Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, April 06, 2009

Nobody doubts that Courtney Paris is a very good center, nor that her twin sister-- now in very good shape (as the commentators kept repeating)-- knows how to move and score. The question marks at OU have always been guard play: can these people play together? can they line up their shots from outside? can they get the ball to the Paris twins, without making them fight for an O-board first?

Sooner-watchers last night had two answers: first half "yes," second half "no." Louisville swarmed, disrupted, sped up the pace, and generally tied OU's second-half offense in knots, and UL's role players-- so obscure a month ago that the announcers struggled with their not-especially-hard-to-pronounce names-- connected on second chances and hit from outside.

The Cardinals' comeback from twelve points down had the fast pace UL almost always prefers, along with a really dramatic ending: what might have been a mistaken blocking foul on Courtney Paris; some brave defense by the Cardinals, with remarkable rebounds by Louisville's undersized guards; a heartbreaking and nearly game-winning buzzer beater from Ayesha Stevenson that rimmed out; and a first-ever national title game for Angel McCoughtry's squad.

Angel-- who looked bad in the first half-- looked great in the second: she's a slasher with a startling, dramatic five-to-ten foot game.

“I told Angel [at halftime] it was the worst I’ve seen her play, that she was an embarrassment,” coach Walz recalled. “And that’s the way we do things in our program: we’re honest. And she came out in the second half and played the way she’s supposed to play.” So did Bingham, and Byrd, and Burke: nobody wins big games like this one alone.

Courtney says she'll honor her promise to repay her scholarship. "We came out too relaxed," she commented. McCoughtry reminded the cameras that UL has no high school All-Americans; nobody else thought they'd be playing-- even if they are playing UConn-- Tuesday night.