Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Villanova 69, Notre Dame 65

Women's Basketball

Anyone who likes to go out of their way to complain about women's basketball should have watched this game. Villanova runs a Princeton-style ball movement offense, and they execute it beautifully. You can't tell me that the NBA's "stand around a force up a bad jump shot" offenses of the late 90s are more exciting to watch than the Nova women's offense. Of course, Notre Dame ran a decent offense in their own right. Unfortunately, they just settled for too many jump shots.
The Irish women started out well, then suddenly turned into their male counterparts. With Megan Duffy blanketed, her teammates began forcing bad shots early in the shotclock. Villanova continued to run their defense to perfection, eventually building a 21 point lead. Then, for some reason, the Wildcats backed off. They stopped running their spectacular offense, and ND came all the way back. The game was tied with 22 seconds left, a Villanova layup put the Cats up 2. Following a timeout, Duffy drove around a pick for an easy layup with 11 seconds left. I'm guessing this was by design - Nova let the Irish score early so they themselves could have the last shot. Well, as it turns out, that last shot never went, and it was on to overtime.
Unfortunately, as the Notre Dame women were immitating the men in this game, they went on to lose in overtime. They came within seconds of the second biggest comeback in women's history (22 by Oregon over Arizona in 2000), but in the end it's just another loss.
I liked what I saw from a couple of the underclassmen. Lindsay Schrader got off to a very good start, scoring the team's first 7 points. True to her freshman status, she's had an up and down year. She's also shooting a whopping 45% from the free throw line. Charel Allen surprised me. I know she could drive to the basket and score that way. Or, she could at least before her knee ligaments were torn. But, it looks like she has most of her speed and confidence back, and she can again take it to the basket. The thing that impressed me, though, was her range. Three pointers are a little too much for her - she was 0 for 4 in this game. But she was absolutely money from 17 feet in. If Allen and Schrader can put this team on their shoulders next year, they should do a decent job of replacing Duffy.

Transaction Wire

Darrell Campbell signed with the Browns as a free agent. No, I'm not going to start stalking him. At 290 pounds (officially), I would assume that he moves to defensive end in the Browns 3-4. As mentioned several times before the 2004 draft, the 3-4 favors largers defensive ends, as they will line up directly against an offensive lineman, instead of in a gap.

Offensive guru Tom Clements, who had been fired by the Bills, was recently named Packers quarterbacks coach. I'm presuming he'll be working with Aaron Rodgers a lot more than Brett Favre.