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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, C.B,

Tuesday's CARDINAL COUPLE presents:
-A Happy Birthday to #13 Candyce Bingham
-Fern Creek in the Softball World Series
-Commentary on the NCAA

Happy Birthday wishes to former Cardinal women's' basketball great Candyce Bingham. We share with you our memories on one of our favorite Lady Cards games of all times and Bingham's role in it.

We take you back to March 9th, 2008. The University of Louisville women's' basketball team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament but has dangerous Rutgers to face off against. It is a late Sunday afternoon and several of us have gathered to watch the game at a local establishment. We're wishing we were in Hartford watching the event live...but happy the Cards have advanced this far.

Rutgers is to be feared. The defending BIG EAST tournament champions. Piph Prince, Matee Ajavon and Kia Vaughn. C Viv Springer coaching. 24-5 on the season and seemingly headed to a Tuesday Night final game against UConn.

The Cardinals, though..had different plans. Hanging tough against the Scarlet Knights. Rebounding well and if only Angel was shooting better...this could be a win.

It comes down to less than a minute to go and Rutgers...with just eight players suited up...is clinging to a 56-55 lead. No one at our table of six is sitting down anymore. We've even got the people at the bar, many dressed in UK blue, cheering for Walz and the Cards. The clock is nearing 30 seconds to go...and then it happens.

McCoughtry is working the ball toward the basket. Everyone is expecting her to take the potential go-ahead shot and she's double teamed. A third Rutgers defender switches over to stop her and McCoughtry soars into the air, we hold our breath and instead of shooting, she spots a wide open Bingham near the basket and dumps a pass to her. Bingham makes the layup.

57-56 UofL. I hug everyone around me, including the startled waitress. There is no more scoring in the frantic half minute that remains. CARDS WIN! CARDS WIN! A stunned Kia Vaughn stands on the court, hands on hips in disbelief and then quickly walks to the locker room. Piph Prince later recalls that she can't even recall what happened, she just knew the game was over.

Bingham has a clear and bright memory of it, though:

"She (Angel) had three people on her and she saw me under the basket to put it in. They were getting confused because Angel was coming off screens. I was able to break free and she was able to find me."

Happy Birthday, Candyce. And, thanks for making the shot heard around the world.

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The Fern Creek 16U softball team lost their first game yesterday in the double elimination World Series tournament in Varina, VA. to Henderson/Vance NC. by the score of 3-2. The Creekers had received a first round bye after going 4-0 in tournament pool play. They'll take on Herndon, VA in the loser's bracket today.

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Word circulating around that the women's NCAA college basketball tournament is seriously considering expanding the format to include more teams. We here at CARDINAL COUPLE are against it. The 64 team format works and there hasn't been a team reach the Final Four from the #9 thru #16 seeds in the Regions since Alexander Franklin flew a kite and ran into a electrical disturbance.

You know what's behind it...money. A few more chances to draw WBB fans out of Hooterville and Bugtussle to watch the directionally challenged state school lose by thirty to UConn or Stanford.

"Despite 13 points by Holly Halfcourt, the Raccoons of Northeastern Southwest State fell to Rutgers 88-31 in the first round of the NCAA."

OK. Like we need that nonsense. The tournament works with 64 teams. Not 68, 96 or 128. Don't mess with something that isn't broken. Another case of the NCAA seeing an postseason offshoot (like last years WBI Invitational) and getting greedy. Hey, gurus...it wasn't all that. Only 500 people (a generous estimate) to watch Louisville play Bradley in the first round of the event last year in Freedom Hall. You want to do something constructive and helpful? Schedule more first and second round games where highly seeded teams don't have to travel 12 hours to play. (Yes, I'm still peeved about Louisville getting shipped off to Baton Rouge in 2009 when WKU and Bowling Green were 90 minutes away.)

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