Just the Facts, Ma'am: A strong, balanced post attack led the Maryland Terrapins over the LaSalle Explorers, 83-45. Lynetta Kizer led Maryland with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Ebonee Jones of LaSalle led all scorers with 18 points, but on 21 shots.
For team colors, nifty cups, Starbursts, big bands, and bigger hair, join your intrepid and well-traveled blogger after the jump.
For pictures, watch this space in the next week or so.I think this might be my first time in an arena with a big-time men's team that actually treats their home arena as, well, their home arena. For most of the places I've been, either they're so low on the totem pole that they don't have to worry about the amenities of a big arena, or they're so high on the totem pole that the men play at public arenas and we're back to square one. But the Comcast Center is absolutely gorgeous. Everything is in team colors, and everything is Terrapin. The cups are really cool. We're taking two of them home as tumblers to add to our collection of stadium cups. There's an entire section in the endcourts for the press. The other endcourt is completely devoted to the band. Completely, except for a couple of sections off to the side. But the band takes up three sections. I'm fairly certain I saw Megan Duffy looking at them and making a note to ask for more band funding from St. John's.
The fans, at least so far in this undramatic game, have all the trappings of passion and all the off-court involvement in the world. Pretty much everyone who isn't here for one of the opposing teams is wearing Maryland colors. And there are a few people behind us who yell the way we do. (I was actually a bit worried about that, because we're front row center, to the point where we may move up during intermission because we can't see any of the lines.) But there really hasn't been any chanting yet. Of course, Maryland is up 22 at the half and LaSalle looks like they'd rather be shoveling the Snowpocalypse than being here, so there's that to consider. We don't exactly get involved when we're up that much either.
The anthem was very good. It would have been excellent if the singer wasn't trying to sing through her nose. Execution will be the death of me yet.
So far no one has looked too oddly at us in our St. John's jerseys, though it's pretty obvious we're not on the team. (For one thing, one of us is, um, not eligible to play women's basketball without some major changes I'd rather he not go through.)
I'm working on a new computer, and because I'm writing five sets of game notes in two days (possibly seven in three, if true insanity overtakes me and I head to Fordham on Thursday), much of this will be coming from on-site, so these notes might read slightly differently from their usual. I ask your patience.
LaSalle appeared to be playing short-handed. They only listed ten on their roster, and their starters played heavy minutes even when they were down thirty and close to forty. I think they only played one sub in the first half. That sub was Michele McCaughern, who registered a foul and some defense. The second half brought Nikki Ortiz as the first sub, who contributed a whole bunch of fouls. (Hmm. I'm wondering if that might be why LaSalle didn't substitute often.)
Ebonee Jones looks to be a pure gunner with a propensity for foul trouble. Sure, she scored a lot of points, but from here, it looked like she needed a lot of shots to do it. Ashley Gale came on in the second half. I like the freshman Jess Koci, or at least I would if she could figure out how not to flop on half her defensive plays. She seemed to be the only on that team with some spark, with a nice block and some hard work on the boards near the endline. Chelsea Conner's shot was very schitzophrenic. When it was on, it was a sweet swish. When it wasn't... I think LaSalle had something like four or five airballs, and at least three of them were hers. Not pretty. Not pretty at all.
The beautiful thing about a blowout is that you get to see the deep bench of the leading team. You get to see players you might not ordinarily see. Sequoia Austin reminds me of a few undersized guards I've seen in the past, who make up for their lack of height with an endless drive and the inability to stop. The crowd was rooting for her to score, but though her shots looked good, she wasn't able to get them to go down. Essence Townsend has the height to be successful, but absolutely none of the other aspects. She doesn't look comfortable on the floor, she doesn't take contact well, and she can't hang on to the ball. Honestly, I think she missed her calling- she looks and plays much more like a volleyball player. Yemi Oyefuwa got huge cheers from the crowd when she did just about anything, and when she went on her scoring run, the people around us went nuts. She looks like a player who was very good at one point, but the Creature from the Black Lagoon attached to her knee appears to have done her in. Kim Rodgers also looked like a player recovering from a knee injury, who used to be a very good shooter and still has a little bit of that stroke. Natasha Cloud got good rotation minutes and showed a knack for getting to the line. Dara Taylor's got some speed on her, and she set up a couple of nice plays- my favorite was the steal that led to her missed lay-up, which Laurin Mincy rebounded and put back. Mincy had herself a nice game. Hey, why do they have so many kids from our neck of the woods? Shouldn't we have been doing a little more about that? Alicia DeVaughn scared the hell out of me- not just because she's a pure defensive stopper who I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, but because it's very disconcerting to see someone with identical body language to anyone else. Yes, I know she's Yo Griffith's daughter, but she moves in exactly the same way. It's very, very strange, especially when you see around the face that they look nothing alike. Her hands were up everywhere.
Alyssa Thomas had herself one heck of a game, getting nice passes from her teammates and converting them. I think she missed a couple of chippies that she could have had, but with the game she had, I'm not arguing. Diandra Tchatchouang, in addition to being extremely hard to spell, showed some nice moves both inside and out. Anjale Barrett did a nice job running the team, but methinks they might have some trouble moving the ball if she can be stopped. It would take a team with very good defensive guards... Tianna Hawkins has insanely tall hair. I'm not sure if that 6'3" listed height includes the hair or not. I know she had a pretty solid game, but I keep being distracted by the hair. It's not quite Troy Polamalu, but you get the idea. Lynetta Kizer did a number on the Explorers inside, and early in the game she reared back and swished a three, and I think I spent the next minute of game time with my jaw hanging slack in shock.
Some odd calls in this game, but more judgment calls than questions about what exactly the referee was looking at and what universe it was in.
I was surprised the Maryland fans weren't more into the game. Maybe they'll be louder in more traditional ways tomorrow. They have a little competition to deal with, after all.