Good afternoon, everyone! Your intrepid blogger comes to you for the last time in the calendar year of 2013 from St. Peter's, where the Peacocks face Iona in a MAAC conference game.
If you think you've seen a lot more of me than you have in the past, you're not crazy. (Unless you're my mom. Hi, mom. If you're my mom, you're crazy, but you're not delusional, and I love you.) When I looked at the schedule and realized how many games I already had slotted in for the calendar year of 2013, I realized that I had the opportunity to set a personal record for gmaes attended in a single calendar year. I've been using the phrase "calendar year" a lot in this run-up to clarify a point. I back up everything to a Blogspot, and I tag with the fervor of a grocery store clerk- including with the year in which the game was attended. So, for example, the 2013 tag includes games from the end of the 2012-13 NCAA season, the 2013 WNBA season, and the beginning of the 2013-14 NCAA season. I'd have to do some other math to determine most games from a given season, but that's neither here nor there.
So when my husband and I sat down and did the math, we decided to do some crazy things to get to that personal best. Day-night doubleheaders, packing weekends with games, that insane double-tournament Saturday- all basketball, all the time. If I've done the math accurately, this should be my 79th game of the season (which is not to say 79th event of the season- lots of double-headers, y'know). The amazing part is that we expected to have a playoff game or two to work with; we had no idea that the Sun and the Liberty would be the ones outside looking in at the start of the season.
But that's neither here nor there either. "Here", at the moment, is an F train on the way to 34th Street to pick up the PATH to Jersey City. "There", presumably, will be St. Peter's University, which I still think of as St. Peter's College, and the Peacocks, which I still think of as the Peahens.
At approximately twenty-sesven minutes before tip-off, I was the first person to actually hand someone money in exchange for a ticket. I think attendance is going to be sparse. There are approximately thirty people in the hall- it's not even a proper gym, it's a hall- and about fifteen of them are in some way related to the running of the game. The others are friends and family of players, I think. And then there's me. I've always got to be the odd duck out. (Well, no, if that were the case, I'd be an Oregon fan. /rimshot)
I think these bleachers may actually be older than I am. The wood is worn, the treads of the stairs black with grime. As at Iona, that first step is a doozy, and today I don't have an umbrella to help brace me. Why do I alwas forget I own seat cushions? Nifty seat cushions! From the Final Four!
Haley's still out. Makes sense, you don't get over the flu in two days.
At halftime it's 34-26 St. Peter's, and I'm flat-out embarrassed. Ashamed. Infuriated. Enraged. The defense has been a hot mess- how do you leave a player open when she's the opponent's leading scorer? That all being said, Kaydine Bent is actually leading the Peacocks right now with 12 points. Joy Adams has 10 for Iona, but only one field goal (out of seven total for Iona). I took a bus to a train to a train to a bus to a hike to get here. Get it together, Gaels. Show some effort. Show some pride. Look like you're doing more than marking time until New Year's Rockin' Eve.
Pat Coyle's jackets are still a little too tight around the shoulders and sleeves, for the Board Junkies reading along. I gave her a hearty boo. The woman still makes my blood boil, even years after the Liberty fired her.
The good news, at least as far as I'm concerned, is that Iona managed to pull this game out at the very end, though they seemed to be making a fair effort to mess it up there too. The bad news is that if Iona's going to play that badly down to their competition, they're going to get burned by a team that talent-wise has no right beating them.
Teresa Corchado gave St. Peter's good minutes on defense, staying low on the ball. Kylie Garrett seemed out of place in her few minutes, though I'm not sure if that was inexperience or just a bad day for her. Neechelle Ingram was solid on the inside, though I thought she raised her elbows a little too much on a couple of her rebounds. Kaycee DeVoogd had a pretty large cheering section that made a lot of noise when she hit her one shot, but she seemed to make more of an impact defensively. I remember a lot more of her than her minutes would seem to indicate, though that might be because of the cheering section.
Kaydine Bent just absolutely ripped us up inside. She used her big build to move everyone around down low. She's not necessarily tall, but she's solid- I'd use the word thick, but I'm aware that that has other connotations that I do not necessarily wish to connote at this time. She penetrated at will. Aziza May started the game off hot, driving to the lane, but got into a little foul trouble early. Antonia Smith- Toni, by the PA announcer- also got into early foul trouble, but it also boggles my mind how she didn't score more early in the first half- the defense kept leaving her wide open. Utterly ignoring her. I don't get it. Hala Mostafa has an uncomfortable, unorthodox-looking shot, but it went down for her near the end of the game, when her team was looking for a way to make it close. If she's going to play down low like it seemed she was early on, she's got to put some muscle on. Sabrina Jeridore's not exactly a bruiser, and she was manhandling Mostafa down low. Bridget Whitfield came up with timely buckets and some good defensive plays.
Aurelia Cammock came in only long enough for Sabrina Jeridore to get a tiny bit of a break and maybe get patched up. She hustled well, but seemed the victim of bad luck. Spencer Gray was good defensively, and ran point better than I expected. Aaliyah Robinson played good defense, came up with her usual big three, and seemed a rather calming presence on the floor. There's just something about Aaliyah that seems to settle everyone down, and I wonder if that's why she comes off the bench instead of starting in Haley's absence- someone's got to be the ballast. Cassidee Ranger was once more forgotten in the corners. There were two fast breaks in rapid succession where her teammates missed her open in the corner to take shots that ultimately failed. Then Joy Adams hit a lay-up on a fast break where she still should have found Cass. I'm starting to wonder if everyone's forgotten Cassidee can shoot- maybe even including Cassidee.
Christina Rubin seemed to rely too much on the distance of her three to get going. Something that also bothered me: Coach Godsey seemed to be much harder on her when it came to fouls than she was on anyone else; as soon as Christina got her second, she was out for the rest of the first half; as soon as she got her third, she was out for a good eight minutes of the second half. Aleesha Powell ran a decent offense, though her peripheral vision was sorely lacking; she didn't seem to see open players on either side of her, sticking to more straight-ahead passes. She made sure to draw plenty of contact. Sabrina Jeridore was dangerous defensively down low, swatting shots with abandon, but offense has never been her strong point, and there's no reason she should be taking more shots in a game than Aleesha. Damika Martinez was bombs away early and often- had a lot of trouble in the first half, but fired off five quick points to start the second half and started getting more of the rolls off the rim. Joy Adams went hard for rebounds, but there were a lot that that got tipped out or thrown off and around players. She has all the athleticism, but she's got to work on her footwork and her shooting touch.
It was just an ugly, ugly game, the kind of game that people outside the sport think all women's basketball looks like. Lots of bad passes, tipped balls, bad shots, that kind of thing.
The officiating didn't help anyone, and I think it helped St. Peter's less than it helped Iona. The zero-tolerance hand-check rule was very inconsistently applied, much to the frustration of both teams.
Things I did not like: after the game, Pat Coyle called her team into a huddle at center court and looked like she was giving them a very long lecture. Really? In public? Whether you're trying to perk them up or rip them a new one, that's what the locker room is for. I don't think St. Peter's is so cheap that they only have one locker room and they were letting Iona use it first. (I mean, the facility is pretty cheap. But I think that would be against NCAA rules.)
So that was not as fun as a win should be, and I'm still worried about this team. But as the saying goes, it is what it is. And we bring the 2013 edition of the Game Notes of Doom to a close. Headed out for New Year's Eve festivities now, but I won't get too crazy.
After all, Hofstra hosts Albany tomorrow, and I'm kind of curious about Megan Craig...