Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Three great teams

Connecticut 66, Rutgers 56
The game much closer than the score indicates, & was decided by a single, late 2nd period defensive lapse. Rutgers successfully set the pace for most of the game, as the low scores show. It's been a terrific season. During the regular season, the Women Scarlet Knights beat UConn & LSU, lost to Stanford by two points on a questionable last second call, & by one point to Tennessee on broken game clock - there's your Final Four. They also beat Maryland, California, & Notre Dame. They are the best basketball team Rutgers has put on the court since the 1976 Men's Final Four club. Last season they played as slight underdogs who had to prove they belonged with the elites. They did. This year they began the season with the highest expectations, from the polls, from their coach, from themselves. They slipped only once, at West Virginia, & it cost them a tie for the Big East season title. The late season losses to UConn & in the Big East Tournament to Louisville were by a group of tired, hurting players. I love this team. It has stars but no superstars. Their defense gave fits to bigger, faster, higher scoring teams. They rarely reached 70 points & broke 80 only once, against overmatched Robert Morris in Round One. Back on Dec. 3, Maryland expected to win by methodically running Rutgers into the hardwood; instead the Terrapins had their lowest scoring game of the season & learned something about the noise level in the RAC. That might have been my favorite game of the season.

The Kean University Cougars made it to the Elite Eight of the Women's Div. III tournament for the second straight year, falling to Oglethorpe University & finishing the season at 28-4.

Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County placed 5th in the Women's National Junior College Div. III Tournament, finishing at, I think, 24-4. Shamefully, the Brookdale website takes no pride this team's accomplishments.

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