Monday, April 4, 2011

Madness came to Women's NCAA Tourney

As I've mentioned before, I would love to see the Women's NCAA basketball tourney get more attention as the Men's tourney does. One of the keys to that would be some more "madness" in the Women's brackets. I'm guilty of expecting the predictability myself. I started watching the Women's Final Four expecting the two 1-seed teams (Stanford and UConn) to win out and pretty much looked forward to a rematch of a game that broke UConn's NCAA record-setting win streak.

But last night featured two fabulous upsets. The first one being Texas A&M's Aggies crazy win over The Stanford Cardinal. It was an arduous game where Stanford were just not connecting, with plays simply not panning out, bordering on sloppy at times. For Texas A&M, what was clear watching the two teams play together was how much bigger the Stanford players were on each position and on top of that, the long shots that brought the Aggies to the Final Four were not yielding the 3 points they stubbornly aimed for. Still it looked as if Stanford was going to win out, with a lead of up to 10 points in the 2nd half. But in the last 2 minutes, the Aggies narrowed the lead to 1 point. Then in the last minute, came the gripping back in forth as the clock ticked down--the Aggies go up by one on 2 free throws, then back down by one by 2 free throws by Stanford. With 19 seconds to go, the Aggies go back up by one with a lay-up. In the last 9 seconds, Stanford goes back up by one with a lay-up which the Aggies, jaw-droppingly drives it back down and answers back with a lay-up at 4 seconds to go with a final winning score of 63-62.

I tweeted it:

And to add to the unbelievability of it all, Shannon Cross read my tweet LIVE on the air after the game:

Needless to say, I couldn't help but wonder if this was a sign for the next game:

The next game between UConn and Notre Dame was much more polished and it was straight back and forth of great plays and scores being made--I swear there were at least a dozen lead changes in the first half. At half-time, though UConn was up 32-26, I could only picture the coaches saying, "uh, keep doing what you're doing but more of it". The picture changed in less than 10 minutes through the second half when Notre Dame took the lead, and UConn started missing shots and getting fouls called on them. Notre Dame gained a wider lead--at one point, up by 12!--that UConn wasn't able to catch up to. Another upset in the making though everyone was waiting for UConn to pull through. Notre Dame didn't let up and they won, 72-63.

So that leaves a very exciting matchup on Tuesday between Notre Dame (previously an NCAA champ) and Texas A&M (first trip to the Finals). Can the underdog Aggies pull it out one more time? You know I tend to root for the underdog, but this time, for the sake of the NCAA Women's Tournament, I'm also rooting for Madness.


Erik said...

The fact that a #2 beating a #1 seed is a considered a "major upset" is kinda sad...

... however i think the lack of interest is simply that it's not as interesting to watch. I'm not sure i can pinpoint exactly WHY it's less interesting than the men's game, it just is. (I could throw out suggestions, but that's only going to ruffle feathers).

So, I'm glad Gino has to suck it up and watch the Tues championship game from his couch... but I'll be catching up on House.

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