UConn women’s basketball remains an iconic program, and head coach Geno Auriemma believes some of his former squads would have been far more popular had they competed in the current era.

UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma claimed this week that his most dominant teams were ahead of their time.

He also suggested that former players such as Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore would have reached the level of fame of active NCAA stars like Caitlin Clark if they were born later.

Breanna Stewart was part of four national championship teams at UConn but may have received even more publicity had she competed in college now.

Still, Auriemma gave props to the current student-athletes who have helped raise the profile of women’s basketball beyond anything seen before. The coach, who earned his 1,200th career victory this year, said the brighter spotlight was long overdue.

“That’s how you build a national brand like we’ve have for so long, and we were willing to go to any part of the country to play anybody anywhere to spread that brand,” Auriemma said via CT Insider.

“So, yeah, we were a little bit ahead of our time. And people now are starting to experience what we experienced for all those years. And they’re also starting to appreciate more how difficult it is to be in that situation.”

Auriemma led back-to-back undefeated seasons on two occasions and went unbeaten six times overall, helping the Huskies become a nationally revered powerhouse. UConn went 78-0 between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 campaigns.

The school accounts for 66 percent of all the undefeated seasons in NCAA women’s basketball history, a remarkable accomplishment underlining its historic dominance.

However, rival programs have seemingly caught up with UConn on the court and in the public eye.

Geno Auriemma recalled Maya Moore's greatness when discussing his past dynasties at UConn.

By some measures, including win percentage, this is the weakest team Auriemma has coached in at least 20 years relative to other national title contenders.

Some of the squad’s struggles are the result of poor injury luck, yet even at full strength, this season’s Huskies likely wouldn’t have drawn the record-breaking attention of Caitlin Clark and Iowa or Angel Reese and LSU.

That’s not to say UConn isn’t popular – with the help of star guard Paige Bueckers, the team retains national relevance and could rebound in a big way next season. But even Auriemma has acknowledged throughout 2023-24 that the playing field has become more difficult for him than before.

“It’s obviously been a long time coming,” he added on the rise of women’s basketball beyond being a niche source of entertainment. “When we traveled back before all this other stuff, the crowds that Maya [Moore] generated, that [Breanna Stewart] generated – those guys didn’t have necessarily as much of a benefit as these kids do with social media.

“And now it’s just been magnified, and it’s the right kind of kids with the right kind of personalities, and everything that goes into being popular and being impactful to a bunch of kids. And the fact that the coverage is just so much more widespread than it’s ever been, they’re all taking advantage of it. God bless them.”