It wasn't long after UConn's overwhelming win over Oregon State in Sunday's national semifinal that the Huskies realized what was next for them.
Then again, they've been thinking about it long before this season even began, from the moment they walked off the floor in Tampa, Florida, last April after winning their 10th national championship.
The Huskies play Syracuse in their 11th national championship game Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. And the stakes couldn't be higher. They want an unprecedented fourth straight and record 11th overall national championship. Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck have been there for the past three.
"We are definitely confident, and the experience we have helps," Stewart said. "We've been here before, and this isn't our first time doing things. We know what it takes to get to this level, to get to this stage and to succeed on it. We're going in with the mindset that we are going to win the national championship."
The Huskies will play without freshman Katie Lou Samuelson, their most prolific 3-point shooter. She broke her left foot in the opening moments of the semifinal Sunday.
"This gives us a bit of a different look," Tuck said. The Huskies will start sophomore Gabby Williams in her place.
Syracuse-UConn is a renewal of one of the time-tested Big East rivalries that ended when the schools parted ways for the Atlantic Coast Conference and American Athletic Conference.
The teams haven't played since the 2013 Big East tournament, and Syracuse hasn't defeated the Huskies since 1996.
In terms of now, it's a matchup of a team that depends on pressure defense and 3-point shooting (Syracuse) against a defense that struggled to defend the 3 in the early portion of the season.
"We talk about being in this game all the time. We talk about winning a national championship," Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said.
"We want to win this game. We understand who we are playing. We understand where we are. Geno (Auriemma) is the best coach in the business, and Breanna is the best player in the business. But what more of an exciting moment can you have other than playing the best?"
Arizona hires coach: Arizona has hired former player Adia Barnes as its next coach. Barnes replaces Niya Butts, who was not retained after eight years as Wildcats coach.
Barnes, Arizona's all-time leading scorer and the Pac-12 player of the year in 1997-98, spent the past five seasons as an assistant at Washington.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.