Tuesday, February 14, 2017

U Conn Women

Typically I am not a fan of women's basketball. I've gone to games here at Northeastern and been engaged to some extent when I've attended. Once even, I was an honorary coach during a period when our then coach had members of the faculty sit on the bench. On that day I got to listen to pre game and halftime conversations. I did find that fascinating.  The coach had the team so well prepared.  They knew everything about their opponents. Could a player go left? Shoot foul shots? Play tenacious defense? It was remarkable how complex the game plan was and how dedicated the coaches seemed to be. It was eons ago but when I played college basketball in 1967 we received a mimeographed (smell the ink) sheet with a list of the players and some information on it.  We, the freshmen team, would eat and look at the scouting reports with the varsity.  Their, the varsity's, scouting report was like ours. Very basic. The Northeastern women knew the size sneakers (an exaggeration) of the opponents.  The detail was unbelievable and eye opening.

But watching the game, even for a zealot, did not do too much for me. It wasn't like women's softball, hockey, or volleyball that can have me riveted--or men's basketball and football.

There is one exception to my lack of interest. And that is the Connecticut Women's team.  The Connecticut women are something special and something else. I watch them whenever they are competing against a top opponent.

Last night I made sure to switch the channel in time to see Connecticut go after its 100th consecutive victory. I became irritated when the contest being broadcast right beforehand went into single and then double overtime.  I felt as if I was missing a part of the super bowl. Eventually, the UCONN game was aired.  Connecticut defeated a tough South Carolina opponent last night, prevailing by 11 for their 100th straight.

You read it here first. Connecticut will not win the championship this year.  I don't know if South Carolina will win, but someone will. Last night the opponent was more skilled than UCONN. Very big on the inside. Deeper. Nevertheless Connecticut won.

So, they will lose eventually, but when they do so they will have won more than 100 straight games. Think about that for a few seconds.  100 straight games. (And before this current streak started they had won 47 in a row).

A question that often surfaces when speaking about UCONN is whether the basketball team's achievement is akin to a similar men's team achievement.

The answer is no, but it still is amazing.

It is not the same as a men's team 100 game streak, because most of the opponents UCONN women face could not beat the Huskies if the opponents were spotted 30 points. So, as opposed to men's teams who night after night face teams that could beat them, UCONN often faces teams that have no, as in no, chance of winning.

Still, 100 games. 100 games! If you went to the school yard with the biggest baddest guys in the neighborhood. And played 100 games against weaker opponents. You would not win 100 straight times. 100 games!

The streak, I predict again, will not last the season. But lordy has it been an accomplishment that should go down in sports history as absolutely remarkable.

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