Its been a a year for Rutgers women's basketball that has had its share of lows, broken up by highs to lift the team out of a season long malaise. And yesterday's 57-51 first round NCAA victory over Virginia Commonwealth was a microcosm of the entire season.....bursts of excellent basketball followed by disappearing acts and blunders. Yes, this was a win, but yesterday's game took on alot of the characteristics of the historic meltdown RU had against Tennessee on January 3rd, a game in which Rutgers led 33-13 at the half, only to lose to the Lady Vols 55-51.
Yesterday RU played a sloppy game in the first half, but still led VCU by two points at the half, 25-23. Rutgers did open 8-1, but VCU got back into the game, led briefly, and the teams spent most of that first half exchanging the lead or being tied. In the second half, at the 11:20 mark RU led 40-33, and then went on a tear. Brittany Ray stole the ball, and dished to Epiphanny Prince who scored. Then Ray, cold until that point, hit a 2 and then a 3, and led by the steady Prince (26 points, 11 rebounds) and center Kia Vaughn (13 points, 6 boards in 25 minutes) RU went on a 15-4 run that gave them an 18 point lead with 6:18 to go, the game seemingly out of reach, 55-37.
Then RU Coach C. Vivian Stringer went to her bench, inserting the four freshmen from her highly touted recruiting class...and the roof didn't cave in, but it started to leak like crazy. There were silly fouls, allowing VCU to get to the line with the clock stopped, mindless turnovers, poor defense, and just a feeling of watching kids dropped into the deep end of the pool. Luckily starters Heather Zurich and Vaughn were reinserted before any further damage was done. VCU chipped away at RU down the last 6:13, outscoring RU 14-2. The final was 57-51...and never should have been that close.
I won't name names, or point fingers....but when March rolls around, the credo is freshmen are not freshmen anymore.. The mentality of "they aren't ready yet" doesn't cut it. Coach Stringer showed faith in these four freshmen to go in and contribute down the stretch...her reward for showing that faith almost cost Rutgers the game. There was some good play at times by certain individuals, but collectively they didn't get it done.
Using the criteria of Rutgers radio color commentator Mark Peterson, the job of bench players is to leave the team in better shape when they leave the game as compared to when they entered it....and the RU bench didn't do that.
Auburn Coach Nell Fortner has built a high scoring and talented juggernaut at Auburn (30-3) who smoked Lehigh in the first game in Piscataway yesterday, 85-49. At the 7:38 second half media break Auburn led 69-49....and Lehigh never scored again against what was the Auburn bench.
Led by SEC Player of the Year DeWanna Bonner (26 points), Trevesha Jackson (11 points),Keke Carrier ( 11 points), Chantel Hilliard (10 points), and Whitney Boddie (8 points, 9 assists) this is a good, deep, and VERY talented basketball team that could be still standing in early April. I've never seen a player of Bonner's height (6'4") with her skill set- she's guard, as thin as a reed....imagine Manut Bol playing shooting guard. And KeKe Carrier- she's simply the most massive woman (at 6'7") that I've ever seen. Watching her play against Lehigh was like watching an adult playing a CYO game against 12 year olds....she merely picked offensive rebounds out of the sky for the putback, while exhausted Lehigh defenders could only helplessly watch.
Rutgers can win this game. It's in Piscataway, on their home court. But they will have to be nearly perfect to do so.
To those who said that this is a fad....guess again. It is a movement. Today, at 2:00PM, citizens who have had enough will march on the...
Eric LeGrand was paralyzed in the Rutgers- Army football game. To send Eric a "Get Well" message click his photo.
Eric LeGrand BELIEVE Fund
Click the picture for more information on the Eric LeGrand BELIEVE Fund, established for the longterm care and rehabilitation of this seriously injured Rutgers Football player. Thank You!
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Ten From Nick Drake
Welcome To My Neighborhood!
Its called "Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants". That's because I adhere to the principle that you can't please everyone, nor should you try to please everyone....so before anyone else rips this blog for being a waste of time or having faulty logic, I thought I'd beat them to the punch, and zing just a bit of self deprecating humor into the title....hey, some people think that's an endearing quality.
Seriously....I hope to entertain and maybe inform, and even teach the reader about a few subjects. And don't be alarmed by the political trappings you may see here. I'm upfront about my political beliefs and affiliations, but I don't wear my politics on my sleeve, and have and always will refuse to be locked into a rigid dogma. This is not really a political blog; its just disguised as one.
My model is probably CBS SUNDAY MORNING, a magazine format. I'll talk about news, sports, TV and films, about music, literature and pop culture, and about the famous and the infamous....and about some people who are out there trying to make a difference in a world that seems to get just a little tougher everyday.
Oh yes...there will be some politics as well.
So pour a cup of coffee, cut a piece of cheesecake.....and stick around for a few minutes.
Occupation- If you believe my conservative friends, I'm a pinko commie socialist out to destroy the very fabric of America's core beliefs.
Liberals think I'm an old school moderate Democrat, and that a guy my age needs to get his hair cut more often.
Just put away that broad brush....
I'm just a "Blue Jersey Guy" who happens to "Bleed Scarlet".