Monday, March 31, 2008

Notre Dame Women's Basketball and Men's Hockey Teams Don't Fool Around

This is normally when I'd write my April Fool's Post, when I remember. (Past posts can be found here, here, and here. Unfortunately, I didn't save a screenshot of my "Kanka's Politics Page" gag.) Part of my column was going to call for and end to women's sports, so the athletes can "get in the kitchen and make me some pie."

But after last night, the women's basketball team doesn't deserve treatment like that, joking or not. A team without any dominant outside or inside threats outhustled, outplayed, and frustrated Candace Parker and the defending champion Lady Vols for a majority of their contest yesterday. They even exposed some holes in Parker's game, as several times they posted her up on the elbow and drove right past her. (Of course, Parker was quick to blame a teammate for her defensive failings.) In the end, though, it wasn't enough. Still, it was a great year for the Irish. Like I said, they didn't have any dominant inside or outside scoring threat. But they were queens of the mid-range jumper, ran the Princeton offense to perfection, and stole their way to a great transition game. Tulyah Gaines, Charel Allen, Amanda Tsipis, and Melissa D'Amico graduate, but a trio of freshman have already proven that 2008-09 won't be a step back. Devereaux Peters, a taller Allen, worked her way into the starting lineup before suffering an ACL injury. Becca Bruszewski broke out in the Tennessee game for 16 points (tying Allen for the team lead), and could be that inside threat the team leads. Brittany Mallory also saw good playing time last night, and could develop into the team's outside threat.

Meanwhile, the Irish hockey team has skated into the Frozen Four. A great offensive team went flat towards the end of the year, and made the NCAA tournament as only a four seed. But the icers turned a 4-3 second intermission lead over #1 seed New Hampshire into a 7-3 win, and came back the next day to beat defending national champion (and burgeoning rival) Michigan State 3-1. The hockey team next faces Michigan in the Frozen Four on April 10.