Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Threes lead UConn to "threepeat"...63-53 over Notre Dame -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple
UCONN CAPTURES NCAA WOMENS TOURNAMENT BY 10
The University of Connecticut Huskies won the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row...fighting off a determined Notre Dame squad 63-53 Tuesday night in Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
The game mirrored the comic strip Peanuts in a fashion. Picture Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown as he prepares to kick it. As the hard luck Chuck runs up to plant his foot on it, Lucy raises the football, Charlie Brown misses and ends up on his posterior. Every time, the Irish would make a run at the Huskies last night, "Lucy" would drain a three and Notre Dame would end up falling back again.
It has to hurt, being the perpetual bridesmaid...Notre Dame is a great team and has plenty of players returning to be a threat again next year. Unfortunately for them, Breanna Stewart returns for Geno along with starters Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck and Kia Nurse.
The Irish were competitive early (stop me if you've heard this one before...) and led 9-6 a mere 3:13 into the game after a Michaela Mabrey three. UConn responded with a 12-2 run and Muffet's marauders never quite recovered from it.
A bit of intrigue near the end of the first half when Stewart rolled an ankle making a cut on offensive with the ball. The Huskies didn't falter, though, while trainers re-taped her and she professed she was ready to go as the teams returned for second half action
It wasn't Stewart who won this...quite frankly...rather ugly game, though. Her 15 rebounds and eight points didn't hurt...but it was UConn's 5-10 three-point shooting in the final twenty that put the dagger into the girls in green.
Cut it to five, will you Irish? Jefferson drains a three. Climb back within six? Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis steps up and connects from behind the arc.
It is what championship teams do...weather the storm and respond with their own thunder.
UConn led by 13 with 2:37 to go and you wondered if the King would let some of his lesser known All-Americans play...but he stayed the course with the five that gave him 187 minutes of a possible 200.
It is finished. The season over. Players at over 300 schools will spend the summer working on their cross-overs, their positioning for rebounds, mid-range jumpers and reverse layups. They'll get to know their teammates better, indoctrinate the incoming freshman on the style, tempo and in's-and-out's of their program.
They'll suit up again officially in October and begin the battle to win games, conference and advance to the Big Dance. Hope springs eternal. Wins equal hope.
There is a gorilla still in the midst, though and a determined "Stewie" looking to make good on her promise to win four titles in four years. She will call the tune and her teammates will crowd the dance floor. Just ask those who attempted an Irish jig last night and ended up second best in the dance-off.
We can hope that a talented class of incoming freshmen and a stellar returning contingent based on the Belknap Campus can throw a wrench into that well-oiled UConn machine. If not the Cards...maybe someone can get on a roll and win six straight. Maybe the NCAA should just tell Notre Dame to stay home if they get to Tuesday and let someone else try to stop the dog sled.
The 2016 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four is in Indianapolis next season. A mere 90 minutes north of Louisville up I-65.
The path to get there, unfortunately...looks like it will have to go through either Storrs, CT or South Bend, IN.
Congratulations to Charlie McAdams and Sonja...who won the CARDINAL COUPLE PICK 'EM CONTEST. Since Sonja is part of the staff here, she will not claim the $25 gift card, even though her final game point total was closer to the actual 116 points scored than Charlie's was. Second place and the CARDINAL COUPLE absolutely fabulous tee-shirt goes to K.Starks.
Send me those mailing addresses, fellas, to our e-mail address so we can get the swag to you. Our customer fulfillment chimps will get right on that.