Bo Knows...the Paradise Jam
Someone on the Sky coaching staff had to do it, so I took one for the team and volunteered to spend my Thanksgiving holiday on the beautiful island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The first thing I noticed about the island was the size of the three cruise ships that were in port. Next I noticed the amazing scenery, from the gorgeous color of the water to the awesome views we saw as we rode in brand new Ford pickup truck cabs with nice benches in the back where the customers sat. We hitched these cabs back and forth from the hotel to where the games were being played. This was definitely a new experience for me.
I had to get used to the iguanas that roamed all over the island. They were on the sidewalks, at the pool and just about everywhere I looked. There were some that were small and some that were around three feet long. They actually were pretty cool and would never bother anyone. They just wanted to hang out in the sun like we did.
I guess I had better tell you a little about the games, which was the official reason I was in the Virgin Islands. This was a great tournament and included some top ten teams like UConn, Stanford, Duke and Texas A&M.
Here’s a rundown on what I saw.
Purdue vs Duke
I was disappointed that Purdue’s Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton was injured during the summer and wasn’t able to play. Abby Wanner of Duke was also injured and didn’t play the first two games, but she was able to come back and play in Duke’s third game. Chante Black, 6-5 junior from Duke had a nice game, as well as Wanisha Smith, 5-11 senior guard who was playing with a broken hand. Purdue’s Danielle Campbell and Natasha Bogdanova led the way with 14 and 12 points as Duke won the game by 12 points.
Stanford vs UConn
This game featured two very good teams that will be fun to follow this year. UConn is loaded with lots of speed, size, experience and probably the best freshman in the country in Maya Moore. Stanford is going to be hard to handle as well. Senior Candice Wiggins and sophomore Jayne Appel give them a solid inside-outside punch.
Temple vs Stanford
For me, this was one of the best games of the tournament. Temple played a great first half, lead by Ashley Morris, a 5-5 very quick point guard and Lady Comfort, a 6-2 post (who easily made the All Name Team). Stanford came back in the second half, scoring the first 19 points of the half, lead by Candice Wiggins, eventually catching up with Temple and winning the game.
Texas A&M vs Indiana
Look for A&M to have a solid year in the Big 12, especially when Morenike Atunrase, a 5-11 wing player that can do it all, returns to their lineup. She has been slowed by a foot injury but the coaches expect her to be well by January. In the meantime, they will rely on senior point Aqua Franklin and sophomore Takia Starks, a very explosive wing player.
Here’s a quick recap of the tournament. UConn won all three games going away, while Duke and Stanford both went 2-1. I was very impressed with Temple. Old Dominion and Wake Forest also played well.