The arena wasn't really into the second day of the tournament. The men's tournament started today over at the Garden, so the band, the mascot, and half the dance team were all over there. I wish they'd taken all the dancing girls and left us the band, though we made use of that section later.
That was an ugly game. That was so obviously a consolation, "you were brought here to lose and you did an excellent job of it yesterday", "no one here actually cares about you guys except maybe the fifteen people you brought with you" game. But damn it all, it was part of what we paid for, and no snowstorm was going to keep us away.
Anthem performance was a pre-recorded orchestral version. I can't say I objected.
I can't say enough about the clutch nature of UAB's bench. No one ever had a lot of plays, but everyone had one or two clutch plays. Nakia McDaniel hit a couple of big threes to stretch the lead. Khalilah Watson was in for key moments down the stretch. Erica Simpson hit a couple of contested shots. Everyone chipped in somehow. I like that in a team.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Amanda Peterson. There was a point in the first half where the score was UTA 19, Amanda Peterson 11. She ended with 17, 14 of them in the first half and the last three as the last shot for the Blazers. Jala Harris took a while to get started, but once she got started, she added back a dimension to UAB's offense that made them much more dangerous. Amber Jones got into some foul trouble and didn't get started. Miteka Truehart didn't play much in the first half, but made good defensive stands in the second half. Tamika Dukes went strong to the basket on both ends of the floor, and had a great finish on a pass from Jones.
I'll give Arlington credit for being balanced. Of course, that's not saying very much when they totaled 46 points. They really seemed to be throwing things at the wall to see what would work. Tamara Simmons worked, unlike yesterday, when she was so bad she didn't seem to be on the floor. Just so many turnovers, so many traveling calls and dumb plays. There were a lot of points in the game where we wondered if anyone actually wanted to win, that's how bad things were.
All-tournament teamer Meghan Nelson was the only bright spot for the Mavericks, and the only player to get into double figures for them. Shalyn Martin couldn't get much started- I think they were calling her for travels on the moves she was getting away with yesterday, because there was an inordinate amount of traveling being called. The quiet allowed us to hear Kiarra Shofner directing traffic, which is something I like to hear from a player. Kiara Parker got the start for this game and got into a lot of foul trouble. Same for Veronica Mergerson, who was pretty effective yesterday.
I really wasn't sure what those refs were doing, but I kinda liked that I recognized one of them from yesterday's game because she showed up in street clothes. Doing your homework- brilliant!
Poor UAB. I don't think anyone came up to support them. I guess the depression hit Alabama worse than Texas. We rooted for them, though, because fire-breathing dragons are very cool.
It was such an ugly game that we had more fun trying to figure out descriptions for how ugly it was than watching the game itself. But if we hadn't been there, we might not have been in the mood for the second game...