Hoops with House Blog #4

I have always made the argument... this time of year; the last week of February through the first week of April is THE BEST time of the basketball viewing all year. I don’t have enough monitors, iPhone’s, iPads, TV’s to stay connected to every game.

Thank goodness for video archives!

PLAYER’S CORNER

Well, FORMER player – but always part of the Sky Family – now agent... Ticha Penicheiro (@TichaPenicheiro) was working it at the Big East Tournament. So great to see her and spend some time with her. She will be an amazing agent! Sitting next to her, listening to her observations was a treat. Ticha “has been there – done that,” as a player, she has worked so hard her entire career there is no reason to believe she won’t do the same for her “new” career and clients. She has started out on the right foot!

Swin Cash (@SwinCash) was in Hartford on her book signing tour for Humble Journey: More Precious Than Gold. It’s Swin’s journey through her Faith, her ACL injury in 2004, her titles, her medals and so much more. I’ve only read the preview, but I am looking forward to digging into the rest of it as soon as I can.

You can pick up your copy HERE.

We are extremely excited to add Allie Quigley (@alliequigley) to our group of strong guards in the Sky family! Allie will bring size, versatility and experience to the Sky backcourt. Her ability to play any of the three-backcourt positions makes her a very versatile addition. Welcome Allie!

I told you all to...”wait til next week”... Well... Wait til NEXT week, again!

As always, be sure to check out our Sky ladies in the weekly OVERSEAS UPDATE

Coach Chatman’s Sparta&K team begins EuroLeague Women Final Eight play on March 18-19th in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Check out their upcoming matchup... HERE.

And now onto the games that are top of mind for everyone right now…..


BIG EAST

So it was UCONN vs.Notre Dame for the Big East title after Notre Dame topped Louisville in the semi-final game and UCONN defeated Syracuse in the other semi-final. It’s the third consecutive title game appearance by the Irish and seventh (and last) since joining the Big East. The previous six trips... all losses to UConn but will the exit year the charm for ND? Next year it’s off to the ACC for Notre Dame. Will we see Duke vs. Notre Dame for the ACC Championship?

McBride and Diggins lead the way for ND with tough attacking play. The game against Louisville was incredibly physical and Notre Dame’s defense was stifling. I did not see an 83-59 thumping coming... it was only a six point game at the half. Louisville is good, tough, they have shooters, strong post play, defense and guards who can handle and create. The Cardinals had an open three to start the second half... IF that shot goes down, maybe the game doesn’t get away from them. Momentum is an amazing thing. Shows you just how good Notre Dame really is, the Irish pushed the lead to 31 within the next 10-12 minutes.

Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis lead the way for UCONN and are really tough and talented players. I think Stewart is the key to UCONN to taking down Notre Dame. She is a matchup nightmare. Stewart has a superior skill set and when she is making shots it gives all of UCONN’s other weapons more space on the court to be even more deadly. If she is inconsistent shooting the ball, not aggressive offensively or active defensively vs. Notre Dame, then Notre Dame has the advantage. Stewart has averaged just 7.5 points against the Irish this season and made just six of her 24 shots.

And the Big East Tournament Champion is…….Notre Dame by a 2 point margin 61-59 and WOW what a game! UCONN had dominated the Irish in the Big East championship game up until this year, winning all six of the meetings between the schools, including the last two but the Irish have had the Huskies number over the last two seasons outside of that game.

CAA

Coming up this week in Upper Marlboro, MD. Update you more on this next week if I go, not scheduled to right now... but thinking it might be worth a look.

SEC

TEXAS A&M! Welcome to the SEC! This isn’t how you make friends Coach Blair... come into a new conference and win the conference tournament in your first year.

Kelsey Bone scored 18 points, her 14th Double-Double (15 rebounds) of the season on her way to tournament MVP honors and looked dominant throughout the tourney. Is she in the draft? Many say yes. We’ll see. However, it was the Aggies defense that locked down Kentucky, holding the Cats to just 35% from the field. A’dia Mathies continued to play well having 19 points for Kentucky.

Texas A&M wins it’s fourth conference tournament title in three different conferences.

PARITY IN THE WOMEN’S COLLEGE GAME

This brings me to the point of “parity in women’s basketball” and growing the overall base of talented teams across the entire women’s college game. Watching the BE and other BCS tournaments, it supported my belief that the underdogs don’t have the same opportunity to win in the women’s game as they do the men’s game. Why is that? Is it simply talent level? I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

A VCU or George Mason type story happening in the women’s game any time soon is very unlikely. Reason? IMO: Benefit of the doubt. Nearly every close or questionable call goes to the favored, higher ranked or the team that is “supposed” to win.

This was not more evident than in the South Florida – ND and the Syracuse – UCONN games. ND and UCONN are superior and great teams, don’t get me wrong. They both play exceptionally hard and are more than worthy of all the accolades each have earned throughout the season. But, at key times in the second half of both games, with the underdog having a chance to cut the lead to a one or two possession game... “Benefit of the doubt” came into play. An out of bounds play here, a “bodies colliding” no-call there, a missed travel, a block-charge and in a heartbeat, it’s 15-point lead again. Both Notre Dame and UCONN are way too good for the underdog to fight out of that repeatedly in the same game.

I’d like to see a comparison graphic on the number of top two seeds in each of the conference tournaments who made it to the semi’s and finals in both the women’s and men’s tournaments – conference and NCAA tournaments. My feeling, there are upsets in the men’s game. There seem to be very few upsets in the women’s game. #1 and #2 seem to get there most of the time. If we don’t give the underdog a chance, they won’t win. If the underdog doesn’t win a few of these games, the recruiting will always go the same way. The rich get richer. When the rich get richer growing the overall women’s college game goes out the window. We need a Dayton to go to the Final Four!

Send me those questions SKY Fans!

Don’t forget to buy your Sky season tickets early; you want your pick of the best seats in the house for all of the 2013 season action!

Click the links below to catch up with Hoops with House

Hoops with House Blog #1

Hoops with House Blog #2

Hoops with House Blog #3