Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This year's second-round DI games had a couple of neat rematches, or grudge matches, from years past:

1. Monday night Purdue upset North Carolina after a big four-point play from frosh Brittany Rayburn, who shone despite her taped ankle.

"At the end of the game I was telling our seniors that this is for them," she said. "We're going to play our butts off for them." Rayburn, from outside, and Wisdom-Hylton, from inside, finished with 18 points apiece; the Boilers won decisively, though they went into halftime with a tie.

The win (as Purdue's student newspaper points out) echoes the 1999 Boilermakers, who beat the Tar Heels on their way to a national title: it also reverses the outcomes Purdue fans recall from 2007, when their team lost to UNC in the Elite Eight, and also from 2006.

2. Remember the exciting, and heartbreaking (for Utes fans) Elite Eight game from 2006, where Maryland, playing with stomach flu, nearly lost to Shona Thorburn and Utah?

The Terps had an easier time with the Utes last night: Coleman and Tolliver played their last home game in College Park-- emotions ran high, but the outcome was hardly in doubt. Utah's Whipple scored 24, but the home team led by 16 at the half.

Coleman and Tolliver Toliver talk to the Washington Post about the past four years. "To be honest... we were overconfident when we came in," Coleman says. "Kristi and I just thought we could win all our games... And then when we won a national title our first year, it almost gave us a false sense of how easy it is. We really had to work to get back where we were."

3. The Terps won that '06 title when they upset Duke in a great comeback that required overtime. Last night Duke got upset again, and in a way that might hurt Duke fans just as much: coach McCallie's new team got canned by her old team, a nine seed, on her old team's home floor.

You might say that the location made the seeding a joke, and you can say that the emotions must have helped State (apparently McCallie got lots of boos). But when you see the numbers (no Duke field goal for the last seven-plus minutes; Duke's largest margin of defeat in tournament history; a 16-2 game-ending run) you have to say congratulations to Suzy Merchant's team.