How much do I love my team? How much? Entirely too much more than is healthy. Are all college teams so adorable that you want to pinch their cheeks and give them all brownies? Or is this just a symptom of advancing age?
Some fairly impressive hairdos today, both for good and for ill. Sky had an enormous bun that made me think of Erika Arririan from Texas (no fauxhawk attached, though; trying to imagine Sky doing that to her hair might make my head explode). Jennifer's 'do really took the cake, though- heavily frosted gold on top, regular below. It was interesting, to say the least.
We sat over by the band today in order to help with the noisemaking, and my ear's still a little numb, though that might also have something to do with the extreme cold that's fallen over New York. My throat hurts a little, but I think I'm developing calluses for yelling.
There was a youth clinic before the game, sponsored by the Liberty; Lisa White and Catherine Proto represented for the pros, though they disappeared sometime in the second half (presumably with the signed Leilani Mitchell ball, since it didn't look like anyone came to claim it). I didn't get to show off my Liberty dog tag to them. There were a few people in Liberty t-shirts from various years, though they were all Fan Appreciation Day giveaways from the last three seasons. Yes, I know entirely too much about Liberty gear.
I wasn't impressed with the anthem. It wasn't awful, but the harmonies could have used a little more rehearsal. The chorus got stronger as the song went on, so I have to give them credit for that.
I was surprised that Lola Wells came off the bench; I remembered hearing her name before. I like her hustle. She went hard after loose balls and forced one especially tough tie-up through excellent positioning and sheer tenacity. Jessica Clark scares me a little. She's got crazy eyes. The first time she was in the game on offense, she was very insistent about getting the ball, and I was afraid of what might happen if she got it. Her intensity discomfited me. I'm not sure if she was posturing because she was in front of friends and family in her hometown, though. Chandler McCabe has got to learn to play her position. It might amuse her to think that she has an outside jump shot, but if she does, she didn't bring it with her from Providence. Brittany Dorsey had one fierce rebound in a sea of white jerseys that I recall. Hurd mostly got garbage minutes.
I've actually heard of Chelsea Marandola, so I was keeping an eye on her. She got to the line pretty well, but otherwise she didn't do much. I think we were marking her and trying to keep her from getting the ball; I know there were a couple of possessions where Joy, who's one of our best defensive players, was on her. The player who really impressed me for the Friars was Mi-Khida Hankins, who showed a lot of grit and ability to get inside. Symone Roberts shows promise, but she's only a freshman; I don't think she's as good yet as she thinks she is, if that makes any sense. Trinity Hull's jump shot is pretty funky-looking. I'm really not sure who was running Providence's offense, though given that they shot 26% from the field and only scored 46 points, the argument could be made that no one was running their offense. Emily Cournoyer played sort of decent post defense- at least she was in the post, unlike some of her teammates- but was under the impression that she was supposed to be on the perimeter on offense.
Jennifer Blanding sighting! She's definitely a little rusty. Maybe more than a little. I wish she'd stop being so tentative. Buzz has more nerve than she does, which is perhaps not as useful in a wiry guard like Buzz. It was really nice to see Buzz get extended time, if only because she turns the most interesting colors (not quite the range of Cathrine Kraayeveld or Richie Adubato, but interesting shades) when she's been out too long. She hit the first shot she took and got a couple of rebounds- she's a pretty good rebounder for a guard. Eugeneia started out hot, but her free throw shooting degenerated as the game went on, and she seemed to lose a little steam. Kelly, while she made a couple of dumb plays, especially on defense, was at least less chary about shooting than she has been. Put 'em up, Kelly! Go for 200! It's within your reach! Coco was unmemorable, other than the immortal instruction, "COCO, TURN AROUND!" The stuff she gets done, she gets done quietly.
Nadirah was off her game on offense- she wasn't seeing the open woman as often as she usually does and she was making some questionable decisions with the ball. But when you can say your PG is having a so-so game and she still puts up six assists, you might have a good one. Sky had a pretty solid game, though I swear one of these days one of her dance routines is going to kill me. I'll spit-take and choke on a soda, or a piece of granola bar will stick in my throat, or I'll fall off the bleachers laughing and crack my head open, and then who'll write Game Notes of Doom? Shenneika is back in the starting lineup, and I breathed a sigh of relief. She didn't pour it on like she did at Syracuse, but she didn't really need to. Her defense still needs a little work, since she sometimes doesn't seem sure of where she's supposed to be in anything other than a straight man-to-man, but she's only a freshman, and defense always comes more slowly than offense. Poor Da'Shena's sick again- she seems to have spent a large chunk of this season under the weather- and despite hacking up phlegm at one point (at least I hope that was phlegm that was going into that garbage can...) she still managed nine points and eight boards. Take care of yourself, Da'Shena. Lots of rest and lots of fluids. We need you for the Georgetown game. Fortunately, Joy seems to have escaped captivity from the Pod People and is back to herself. She's fighting for rebounds again, and those soft shots in the lane are falling once more.
Dennis DeMayo, I'm disappointed. You're usually a much better referee than this. You're usually more familiar with the rules of the women's game and you don't mix them up with the fine nuances of the rules of the men's game. But the way block/charge was called in this game was very reminiscent of a crew that thought there was a charge circle in the women's game. None of them seemed able to count, either, as a couple of very blatant travels went unremarked. But credit where credit is due: there was a very difficult to see over-and-back call, and one of the referees (Brunette, I think) was right on top of it. I just wish they'd been on some of the very obvious holding.
Today was the long-awaited autograph session day. I like sessions like this because you get to see a little more of who these young women are in your team's uniform. Okay, I also like them because it helps us in our quest to decorate EVERYTHING we own in women's basketball posters. Because my uncle neglected to check the schedule before buying Broadway tickets for my mother, I had a shirt to get signed for her as well. The freshmen came out first, though I don't know if that's from inexperience or hazing ("here, you get first crack at facing screaming small children!"). Shenneika had a lot of pent-up energy, and spent some of her time roaming up and down the line to sign for people. I guess she wanted to keep things moving quickly, because half the team was standing because either they didn't have room for more chairs or they didn't think they needed more chairs, or maybe that's a class thing too. I don't know. I also don't know if it was too weird that I mentioned to Elón that I actually got see her play this season (she's had a grand total of three mintues due to injury). Jennifer's the most extroverted of the young'uns, or at least the loudest, but we already knew she was the loudest. Kelly remembered me from the Stony Brook game, and I finally got a chance to dare her to go for 200 career threes. Da'Shena was bundled up in a jacket and scarf, and sounded half-dead when she did manage to get out a few words. Tamiflu, orange juice, chicken soup, and lots of bed rest, seriously. No breaking the sophomore. And I got to babble at Joy a little, which was all right. I'm going to miss her SO MUCH.
Play of the game for the Red Storm: Eugeneia missed a contested lay-up. Nadirah came flying in and up for the putback. Given that Nadirah lists at 5-7, that's pretty impressive.
What I liked about this game was that we kept the pressure on. We led by 12 at the half; we won by 24. We didn't really slack off until the last couple of minutes, when Jennifer came into the game. What I'm hoping that the last few minutes of the game proved was that Buzz is worth working into the rotation as more than the next-to-last player off the bench, as someone who only sees garbage time. So far, she's shown me that she can contribute in a real way in the Big East.
If anyone happens to be going down to Washington DC on Tuesday, would you mind making room for a passenger? I'd be willing to pay at least part of the gas cost. This game against Georgetown is going to be so important- it might be for the last double-bye in the Big East tournament, or for a berth in the NCAA tournament. Come on, Johnnies! The easy part's almost over. Georgetown, Louisville, UConn, Notre Dame, Rutgers- they all lie ahead, and it's time to prove that our time is indeed now.