(OUR SANDY WALKER WEIGHS IN ON THE GAME)
Notre Dame learned during their loss to West Virginia that individual play alone, (in that case 32 points by Skylar Diggins) no matter how good the player, will not often win games. Teammates have to show a trust of each other through a willingness to pass off to one another and trusting that it will come back to them when it should. Today I saw too much of individuals trying to carry the load by themselves which resulted in off balance outside shots, trying to drive to the basket alone and forcing of plays that just did not exist. I do realize that we were playing one of the top teams in the nation and that we have been surprisingly successful without the services of several players who were expected to contributing at this point. BUT as fans we always want more.
I’ve made it no secret to anyone that will listen that I think the team would have benefited by Sarah Hammond seeing more playing time from game 1 forward. Increased time on the floor by Sarah in the last 2 games has paid off for the team in scoring and rebounding but today no one passed the ball in to her (except with 1 second on the shot clock and after she moved outside the 3 point line while coming to the rescue of a trapped Shoni) Instead we dribbled and passed around the perimeter or choose to attempt to go one on one, or at times one on 2 in mostly unsuccessful drives to the basket. I can’t help but believe that her 12-15’ pull up jumper would have been a welcome alternative look for the Irish to defend.
While I am playing arm chair coach: Would someone please draw up more than the one inbounds play that we seem to have. A Shoni pass-in to someone under our basket with a move to the corner for the return pass to Shoni is well known. It just seems that we have a terrible time just getting the ball safely in play from out of bounds with each attempt leaving me holding my breath until we get the ball into Cardinal hands. We seem to convert what should be an offensive opportunity into a struggle just to keep possession of the ball.
BUT through all of the non-asked for opinions and coaching, we absolutely stand by our team, no matter the outcome as they not only great players but they also are great ambassadors for our school and city. Mo and Tia both came up into the stands and were signing autographs and speaking with the fans during a long stretch of the pre-game. Adults waiting for time with the injured players appeared to outnumber the kids and it was nice to watch these young ladies giving the special time that was shown to each fan.
Today’s crowd of 13,054 for a 2:00 PM Monday game not only shows why Louisville is in the running for the 2nd highest attendance for all women’s teams but according to reports by 790 radio announcers, also makes them leading in average attendance over 13 of the 16 Big East Men’s teams. Multiple ESPN camera shots of the “red out” crowd were magnificent.
As stated best by the ESPN half time commentators, “Those KFC YUM fans just love their Cardinals”.
(AND...IT'S TRUE. WE DO!)