."
And most of the returning players fare better at least one statistical category during the NCAA tournament compared to regular-season games.
Crockett and Barbara Turner seem to have the biggest difference in the NCAA tournament. Crockett is shooting 60.4 percent in field goals and 63.4 percent in free throws during the NCAA tournament, compared to 54.6 percent and 61.4 percent, respectively, in non-tournament games. Turner's scoring averages increases to 12.2 points from 11.4 points and her assist average jumps from 1.9 to 2.7 in the NCAA tournament.
But the players say there is another reason why they are so successful in the postseason.
"I think that's the way that coach has always, kind of something he's always been know for," said guard Ann Strother. "He knows how to prepare a team for this time of year."
Auriemma's track record shows he prepares his teams well for the NCAA tournament. He ranks third all time in tournament wins with 55, and he needs just one more to move into a second-place tie with former Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore (56 wins). His .821 winning percentage in tournament games is second all time behind Tennessee coach Pat Summitt (.832).
But Auriemma says one of the most important aspects for the Huskies' success is the players' experience in the NCAA tournament.
"We've got kids on our team that have won two national championships, that have been in the Final Four twice, that know what it feels like to win that (regional final) game, that knows what it's like to prepare to play for the national championship," Auriemma said. "So we have that. Whether or not we use it is a different story. Whether or not we know how to use it is a different story. And that's part of what we want to try to do is use that to our best advantage."