Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Quick WoHoops comments

The Monk doesn't tend to pay too much attention to women's hoops, primarily because he pays entirely too much attention to the men's NCAA Tourney and secondarily because he has never been quite as enthralled by the women's game (this differs in large respect from two of the boys who worked under me as associate editors at the sports section at U.Va. and had a blast both covering the WoHoops team during its heyday [U.Va. went to three straight Final Fours from 1990-92] and just going to the games). Nonetheless, The Monk has a pretty good understanding of the state of things . . . at least as good as Lisa ("she came to play" "she brought her game tonight") Leslie.

When reminded, I actually remembered little Kim Mulkey, the sullen-looking point guard with the braided pigtails in her light blue uni directing traffic for Louisiana Tech WAY back in the day. Today, she's Kim Mulkey-Robertson and she's the queen of the WoHoops world: a coach who took a completelyinthedumper Baylor program to the top of the WoHoops mountain in five years. A turnaround even Geno Auriemma didn't pull off. She's also an icon to the TV folks for her sideline energy (the ESPN chatterers have tossed around a notion of "Kim Cam" to catch her reactions).

Baylor's win is a big deal here in Texas because the Baylor faithful have had to endure a football program that has slid from national competitiveness to division III in all but name in the past 12 years, and the heinous murder-and-coverup scandal of the men's hoops team in 2003 under Dave Bliss. Sports success is a source of pride to the Texas university grads.

As for the game itself: one thing proven is that there are still sizeable disparities in athletic ability even at the top of the women's game. Baylor's fowards were quick, strong and top-notch athletic women. But that Michigan State team Baylor drubbed probably outplayed its talent level most of the year. Its post players were immobile (one of them physically resembles a female Babe Ruth) and its guards were only solid, but fundamentally nearly impeccable. Coach P (Joanne P. McCallie) did a fine job instilling a DONOTQUIT ethic (the Spartans beat superpower Tennessee 68-64 despite deficits of 47-31 and 62-52 in the second half) in that team.

As for lingering vive la difference in reporting on the men's and women's games, you'll never see this type of paragraph in a game recap of a men's game:

[The Baylor Lady Bears'] killer instinct was a perfect reflection of their feisty coach, who practically glowed in a bold aqua-blue pant suit as she stormed back and forth in front of the bench, calling plays, pleading for calls from the officials and cajoling her players to keep pressing -- even with a 20-point lead.

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