You knew that some upsets were coming today in the wake of yesterday’s calm.
I caught the last part of the Wisconsin-Green Bay vs. Virginia game, which saw Virginia climb out of a 16-point hole but still come up short on the win. Normally I go for the underdog, but it’s hard to root against the great Monica Wright, who finished her amazing career at Virginia with 34 points tonight. I hope she gets drafted by a WNBA team in which she fits right in.
Arkansas-Little Rock bested sixth-seeded Georgia Tech in their first Tournament appearance. The Yellowjackets never seem to make it far in the rounds, do they?
Vermont beat higher-seeded Wisconsin. Vermont?
It seems everyone was shocked by San Diego State’s win against Texas except those of us in Southern California, who already know. The Aztecs are building great things, sports fans. Just wait and see. In the meantime, Texas Coach Gail Goestenkors hasn’t done much with the Longhorns since she got there. Maybe she should to back to Duke.
DePaul tried to upset Vanderbilt, but missed it in overtime.
The biggest surprise for me today was that UCLA blew out North Carolina State. I thought it would be a close game, and the Wolfpack lead for a while in the first half. But from the 3:18 mark in the first half to the 3:18 mark in the second half, the Bruins went on a 53-21 run, according to the ESPN crew. It was quite an offensive display, lead by sophomore Jasmine Dixon, who is one of the physically strongest small forwards in the country. ESPN story and UCLA website story.
There were some pretty buckets. Way reserve guard Allison Taka, who’s probably played five minutes all season, unleashed a three at the very end of the game. Even center Moniquee Alexander scored a long-range basket. But with 10:17 to go in the game, the Bruins kept NC State away from their own basket for the entire length of the shot clock, and at the last second, freshman Markel Walker forced her opponet out of bounds. THAT made Coach Nikki Caldwell smile big and bright, and keep smiling. No surprise there, as defense is the Tennessee way.
What was interesting to me, though, was that there was no love between Caldwell and Wolfpack Coach Kellie Jolly Harper, who barely shook hands in the line after the game before moving on. I’m used to seeing a lot of warmth between those in the Vol family.
Next the Bruins will face top-ranked Nebraska. Hopefully they won’t get their asses kicked, but I’m really proud of them, Caldwell and the entire program.
Here’s a great story on Walker that ran this morning in the LA Times. The versatility of her game, as a tall player, is remniscent of Candace Parker, who Caldwell helped coach. This part of the story says a lot about Caldwell:
Walker knows that and said she left the East because she liked the bond with Caldwell. “I felt I needed that relationship type because I’m really close with my family and being away from home for a long period of time, I thought that would be affecting me,” she said.
Caldwell is personable with her players. “I try to stay in their world,” she said. “I’m going to movies, I’m going bowling, I’ve been to Chuck E. Cheese’s on recruiting visits with the kids and their families, I try to stay up to date with the music their listening to.” (Said Walker, laughing: “Her iPod is up to date.”)
Awesome piece on Stanford Cardinal sophomore Nnemkadi Ogwumike and her family.
Entertaining story about fellow Card Jayne Appel.