Posted: Wednesday April 6, 2005 12:38PM; Updated: Wednesday April 6, 2005 4:16PM
Eight in the Box
1. Best sign I spotted after SIOC's Adam Duerson and I bogarted eighth-row seats at Sunday's women's semifinals in Indianapolis: GENO'S WATCHING DESPERATE HOUSEWIFES
The sign was etched in orange, leading me to believe a Lady Vols' fan was responsible for the misspelling.
2. The women's Final Four showed why women's college basketball, of which I am an unabashed fan, has so many detractors and people like me. On the plus side, you saw one team (Baylor) battle back from a 15-point first-half deficit against the No. 1 team in the nation (LSU) loaded with the game's top player (Seimone Augustus) and point guard (Temeka Johnson) -- at least according to the trophy tote board -- and another revive itself from a 16-point hole in the second half against college hoops' all-time winningest coach (Summitt.)
On the other hand? Michigan State's Kristin Haynie dribbled out of bounds with no one near her. She was bringing the ball upcourt, got too close to the sideline, and stepped out. On another play LSU's Johnson made a spin move on a fast break and by the time she was in position to shoot the ball was already behind the backboard.
That said, Haynie made a terrific steal (the play of the game, easily) in the final minute of the Spartans' 68-64 defeat of Tennessee, and Johnson played with as much heart as anyone in the tourney.
3. Lady Vol nemeses are gloating over UT's 2nd-half meltdown and the Lady Vols tying a women's Final Four record by blowing a 16-point lead. Lest they forget, the Vols played the entire season without their best player, 6-foot-3 freshman Candace Parker. The only two-time USA Today high school player of the year, Parker missed the season with a knee injury. By the way, the last team to squander a 16-point lead in the Final Four redeemed itself winning the next three national championships (UConn, 2001.)
4. Did anyone else hear the halftime radio interview during the Illinois-North Carolina national championship game in which Jim Gray sequestered himself in a luxury box with Tar Heel legends Dean Smith and Michael Jordan?
Gray, attempting to learn which championship Jordan held closest to his heart, referenced a conversation he (Gray) had once had with Terry Bradshaw in which "as Terry put it, you're only a virgin once."
After a moment of uncomfortable silence, Jordan responded, "Well, I'm not sure what Terry was talking about when he told you that," then answered the question.
What I would have given to see coach Smith's face during that exchange.
5. The line of the week from the Time-Warner magazine group, as far as I'm concerned, belongs to James Poniewozik of Time. In a review of worthy first-year network TV shows, he referred to Veronica Mars, starring Kristin Bell as a SoCal-based teen sleuth, as The OCSI. Nice. And I'm not just saying that because I write for The SIOC.
6. Which leads us to a solar system glossary of pop-culture references:
Mercury: Freddie, of Queen; or Mercury Morris of the Miami Dolphins Venus: Williams, of the tennis sisters. Earth: Third Rock from the Sun (if there's a hell, this show airs twice daily there.) Mars: Veronica; or experimental rockers The Mars Volta. Jupiter: Jones, lead character of The Three Investigators mystery series, the alternative to teen sleuthing for those of us who tired of the Hardy Boys. Saturn: a popular car. Uranus: Has yet to enter the pop-culture landscape separate from its planetary role, but its mere mention still evokes giggles from most fifth-grade boys. Neptune: as in The Neptunes, the super successful rap production duo of Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams. Pluto: The Disney character who's basically a grumpier Goofy.
7. Tough loss for the Washington State baseball team last week. The Cougars led eastern Washington foe Gonzaga 12-1 after five innings, but the Zags tied the score with a six-run eighth and a three-run ninth. Then, in the top of the 10th inning with the score knotted at 12, the Zags loaded the bases.
That's when Cougar pitcher Steve Kost stepped off the mound and faked a pickoff to third base. It was a fake of a fake, actually, since the baseball was actually in the mitt of third baseman Zach McAngus, who tagged out the Gonzaga runner leading off the base.
The umpires saw it differently, though. They called a balk on Kost, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Gonzaga won, 14-12.
"They don't know what they're doing," a livid Cougar head coach Donnie Marbut said, referring to the umps. "They missed it. They flat-out missed it. We set the play up, and they just missed it. That was probably the most depressing loss in my baseball career."
8. Before coach Marbut gets to feeling too sorry for himself, he should check out this item from the recent Hobart-Syracuse lacrosse match. After Hobart, which has not beaten the Orange in 18 years, tied the score at 12 late in regulation, a fan -- in keeping with a Hobart tradition -- tossed a yellow and blue carp onto the field. The referee called a delay of game on Hobart, and gave possession to the 'Cuse, which promptly scored the game-winning goal.