I have no idea why Sky Lindsay's mom and sister parked behind the Virginia Tech bench for the first half- I know they know whose bench is whose, but there didn't seem to be any trouble stemming from it, so no harm, no foul.
It's been a long time since I've gotten this into a game, or at least since I've allowed myself to get this rowdy. But there were so many Virginia Tech fans there, and they came on a Focus on the Family bus, and they brought signs, and the little kids from the CYO were annoying the living daylights out of us because they spread out over two sections, and it was healthier than swearing at everyone and their mother.
Abby Redick, I don't like you. I mean, I respect that she's a woman isn't afraid to use her broad frame to hit someone, but there's a difference between hitting someone and "how did you not foul out in the first half". Nikki Davis has a knack for the pretty play- she set up Porshcia Hadley on one shot that was simply gorgeous. We got to see Taylor Ayers for the first time, another of Virginia Tech's sizeable players. Dunkenberger went pretty deep into her bench, which makes sense in a holiday tournament, but I wonder if she should have done that in the first day.
Brittany Gordon, who had me worrying and fussing all of yesterday because of her build, hardly played, though she started. I don't think her coach was happy with her, and I can't say there's no reason for it. Alyssa Fenyn was a little rougher than yesterday, and to less effect. Lindsay Biggs got her shots off, and deserved to be named to the all-tournament team. Utahya Drye started to crank up that knack for getting to the line in the second half, but it wasn't enough for Virginia Tech to get going. Harrison really didn't do much other than turn the ball over.
Jennifer Blanding is going to kill me with laughter one of these days. She drives me nuts on the court, but when she's not on the court, she's full of laughter. The first big one was during the game- she was yelling encouragement to Coco, hollering, "Yeah, Centhya!" (Coco's full name). There was a beat, then we heard, "...I'm sorry." Then, when the all-tournament team was announced, and the official photographer was taking pictures, Jennifer bolted off the bench and snapped a picture with her own little camera.
Sorry, sidetracked. Small cameos by Buzz and Jennifer. Not a great game by Coco, although she worked pretty hard on the boards. Eugeneia hit the deck hard a couple of times chasing loose balls. Good instincts. I approve. Kelly appears to be trying to play defense, which is a refreshing change, but one I wish she'd tried earlier in her career.
Have I mentioned lately that I adore Joy? I love her rebounding, her hustle, her tenacity, and her ability to put the ball in the basket, even if she missed her first free throws of the season today. Sky's sneaking back to her old ballhogging ways, which I do not approve of at all. Too many plays are coming down to her taking the shot. Nadirah continues to be the best point guard we have, though some of her passes today were to absent receivers. I don't blame her for people's lack of zigging. Shenneika... I don't know what to make with her, not that there's anything wrong with that. When she looks good, she's so good and so unstoppable. When she looks bad, she looks like Inspector Gadget shorted out. Da'Shena played well, though her free throw shooting needs work.
It's not that we played fabulously today, though there were a lot of great plays at the endline and baseline that showed our unwillingness to give up. It's more that we played very tough defense and managed to keep Virginia Tech from scoring well and using their size inside. We outrebounded a team we had no right to outrebound, which bodes well for the conference season. Never give up. Never surrender.
And never challenge fans. Virginia Tech showed up in numbers and our band didn't appear. It seemed meet that someone make noise in their stead. So we took it upon ourselves to get involved, screaming at every possession, chanting along, disconcerting the shooter, heckling the refs, all quite loudly. My throat hurts and my clipboard is cracked down the middle, but it was more than worth it to get to use the cadence we learned from the Auburn band.
From UT-Arlington, Meghan Nelson, who was a pretty good choice (though I might have taken Martin); from UAB, Amanda Peterson, who I totally agreed with; from Virginia Tech, Lindsay Biggs (yup) and Alyssa Fenyn (a qualified yup); from St. John's, Da'Shena Stevens (yup) and Shenneika Smith (yup).
And MVP? Joy McCorvey. It's nice to know people appreciate what she does.
Reasons why I love my team captain, number 32567:
So they had the team captains, Joy and Kelly, accept the trophy for winning the tournament. Joy was a step ahead of Kelly, but let Kelly go ahead of her so Kelly got to hold the trophy for the picture. Such a class act.
Last home game of the calendar year for St. John's, and there may be a post in that for Swish Appeal. We'll see. But I'm a happy, hoarse Johnnie.