This morning I went to the Joyce Center to watch #3 Tennessee take on the #14 Irish in women’s basketball. The Irish jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a steal and a three point play, and had a chance on the next possession after another steal to make it even more. They then sat out most of the next ten minutes or so of the game. After finding themselves in a 20 point hole they got it back down to 12 only to go into the halftime break down by 19. When they had it down to 12 they had multiple chances to get it under 10, but could not do it. They were down by as much as 31 in the second half, but never gave up. Candace Parker had the usual good game. She scored 20 for the Lady Vols. The real story for the Vols was Angie Bjorklund who scored 21 points. It was not the 21 points as much as the fact that they were all on 3’s, and during the 22-2 run that put Tennessee up 30-10 in the first half. The Joyce Center was sold out, and the atmosphere made the game worthwhile. I have seen the Irish play the Vols the last three seasons, and sadly the result was much the same as the 87-63 score that we saw today.
When I got home from the game one of my friends called me up to see if I wanted to go see the Notre Dame game against UConn. What kind of a sports junkie would say no? I said that I would, and I was once again on I-80 heading over to South Bend. The Joyce Center was not completely sold out, but it was close. Notre Dame cruised to an early 21 point lead, and saw it dwindle down to 15 by the end of the first half. Fans were already making their plans on when to leave when the Huskies came storming back. They were helped by some questionable calls, but they actually took the lead in the last five minutes. Notre Dame hit back to back three pointers to help pull away, but it was much closer than anyone anticipated. Kyle McAlarney hit the last of those threes, and finished the game with 32 points. The Irish also had double-doubles from Rob Kurz and Luke Harangody. Luke is a beast of a player, but was held back by foul trouble and the 7’3″ center on the Huskies. Notre Dame won 72-67 in a very exciting game. It was a great way to cap off a good day of basketball. It only gets better tomorrow when I am going down to West Lafayette to see the Lady Boilers take on #1 UConn. Purdue will need a supreme effort to pull off the upset, but anything is possible. Maybe Morgan Burke will give his succession plan for Purdue football at halftime tomorrow. Rumors are swirling, and it looks as if something is in the works.
Both games that I saw today were called very oddly by the refs. They were allowing body slamming, but calling nick knack fouls. That usually leads to unhappy fans, but the women’s game was not effected by the calls. The men might have been hosed a few times, but the refs were at least missing calls both ways.