Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Yesterday's big game didn't disappoint. Two very good teams in a tough, back-and-forth contest.

Tennessee played an admirable second half. They handled the press pretty well and made their free throws. In a hostile environment, with an aggressive Duke squad trying to catch up, the Vols' composure never cracked.

"A big win for our team," Pat Summitt said. "I'm really, really proud."

Coach Goestenkors, meanwhile, was mystified at her team's second half play. She called the Devils' defensive performance "inexcusable," and she said that a team simply doesn't deserve to win when they miss so many open shots.

This year, I've come to have even greater respect for Coach Summitt than I ever had before. After last year, there was some talk about the program in decline. And after losing some senior stars Lawson and Jackson, the standard wisdom in November was that this would be a down year.

Now they're #1. And I've seen them win two games where they really had no business winning. Against Stanford in Maples, they were way behind and couldn't do a thing against Powell. But they made adjustments, came back, and won.

Against Duke yesterday, they faced a more athletic more talented team with a huge home court advantage. But the Vols executed well, and again, Coach Summitt made the halftime adjustments needed to win.

I think both wins were attributable to superior coaching. And when that happens against great coaches like Tara VanDerveer and Gail Goestenkors, it shows how good Pat really is. After all these years, she's still the best coach in the game.