For a change of pace, we're coming to you in stereophonic sound from the Hynes Athletic Center on the campus of Iona College, where the Gaels play host to the
Peahens Peacocks of St. Peter's University, which used to be biologically accurate, which makes me sad. Then again, they brought in coaches who are good at burning things to the ground, so I'm okay with them doing other things that make me angry.
Damika Martinez has approximately a roll of bandage wrapped around her. I understand why- it's not easy to pretty much carry a team all by yourself. (She and Aliyyah Handford might want to start a support group.)
I think I'm starting to like Katy Perry. What's wrong with me?
I didn't think there were this many St. Peter's fans when we were at St. Peter's. Honestly. Do fans just materialize on the road? Do they not go to home games? This is a general question about WBB fans.
At halftime, as one might have expected, Iona is all up in the Peacocks' business, leading 39-14. Damika Martinez has eight to lead the way, but it's been a pretty balanced scoring effort. This is, to be frank, expected from a St. Peter's squad that has won a total of one game by a total of one point.
Iona needed a game like this, where they could just cut loose, make things happen, and take some questionable shots without fear of a comeback. Sometimes you just need a jabronie.
It might be a little dishonest of you to have the Mirage Diner in your featurette on communications when you forced them out to build a dorm, Iona College.
That "Welcome To New York" song by Taylor Swift is really annoying, and she is not ambassador of any kind of New York I represent. I just thought I'd throw that out there.
So, St. Peter's. Oddly enough, or perhaps not oddly because this is Pat Coyle we're talking about here, most of their best players came off the bench. Hala Mostafa found her shot, awkward and fundamentally unsound as it is, late in the game- it never looked good, except when it was nothing but net. Her height was disruptive on defense. Teresa Corchado was called upon to run point and was unspectacular. She seemed hesitant on offense. Antonia Smith drove down the lane and threw up wild shots. Sometimes they even went in. I really like Talah Hughes, which, since this is Pat Coyle's team we're talking about, means that either she'll run away screaming, get catastrophically injured (which I shouldn't joke about, I read about Janee Thompson), or never develop an iota more. But in all seriousness, I like her touch around the basket, I like the way she moves on defense, and I like how she hits the boards. Neechelle Ingram came in to make space in the lane, pull down rebounds, and chew bubblegum, and apparently she was all out of bubblegum. She throws her body around without fear.
I have no honest idea why some of these Peacocks started, but this is Pat Coyle we're talking about. Alyssa Velles got looks from outside and missed most of them badly, but at least her performance at Seton Hall allows me to understand why she might be starting. Rebecca Sparks looked good very early on, but didn't play much in the second half. I think she was running the point, but honestly, I don't know if St. Peter's was even sure what they were doing. I can't even remember Samantha Meier other than being kind of tall and generally not useful. Bridget Whitfield played a little bit of defense. Sajanna Bethea bodied up to get free throws, and despite a slightly unorthodox motion, she hit them. She made sure that if a rebound came her way, she was going to get it.
The Peacocks did a good job taking advantage of Iona's bailing out on rebounds. When they went to Hughes, good things generally happened. But there was a lot of ugly and a lot of bad, bad shots. But I think we've established this is not a good team, nor do they have a staff that will make them better players.
Kristin Mahoney still has that deer-in-the-headlights look whenever she's on the floor, but I'm starting to wonder if that's her default game face and I'm just misinterpreting her facial expression. She went hard on the floor for a couple of loose balls, and we were all thrilled when she finally hit her shot after a couple of looks. Philecia Gilmore has all the confidence Kristin doesn't, and enough extra that I wish she could bottle it and give it to Kristin. She has that point guard mentality of "my team, my offense, I run this", but she seemed a little quick to call her own number. Cassidee Ranger set screens and hit threes, as is her wont. Sometimes her teammates forgot to use the screens, no matter how well she set them. Aurellia Cammock brought the rebounding, but misjudged her timing often. She's only a sophomore, she'll figure that out.
For once, Damika Martinez did not have to be the whole show on offense, and that's good, because she was overshooting pretty much everything she threw up. She made a lot of extra passes that she didn't necessarily have to make, passing up easy shots to get her teammates involved. I mean, I shouldn't complain about the desire, but at the same time, I want to see Damika hit 2467. Joy Adams had at least three of her shots bounce off the inside of the rim and out, so I'll give her a pass on percentage. I do love the way she occasionally goes all Matrix in the lane. Marina Lizarazu brought out the fancy passes today, whipping the ball behind her back twice to teammates for lay-ups. She was hitting her lay-ups early, too, with both hands, but became more of a distributor later. Karynda DuPree, for once, did not instill in me the urge to thwap her with my clipboard. She was actually hitting those threes that she insists on taking, and she was getting on the boards (even if she maintains the reprehensible habit of bringing the ball down to guard level), and she blocked shots. I'd like to see her take more shots that are not threes, in addition to fewer shots that are threes, but if she's hitting them, I guess I can't complain. Aaliyah Robinson did a little bit of everything- well, actually, she did a lot bit of everything. When she's playing well, she plays tall- she stretches for rebounds against bigger posts to get a hand on them, she gets her hands in the passing lanes, she elevates. She cleared boards, she hit threes, she ran breaks- Aaliyah is fun to watch when she's playing well.
The one thing that bothered me, and los Martinez in front of me, was the consistent lack of rebounding from Iona. St. Peter's actually out-rebounded us in the end, and that might have been because they had more shots to rebound than we did, but also because we backed off everything. It's very frustrating. 10-20 from three is also not sustainable, and I hope they're not expecting it to be.
There's no reason to complain about the officiating, so I won't. I think there were some game management calls made, but Iona has a tendency to get in their own way, and also, 34-point game.
You knew it was going to be bad for St. Peter's when Pat Coyle called two timeouts before the first media timeout. And then she called one late, as if searching for a 37-point play.
The best kind of give-and-take: on one break, Marina Lizarazu flips the behind the back pass to Aaliyah Robinson for the lay-up. Next possession, Aaliyah pushes the break and slips the pass to Marina for the lay-up.
LOL of the day: Damika fires a three from the corner straight and true- and wedges it between the rim and the backboard. Joy leaps up, twines the fingers of one hand into the net, and punches out the ball with the other. At which point our posse starts in, "Spider-Joy, Spider-Joy, does whatever a player can..."
So that was fun. Today was a good day.