April 01, 2007

Your Mama's an astronaut

Make no mistake about it. This isn't the game your mother played back in her day. Not that I know your mama, but I'm assuming she's not 6-6, 200 lbs. What's that? Your mama's big? Whatever, I still don't think she can dunk like Candace Parker.



Even the cops get out of the way when Candace Parker comes through.

Hoops Odyssey flew into Cleveland today just in time for the NCAA Women's Final Four. What could be a better way to follow up the Men's Final Four than with the women's? Hey, life's good, maybe even better than in Atlanta.

First off, the roving band of rabid lunatics known as the media maintains less of a presence on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. Less reporters better access and better treatment Hoops Odyssey. That, in turn, means buttered popcorn in the workroom. Ummmmm, buttered popcorn.

Secondly, these girls we're watching tonight are massive specimens of athleticism. (I wanted to get all three of those concepts in there, but I'm not sure if that actually makes sense or if it's a little too abstract.) In the first game, we watch as Rutgers' Kia Vaugh dominates LSU's Sylvia Fowles (who can also dunk.) That's a 6-4 girl going up against 6-6 girl. Elbows are being tossed around with enough force to warrant riot police.

VIDEO: Former Scartlet Knights star and WWE wrestler Linda Miles delivers the smackdown on Hoops Odyssey

And, as you would probably guess from a venue that's home to King James and the Cavs, Quicken Loans Arena - don't get me started on the arena's terrible name - knows how to put on a show. Before the games, as the starting five of each team's being read, fire shoots out of guitars mounted on the scoreboard. Matt has flashbacks of his first Whitesnake concert.

Really, there's only a few minor nagging details that need to be mentioned. There's this guitar logo on the court that's just hideous. I know Cleveland is home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but do we really need a light grey guitar stenciled on the court from from baseline to the center circle?

Okay, the logo doesn't bother me that much since I'm on the other side of the court. What's really killing me is that for the entire first game there are four LSU fans screaming their heads off right behind me. "GET THE BALL. GET THE BALL. GET THE BALL," they keep repeating over and over again. Yeah, that's annoying.



The Tennessee cheearleaders all wore wristbands in memory of UNC mascot, Jason Ray.

Fortunately, the rest of the crowd has got more originality. LSU's fans are all about face paint and masks (I'm currently watching one Tiger fan try to eat nachos while not taking off her mask) and Tennessee's supporters - by far the majority in the arena - rock all different kinds of hats, which are much more conducive to nacho noshing.

I think I said it in a previous post, but you've got to love the names of some of the players on these teams. RaShonta, Khalilah, Essence, Epiphanny, Quianna, Rashidat and my personal favorite, simply for its rhyme scheme - Nicci Anosike. These names make Jacob Osterhout seem downright boring.



Matt stumbled upon the Lady Vols stretching out in a back hallway before the game.

While Hoops Odyssey might be having a good time, the Lady Tigers of LSU are most certainly not. They're getting smoked by the Scarlet Knights. (For the time being, we'll just ignore the obvious question of how a knight can be female?) At one moment during the second half, it's so bad that I see a LSU cheerleader let out a nice big yawn. The Lady Tigers eventually lose 59-35.

The big match up in the second game seems to be between Tennessee's Shannon Bobbitt and UNC's Ivory Latta. The two point guards look like twins and they've got similar personalities on the court as well. That is to say, they are fiery. There was a little pushing match in the first half, but - much to our chagrin - no punches were thrown. (Normally, we wouldn't advocate violence, but this is the Final Four...)



Coach Stringer does her best MJ impression.

What the first game lacks in intensity, the second makes up for in excitement. Tennessee comes back from ten down with eight minutes left and wins 56-50. Instead of the cheerleaders yawning, they're jumping up and down, screaming and hugging each other.

And, in the end, we're left with a Lady Vols/Scarlet Knights show down on Tuesday in this, the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We'll see Kia Vaughn take on Candace Parker. No doubt, that'll be show you don't want to miss. You might even want make sure that your mama's gonna watch. I promise, she'll have a new appreciation for the game of women's basketball.

What's that? No, I wasn't talking about your mother, I was just saying...What? Now your mama can dunk? Oh, I get it. April Fools.

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Posted by Jacob Osterhout at 01:00 AM | Comment