Monday, January 31, 2011

How Did Duke Get to Be Number 3?

Hey, ESPN2 advertised a great women’s basketball game for Monday night preim time, number two UConn vs. number three Duke, both teams ranked higher than Stanford, even though Stanford beat one of them, go figure, Duke is the last undefeated team in the country, 20-0, and has the current “Streak”, Stanford beat UConn to end the streak….. So C and R tape it and settle in to watch, women’s basketball, 2 vs 3, a chance to root against UConn again (What’s that old saying, I root for Stanford and any team playing UConn…). Problem is, someone forgot to tell Duke to show up.

UConn jumps out to a 13-0 score before Duke even scored a point 5 minutes into the contest. Duke missed its first 12 shots, and then didn’t score again until they made one free throw by Karima Christmas (jiminy Christmas!). When it got to be 23-3 with about 9 minutes left, it was embarrassing for women’s basketball! Want more? Duke missed their first 20 shots and were 1 for 10 from three point land. When it got to be 40-9, the UConn students chanted, “overrated” at the Duke bench (See, other fans can be as witty as the Stanford band!). The only drama was could UConn hold Duke to fewer than 12 points in the half to set a Duke record in futility. Duke clawed back and got to 15, darn it, their lowest half of the season, and went into the locker room down 41-15, shooting 15% from the floor, and we can’t get Stanford on TV!?

And where was Duke’s D? How do you lose Maya Moore? They let her score at will, running the baseline and posting up, fast breaking, hitting threes. Maya would finish with 29. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer would never allow that, losing track of Moore. Or allow UConn to score so many points in transition. Or allow the kinds of shot selections Duke took that were way beyond the arc, hurried and just plain ugly. I mean C and R have never seen so many airballs in a game. R said she felt sorry for Duke, but also it looked like they did not do their preparation for this game, like a Tara VanDerveer does. How did Duke get to be number three in the country ahead of Stanford? You know we are biased and all, but Stanford would run circles around this Duke team we saw tonight.

We must admit the reffing was terrible, even worse than the PAC-10, so much contact left uncalled, but it looked like UConn was fouled the most and should have gotten to the line more.

Duke would come out in the second with a little more hustle and got it within 18-20 points, but than Maya Moore took over, hitting threes, quick-releasing her pretty jump shot and getting 29 points before letting what few bench players they have get some playing time (It was Maya’s 134th game in double figures and it tied Courtney Paris’ record). Even Tiffany Hayes got 20 points on a bum ankle, twisted early in the second half. UConn got the lead up to 36 points and coasted to an 87-51 victory.

Must admit the one time Maya took a breather before the end UConn looked unsure and lost without her. A telling quote Maya’s teammate Kelly Faris reported from SI:

"When you have an athlete like Maya, the second she steps off the floor, you are kind of waiting for her to come back in," said Faris. "It's fun being on the floor with her. I can speak for everybody that when she's on the floor, she kind of relaxes us all."

It was fun to hear ESPN2 analyst Kara Lawson’s comments. She was “speechless and perplexed” when the score was, what 40-9 or so, and couldn’t believe “Duke didn’t compete on prime time TV”. Called Duke “a colossal no show”… if only we could get her to watch a Stanford game.

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