Yesterday was the tip-off of women's college basketball season, and with that I'm starting a new feature: "Games I'd wish I'd seen". I don't care if you have a burning passion for women's basketball with the blazing heat of a thousand suns, it is impossible to see every single game played by 350 or so Division I teams. Sometimes you have a life, you know.
Furthermore, it's embarrassing to admit that yes, sometimes you have conflicting interests - family, other passions - that make squaring away two to two-and-a-half ours a day (more if traveling) out of the question. So you can now step forward proudly and say, "Yes, I didn't see that game everyone's talking about! But I wish I had!"
Despite all of the games out there, Number One on the Hit Parade is Bucknell at Pittsburgh. Aside from the fact that it's the start of the Suzie McConnell-Serio era at Pitt, it was also the first game listed on the schedule with a tip-off of 11 am ET. We live in a twisted universe where behemoths who toss around a pig's bladder get hours of airtime but if there were any justice in the world, some channel would schedule three hours of lead time and make this the headline game. Pittsburgh started the season 1-0 with a 66-51 win.
Bradley beat Illinois 98-92, which can't be a happy start for Matt Bollant. Look at senior Bradley guard Kelsey Budd's stat line: 23 points, 7 assists, 8 steals, 10 turnovers and 40 minutes played. Illinois only played seven players but Bollant called it a "lack of defensive mentality". Okay. The Illini blew an 11-point lead, and both teams combined for 48 turnovers.
The Audra Smith era got off to a rocky start as Clemson lost at home to Davidson, 77-57. Ouch. The game was tied at 45-45 all and then Davidson senior Shneeka Center would score 11 of the next 12 points.
North Carolina vs. Air Force ended with an 87-26 win for the Tar Heels. I think I would have enjoyed about five minutes of this before turning it off to watch something else (the Tar Heels were up 41-9 at halftime).
The blame for this game can be laid at football. Air Force feels like they need a Division I football team so all of their other programs have to be Division I. And then, we have to pretend that Air Force cadets who have to meet height restrictions (as well as certain academic and service commitments) can be placed on an equal basis with a power conference women's team. This is what you get as the result.
Finally, we have Maryland at South Florida. The Terps pulled out a 78-70 win, getting out-rebounded by the Bulls and forcing Maryland into 19 turnovers. Wonder senior Alyssa Thomas had a grand total of four points and four fouls for Maryland, only playing 10 minutes. If South Florida senior Inga Orekova had hit a few of her shots - she went 0-for-11 - could South Florida have pulled off an upset?
So which games yesterday do you wish you had seen? And why?