Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, March 30, 2009

Some thoughts on the rather limited subset of Sweet Sixteen games about which I have any thoughts:

1. ISU vs MSU: ISU's three-point barrage can beat almost anyone on a good night, though it means they can lose to anyone when the threes fail-- Saturday night they hit (MSU's late defensive lapses let them hit) just enough threes to win.

If the last few plays (Ezell's and Lacey's treys) showed as much, they also demonstrated the same point I found in this terrific long article about Houston NBA role player Sean Battier:shot blocks are missed blessings.

Alyssa DeHaan, best-known as a shot blocker,is still a lot taller than she is strong. Saturday she surely had a great game, both in scoring and in blocking shots, but blocked shots are of limited value unless your team can prevent the offensive rebound. Lacey's game-winner shot came after an uncredited DeHaan block; DeHaan's fellow Spartans couldn't corral the ball.

2. UConn vs Cal: that looked close for a while there, didn't it? But the outcome was what everybody expected. Berkeley students react to their Bears' nice try.

Tiffany Hayes showed up-- not for the first time, and not a complete surprise, though her new records (as Altavilla points out) are something special. Not only did she hit important threes, she showed good judgment about when to shoot threes, and when to take time and wait for a look inside.

The Berkeley squad, as you might expect (and as Jessie predicted), just got tired. Very, very tired. Which means (as the folks on the teevee pointed out) that Arizona State may have a chance: the Sun Devils give significant minutes to nine or so players each game. (Hays connects ASU's unusual rotation to Danielle Orsillo's spirit of selflessness.) The Sun Devils won't run UConn ragged, but UConn may not be able to do the reverse. Are we going to see the Huskies slow the game down?

3. Purdue vs Rutgers: FahKara Malone used to be rough to watch-- a player with great foot speed and fine one-on-one skills who often couldn't control her temper or find her teammates.

As of right now, she's a delight to watch, with skills, foot speed and court vision too: her midrange jumper with the shot clock nearly at zero sealed up that tough game. I like Purdue's teamwork-- but I'm finding it hard to see how the Boilers can beat Oklahoma if the Sooners' guards stay in sync.

4. All the lower seeds playing close to home, or at home, that upset teams playing very far from home (Rutgers, San Diego State, MIchigan State, and arguably Gonzaga) have now been cleared out of the field-- while a higher seed that won on a lower seed's home court (Arizona State, who walloped Georgia in the first round) is still around.