Geno Auriemma defends women's basketball dominance -- again

Elena Delle Donne (center) and the rest of Team USA celebrate their 110-84 win over Serbia in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Story highlights

  • Team USA has won the last five Olympic gold medals in women's basketball
  • Auriemma has the most college basketball national titles of all time, with 11
  • He also was the head coach of Team USA in 2012, which won gold in the London Olympics

(CNN)This has become all too commonplace for Geno Auriemma.

Auriemma, the head coach of Team USA women's basketball and the head coach of the UConn Huskies women's basketball team, once again had to defend the sport he coaches.
    Heading into Friday afternoon, the American women were 3-0 in pool play in the Rio Olympics ahead of their afternoon game against Canada. On Wednesday, the US defeated Serbia 110-84. Prior to that, Team USA demolished Spain 103-63 on Monday and trounced Senegal 121-56 on Sunday.
    It would be an absolute stunner if the American women don't win gold, as they have won gold in the Olympics seven times, including the last five dating back to 1996.
    But while the American men, also the favorites to win gold, haven't been criticized for when they win big, the women have. It's a refrain that's been heard in the women's game as recently as March, when the Huskies were in the middle of steamrolling through the NCAA tournament. They finished with a 38-0 record and won their 11th national championship.
    As UConn's head coach, Auriemma is used to this. He's been at the helm for all 11 of those championships, surpassing John Wooden in April for the most college basketball titles of all time.
    So when he was asked about it on Wednesday, Auriemma was ready.
    "We live in that Trumpian era where it's okay to be sexist and degrade people that are good, just because they're the opposite sex," Auriemma said. "We are what we are. We're never going to apologize for being that good. We're never going to apologize for setting a standard that other people aspire to achieve."
    Auriemma wasn't done. He also brought up the most dominant Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, who won his 22nd Olympic gold medal in the pool Thursday night.
    "We got a guy in the pool with a USA swim cap on who nobody can beat," Auriemma said. "And if he wasn't in swimming, there would be a lot of other guys with gold medals. So, it is what it is. The world needs times when such great, great teams or great individuals are doing great things, that other people can talk about and other people say, 'Wow, wouldn't it be great to be at that level?' These are Olympians. They're supposed to play at a high level."
    When UConn was destroying opponents in this year's NCAA tournament, Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy tweeted, "UConn Women beat Miss St. 98-38 in NCAA tourney. Hate to punish them for being great, but they are killing women's game. Watch? No thanks."
    Auriemma fired back in response to the tweet, saying, "Don't watch."
    "Nobody's putting a gun to your head to watch," Auriemma said at the time in response to that tweet. "So don't watch. And don't write about it. Spend your time on things that you think are important. If you don't think this is important, don't pay any attention to it. The fact that you have to comment on it, says something about you, doesn't it? We are where we are. We are what we are. You know? We do what we do. We do what we do.
    "When Tiger was winning every major, nobody said he was bad for golf. Actually, he did a lot for golf. He made everybody have to be a better golfer. And they did. And now there's a lot more great golfers because of Tiger."
    On Wednesday, Auriemma made no apologies for his team being great.
    "They're professionals, they're supposed to put on a show, they're supposed to entertain," Auriemma said. "So, what are we supposed to do? Just go out there and win by a little? We're not bad for women's basketball, just like I say at UConn, we're not bad for women's basketball.
    "What's bad for women's basketball is when nobody's great, because then you could say, 'You know what? I don't think anybody really knows how to play this game.' I think people will say that there are some really good teams out here and when you see them play each other, they're great games. Serbia was up 20 the other day and lost to Canada. These are great games. We just happen to be somewhere else right now. That's okay. I don't mind."
    As for his players? Their eyes are on winning gold.
    "I'm not thinking about it," guard Lindsay Whalen responded after she was asked if she had thoughts on whether dominant teams were bad for the game. "I'm thinking about our next game and our next practice at this point. That's all you can think about."