FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Becky Burke comes in second in State Farm 3-point contest
-Good reads on the UofL v UK rivalry
-The Watson Chronicles
UofL senior guard Becky Burke wasn't picked by any of the ESPN "talking heads" to win the Women's 3-point shootout last night in Tulane's Fogelman arena. It didn't phase the Clarks' Summit, PA native, though...as she qualified for the second round and finals of the shoot-out before losing to USC's Ashley Corral.
It was very exciting to see Burke standing on the sidelines before her turn...#11 paying attention to her tying of her shoes and chatting with the other participants. She went last in the first round...knowing that Corral had put up a score of 20 and that two other participants had registered scores of 15.
The announcers' hype was on her first-round shooting adversary...Alyssa Shoji (Santa Clara). Becky started slowly...but picked up her accuracy as the contestants circled their way around the arc. She shot well at the final rack of balls and ended up with 15 points. It put her in a tie for second with Jessica Jenkins (St. Bonaventure) and Courtney Ingersoll (Toledo).
We heard a rarity in the second round, ESPN guys actually saying favorable things about a player from Louisville...complementing her on her form and release from three point range. And, Becky was "on"...scoring 18 points..best of any of the second round contestants and advancing to the finals to meet Corral.
Loved the shirt "puffing" of the Louisville name by Burke and the obvious excitement and joy on BB's face as she dominated the other three participants. She had a total of 33 points in the first and second rounds...second best behind Corral's 34.
Corral went first in the finals and was hitting well, especially on the "money ball" or two point shot. She torched the nets for 20 points again and Burke's work was cut out for her.
She gave it her best effort...but the shots just weren't falling as frequently as they were in the first two rounds and Becky finished with 11 points.
Still it was great to see her out there having fun and to watch her doing what she did best in four years at UofL -- bomb from long range.
We had surmised that she was the only UofL women's basketball player to ever participate in this event...but were informed by CARDINAL COUPLE correspondent Jenny that Jill Morton took part in the event in 2000 and made it to the second round before bowing out. Morton is fourth on the all-time made 3-point field goals list at UofL with 201.
We're gonna miss that big Becky smile and great personality around here next year. Always loved the way she was straight-forward and detailed in her post-game press conference comments.
Whoever steps in to fill those shoes as the long range "hired gun" will have their work ahead of them to try and duplicate what "double B's" accomplished here at Louisville in four years. She's third on UofL made threes list with 249 and will be first in a lot of Cardinal fans' hearts for a long time.
Good effort tonight for Becky. Any WNBA franchises interested in a dead-on bomber from long range? If so, dial 1-800-UL BECKY...and hit "3" at the prompt....
Great read on the UofL and UK rivalry below and a thought-perception look at the UofL and UK fan profile.
Cats fans have much to fear
And, this tongue-in-cheek look at the rivalry...
The day Louisville died
(David Watson is a special correspondent for CARDINAL COUPLE. He's also about the only one we can get to write articles lately. Maybe too many articles...but D.W. has never been shy about saying what's on his mind. HERE WE GO...)
Final Four's have been established for both the men's and women's NCAA Tournaments. How did you do in your prognostication picks on who would get there? I'll take my 5 out of eight possible any day. I went 3 for 4 with women's picks -- missing only on Stanford. I figured St. John's to get there in my original bracket picks. I wish I had submitted these to the CARDINAL COUPLE contest. I'd be in third place, but time, work and just plain forgetfulness on my part were my reasons for missing the event.
On the guys side, I'm 2 for 4. Had to put UK there. They're better than several NBA franchises this year. I also liked Kansas to get to New Orleans and play in the Championship game against the Calipari Cats. I have them beating UK. I've revised that as of late and I am optimistic that we'll see a Louisville - Kansas title match Monday night.
Louisville is the highest seed at #4 out of all eight finalists. Five #1 seeds advanced and two #2 seeds join the Cards in the FINAL FOUR'S. Got them right where we want them, right? No surprise that in various polls and opinion surveys I've looked at, Louisville is being chosen as the least likely to capture the crown on the men's docket. Shock and awe, baby. It's worked well so far.
Finally, I want to publicly address an e-mail forwarded to me by Sonja that CARDINAL COUPLE received about me. It was an "anonymous" sender and although Sonja offered to track the IP address for me, I declined. I will put mine out there for all to see, though. You can e-mail me at this link.
It is: firstname.lastname@example.org
The writer expressed his dis-satisfaction on just about every item I've submitted to CARDINAL COUPLE. The writer also went back into time and berated me for my participation at another website (a site that banned me for speaking my mind). Here is my response:
How fortunate you are to be 100% correct all the time and never controversial in your life!
How great it must be for you to live in a world where everyone is always in perfect agreement with you and if a dissenter exists...you can make them disappear with a wave of your magic wand. I am envious.
I, sadly, live in a world where there are differences in opinion. I make mistakes. I sometimes take the "road less traveled" opinion and viewpoint. I live in a world where there is unforeseen tragedy and horrible events that cause devastation and heartbreak. Sadness is as common and happiness and I've tried many shades of glasses...but none can block or prevent my view of the real picture out there.
Maybe someday -- I'll be allowed to reach your lofty, pristine and tranquil world. Until then, I will dwell in reality and write about it as well. As Paul has said in the past, if you don't like what you are reading, your laptop or main frame keyboard has a back arrow or just click the red "X" on the top, right hand corner of your screen.
Have a great weekend everybody and let's hope we are marveling Sunday morning (April Fools Day, too!) about how Louisville is playing for it all on Monday night. Next week is "Holy Week" -- so take some time to remember what happened in the past to a man who gave his life for us so that we could be free of sin.
I am of firm conviction that this game must not be allowed to take place. Too much at stake. Crisis phone bank centers being overwhelmed with distraught calls from fans on the losing side. People hurling themselves off the K&I bridge in Louisville or the bridge on I-75 over the Kentucky River outside Lexington. Families weeping openly in public venues while priests, state employees and used car salesmen try to console them.
I have to take action. I am headed to New Orleans to prevent this mistake.
I left a note on the kitchen table for the wife and kids. It explained what I have gone to do and what I hope to accomplish. The note also reminded my son to cut the grass and revealed my secret for keeping the garage door on it's hinges. I'm not giving up my recipe for chicken fritattas yet. That note will probably get eaten by Ralph, the chocolate Labrador. It will not taste nearly as good as my fritattas.
I am in my Ford Escort driving down I-65. Talking into my voice recorder. Wondering if I have time to visit Mammoth Cave. I stopped for gas earlier. Too many White Castles in Louisville. I told the girl at the register in the gas and groceries of my plan. She ignored me. Just like the Americans ignored warnings that a big ol' fleet of Japanese planes were flying across the Pacific back in 1941.
I left her a copy of my 22 page manifesto on why I am doing what I am doing. She gave me $3.71 back in change. I am reborn, feeling good about this trip and I will bypass Nashville by taking back roads outside of Hendersonville. The voices are telling me to. I will comply.
I've tried to reach Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan several times now by cellular means. Left voice mails telling them to have their teams ready to hop on charters and play each other for the chance to meet the Kansas vs. Ohio State winner. I also mis-dialed once and ordered a pint of Moo Goo Gai Pan and (2) egg-rolls from some restaurant in Bangor, Maine. It matters not. I don't even like egg-rolls.
Arriving in the city of New Orleans. I know I am being followed. I'm being watched and talked about all over the Crescent City. They don't think I know that I know they are watching. But I do. I stop at a package store on the west bank. I buy three packages, one with pretty floral wrapping paper and a yellow bow. Oh, yeah. This is real and it's going down.
I'm outside Pitino's hotel. He is who I must talk to first. Only he will be able to understand the logic of what I have to do. Only he has the foresight and knowledge to wisely step aside and call this Armageddon off. We posed together for a picture once in the 1990's. I know he'll remember.
Things are starting to greatly upset me. People telling me Pitino isn't available. That Pitino is sleeping. That Pitino rhymes with Petrino. Tall, muscular men with sunglasses and dour dispositions. I'll have the last laugh, though.
Got him! He was sneaking out the back of the hotel with Ricky, Jr. and Paul Rogers. Face to face. I tell him quickly, fervently to call the game off. It is a brief plea and there are people talking all around us. He smiles and autographs my New Orleans map with his sharpie. So does Rogers. Junior gives me a business card for a tax attorney. WTF? They are in the car and gone before I can fight my way through the sunglass dudes and hitch a ride. I have no choice now. I've got to get to Calipari. Six hours before tip off. Maybe some sushi or craw-fish fettuccine first...
I enter the Calipari hotel and some pretty young thing from a Louisville television station grabs me by the arm and asks me if I'd like to be on the air and talk about the game? Divine providence! A chance to share my position with the world! It's a blur. Lights, babbling. A microphone shoved in front of my face. I pull out a copy of my manifesto and start to read. All of a sudden, a bleach-blonde babe comes walking in the lobby with two yorkies on leashes. One wearing a red jump suit and the other clad in blue. Oohs and ahhs, and in a flash, the cameras, the reporters and the crowd leave me. I stand there alone. I am dismayed but not defeated.
It cost me $250 but I met this guy who knows this guy who can get me five minutes alone with Calipari. It's my best shot now. We're to meet in 45 minutes, in an abandoned coin laundry establishment five blocks from the Superdome.
I get there early and walk in and look around. I see the place is empty and that's the last thing I remember before I feel this sharp thump to the back of my head and I sink into unconsciousness.
I awake in pain. My wallet -- gone. My watch -- gone. Even my wing-tip shoes -- gone. I've also got a toy balloon in the shape of a giraffe on my head. I get up. I stagger out of the laundry into the mid-afternoon sun. "Nice balloon, dude!" a young man comments as he walks by me on the sidewalk. I know now that it's "final option" time. I walk down the sidewalk toward the Superdome. Pants around my ankles -- because the bastards got my belt, too. I give the giraffe balloon to an elderly couple passing me on the sidewalk. They hand me a $5 dollar bill. City of big spenders.
I lurk outside the employees' entrance to the Dome. Waiting for weak prey. I find one, approach and offer congratulations on being selected for and winning a 3-day, 2-night all expenses paid trip to Six Flags over Peytona-Waddy. The gullible victim follows me behind the dumpster. It is over quickly. Mercifully. Clad in my new uniform, equipped with I.D, I walk away. I hear a plaintive
"Hey, Mister. Where's my trip voucher?"
from behind the dumpster as I approach the door. The security guard gives me a perfunctionary glance and hurriedly checks my badge as I briskly walk in. "Go ahead, Ms. Soo Lee Kwang." I hear as I walk away. Perfect! I have to ditch these heels, though.
An hour before tip. I am high up in the Dome, in front of a vast array of electrical control panels. What I had to do to get that far, I'd rather not go into detail about and I'm not too proud of. Let's just say that if I ever end up in prison, I'll be one popular dude and probably have inmates fight over sharing a cell with me. During the player introductions, this puppy goes off the grid! No way they can play in the dark.
There were about a dozen of them and just one of me, but I put up a heck of a fight. They overpowered me, though. Damn girl scouts selling cookies for their troop. 12 boxes of Tag-a-longs later, I am alone again. I wonder why Soo Lee doesn't carry any large bills in her purse and I wonder who the people are in her wallet photos? Why is there a picture of Danny Most from "Happy Days"? I hear the National Anthem over the speakers. It's almost show-time, kiddies!
Just as Anthony Davis trots out to exchange greetings with the rest of the Cats, I start flipping switches. What? It isn't stopping the introductions! I take a crowbar to the panels. Sparks flying everywhere, the thick acrid smoke choking my lungs. But, the lights remain on. I dash out of the electrical room. Power is on everywhere. An electrical maintenance guy strolls my way briskly. I ask what's happening. He looks at me.
"Ms. Kwang, all the parking lot lights have gone off. Excuse me. please."
He also winks at me and hands me a piece of paper with his phone number on it. Guys just love to open their big mouths and blab, don't they?
I sag. My mind is spinning. Parking lot control boxes? I hand him a box of Tag-a-longs and feebly shuffle off.
I walk slowly, dejectedly down the concourse. I hear the crowd roar and the announcer boom "Goal by Siva!" I have failed. I walk to the ramp leading to the lower level. A supervisor in a tie grabs me by the arm, though, and wildly shouts:
"I need you to go get more chicken strips for Luxury Box 13, Soo Lee!"
Why not? Maybe I can lurk up there and watch a little bit of the contest. Maybe meet a big-shot attorney or investment banker and go out for cocktails and whatever after the game.
I've been changed by all this. I doubt I ever get back to my home, my wife and kids. But, there are advantages to being a middle aged, single Chinese woman in New Orleans, I suppose.
How do you say "New in town, big fella?" in Mandarin (or ca-jun)?
(Looks like we'll be looking for someone to replace David as a contributing writer. Unless we develop a strong following in China or New Orleans)