After an eight year hiatus, it’s a pleasure to be back and have a regular weekly writing gig! For my first post as a Saturday Feature on You Gab Sports—and given the season—I thought I’d revive one of my old holiday blogging traditions, and create my fantasy Christmas list: the (tongue in cheek) things I’d most like to see this holiday season. So let’s assume I’ve been good this year (no small leap, that) and cut right to the chase: here’s my 2014 list for the man in red.
CHIIIIIEEEEEFFFFSSSSS!!! I’m a lifelong Chiefs fan, and nobody has enjoyed the Chiefs renaissance more than me. But with improvement comes higher expectation and frustration. I know it’s only season two of the Andy Reid era, but I LONG for some professional consistency. How can you pound the Patriots by 27 (it wasn’t that close), and lose by 16 to Tennessee (it wasn’t that close)? How can you lose to Oakland at all? How can you run the ball all day long on whomever you want, and when you get inside the five you call the most listless and uncreative series of rollouts and non-descript pass plays? And darn it, I LIKE Andy Reid, but I wish he were more decisive in the red zone, and I wish he didn’t look like a four year old about to wet his pants when it gets to the last two minutes of every game. I know, I know…it’s just nice to be relevant again. But relevance is relative.
Indiana basketball. Again, I’m a lifer. I know they’re just kids, etc., etc. But the incident earlier this year: when sophomore Devin Davis and freshman Emmett Holt were out after midnight and drinking, and the latter hit the former with his car…putting Davis in the hospital with a head injury...c'mon man. This behavior is out of bounds in my book virtually any time for college athletes. But this was the night before the first intra-squad scrimmage. The first time you—as a freshman—are going to wear the jersey of one of the most storied basketball programs in college history in front of your home court fans…and you’re out getting drunk? Underage? Driving? That’s stupid in any scenario…but do you understand what a privilege it is to have your talent, and to get this honor? Unfortunately this has not been an isolated incident; I’m certain it’s not reality, but it feels like this group of Indiana players has had more “character issues” in the past nine months than in the collective history of IU basketball. I wish this team had more respect for its school, its fans, and the opportunity they have. I’m hopeful this has been a learning experience and that they get it now. I also wish IU basketball were more relevant, but as you know relevance is relative.
College football playoffs. Why is it that football at every level—from pee wee to high school to every level of college except FBS—can figure out how to have playoffs and a meaningful championship, but they can’t get it done for FBS? Mind you, the NCAA (an entity that could be a whole wish-list rant unto itself) does this at every other level of football it plays, save FBS. Today (Saturday, Dec 20th) at 4 pm Minnesota State Mankato takes on Colorado State Pueblo for the Division II championship; they’ve played four games each after the regular season to get there. So you can’t figure it out for the FBS? A couple more games? Don’t use more practice as an excuse—the bowl teams are practicing anyway. And don’t tell me school work; first off, most of them are off school for the holidays at that point…and as I’ve heard somewhere before the bowl teams are practicing anyway. Figure it out you idiots. Gimme a real FBS playoff already.
College football playoffs, part two. Please tell me this talk of a super conference is lunacy. Please tell me you’re not going to take the 64 best teams in college football and create NFL, Jr. Don’t you get that the upset—Appalachian State beating Michigan, Boise State beating Oklahoma, Florida Atlantic beating anybody—is what makes sport interesting? What keeps it alive and fun for both fan and player? If you think this approach works, ask the state of Indiana how their high school basketball tournament is doing since they retooled to “class basketball” after the 1996-1997 season. How’s it going now that the Milan High School’s of the world are beating Versailles and Osgood and Montezuma, and don’t get the chance to take out Muncie Central for the most storied state championship in sport history? (Author’s note: these small schools don’t exist anymore and Muncie Central is irrelevant—and much smaller itself—but I’m making a point…) Never mind, I'll tell you: this former iconic American sporting event is now dead, irrelevant; (do I need to talk about relevance again?) and "Basketball State Champ!" signs are more common across the state of Indiana than corn stalks. Do me a favor college football powers, and check out David and Goliath in the Bible. The ultimate upset. Today you’d have David squaring off against the Philistine’s best rockslinger in the under 125 pound class; and Goliath would be battling the number three ranked Sumerians, or maybe Alabama. Drop this super conference ridiculousness and let’s exchange this “gift” for socks, or maybe a tie.
Accountability. At every level. Kids in school, parents at home. Parents at little league. Little league coaches. Cops on the street. People on the street interacting with cops. Idiots who think looting or setting fires or blocking traffic is a sensible form of protest. Race baiters who think it’s ok to use the same flaw you’re criticizing to create issues where oftentimes they aren’t. Congress in general. Come to think of it I’d pretty readily give up numbers 1 through 4 of the list above for a healthy dose of accountability across the board. Unfortunately it’s right up there withWorld Peace on the likelihood scale…
Toys. C’mon this list can’t be all serious-like. We all know how it is to open that beautifully wrapped package to find underwear or a sweater, for cryin’ out loud. How ‘bout a GI Joe? The USMC version, with the scar under his right eye and the silver suit and the Mercury Space Capsule—still my single favorite Christmas present ever, back in 1968. Or Hot Wheels? Or Barbie? (that’s a nod to my female demographic out there…not for me personally) Maybe even a sled if you have snow, or a bike or wagon if you don’t. Christmas. Toys. Make it happen Santa.
So there you have it, The Hoov’s Christmas Wish List 2014. I’d add one more thing: that each of you have a joyous holiday with the ones you love, or in whatever way that makes you happy; and an appreciation for whatever you can be thankful for, big or small. Put a smile on your face and enjoy the season! For my part, I’m thankful to Jeff Thomas for thinking of me for this Saturday feature spot on You Gab…it’s great to be back! Happy Holidays!
I made the mistake of watching a few Boston Celtics games this past week (the wife was at school/clinical and there was no college football games during the week) and was absolutely disgusted by the effort put forth by Rajon Rondo. After eight years in the NBA, Rondo is in position for free agency this off-season. In the last four seasons Rondo--rather than entering his prime from age 25 to 28--instead had injury-plagued campaigns topped off by his missing almost all of last season.
Rondo has gone from one of the five best point guards in the NBA at age 23 in 2009-10 to a 25% three-point shooter, a poor shooter who does not get the basket with regularity and whose field goal percentage went from 50% down to 40%, and a liability at the end of games with his almost inconceivable 33% free throw percentage. Once a key cog on a championship-level team, he became the unmotivated, surly, and disinterested veteran on a rebuilding team.
The Celtics appeared to have pulled the trigger on a deal sending the mercurial point guard and last holdover from their World Championship team to Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks. Boston is sending Rondo with former Stanford big man Dwight Powell who is on team #4 in his brief NBA career after being a second round draft pick in June. Unless you watch a lot of the Maine Red Claws in the D-League or remember watching Stanford upset Kansas and New Mexico to reach the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, Powell has just been a throw-in to three deals in less than six months. He’s done more packing than he has playing.
Boston gets back future first-and-second-round draft picks from Dallas and three players that will likely be gone by the trading deadline in February with skinny no-power forward Brandan Wright, washed-up ten-year veteran point guard Jameer Nelson, and third-year swingman Jae Crowder. None of the three are expected to be key pieces in Boston, but they should have some value in acquiring more assets.
The deal makes a ton of sense for both teams:
The Mavericks are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff picture and on pace for 50 plus wins again. However, the point guard position has been a black hole as the team has had little to no production there so far this season with Nelson and Devin Harris sharing the job. Rondo suddenly goes from feeding a team full of misfits, mis-cast players and overmatched youngsters to a team with Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, and Monta Ellis begging for a point guard who can set them up for open shots.
Rondo may be a gambler on defense, but he can generate pressure on opposing point guards when he feels like it. He is an excellent rebounder for a point guard and will gladly pass up any shot to feed a teammate the ball. Rondo has always been knocked for not bringing his “A” game unless it is a “television” game. In Dallas every game is a big game in the ultra-competitive Western Conference and the way Cuban makes every home game a production of pure excess.
Rondo is the right player for the right team in Dallas. He needs them (showcase for free agency) and they need him (distributor to their many scoring options).
The Celtics simply needed to get rid of Rondo. He had wore out his welcome in Boston and was a bad fit for the rebuilding team. The draft picks are all that the Celtics are really going to get out of the trade. It was clear that general manager had no desire to re-sign Rondo after drafting Marcus Smart with the sixth overall pick in the last NBA Draft.
Wright, Nelson, and Crowder are fodder for the trade deadline since now they can be moved at the deadline since they will have been on the team for 60 days since the deal is being made now (It also allows Dallas to move Rondo if the deal blows up). The Celtics have little need for Brandan Wright with youngsters Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk already learning on the job at power forward/center.
Jae Crowder has veterans Jeff Green and Brandon Bass ahead of him at forward and being showcased to be dealt at the deadline potentially as well. Jameer Nelson is just a salary to match-up for cap purposes in a future deal (unless he is kept as a mentor for rookie guards Marcus Smart and James Young). Nothing is part of the Celtics’ rebuilding plans other than draft picks to accumulate.
One theory for keeping Rondo around for the last year is that he had to get his knee healthy enough to be traded. That may be so, but he was also the only draw Boston had for a free agent or player agreeing to be traded to Boston. With Rondo to feed the ball to a superstar and enhance his scoring, it was the only miniscule reason for anyone to agree to come to Boston. Once Kevin Love (one of the few players who did not have Boston as an automatic “No”) decided to go for the sure thing (Cleveland with LeBron James), there basically was no reason to rebuild around Rondo.
The Celtics reportedly will get a trade exception for Rondo in this deal since they are trading Rondo for basically nothing in return. If that is the case, it can help with trade flexibility later this season in getting rid of some of their few remaining pieces. This roster is not yet finished being blown up by the Celtics and anyone with more than two years of experience in the NBA would be wise to be living out of their suitcase.
Trading Rajon Rondo is turning out to be a deal that benefits both teams: Dallas has a distributor with playoff experience and renewed motivation at point guard and Boston gets a few more chips to use to try to continue to remake the roster and build for a championship in the future.
While chuckling at the pretty accurate description of me in the pic below...
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The game may have lacked offensive explosiveness but after Tom Brady and the Patriots spent the first three quarters of the game suffering under the pressure of the San Diego Chargers defense, it was nice to see them get things going in the fourth quarter. The resiliency of the offense in that fourth quarter helped the Patriots come back and beat San Diego 23-14.
Brady (pictured below 1st) ended up with 317 passing yards for the game. He had 2 TD passes. While he was sacked one time, you can generally overlook that. What you can't overlook is how the one interception he threw (picked off by Manti T'eo, pictured below 2nd) was another one of those gawdawful-what-the-hell-was-he-thinking variety picks. He had nothing on the throw and if any Patriot player had caught that ball it would've been an early Christmas miracle.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked three field goals in the game while Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski supplied the touchdown scores. Edelman caught 8 passes for 141 yards including the career long 69 yard catch and run for the score (see below 1st). Gronkowski also caught 8 passes for 87 yards and his TD (see below 2nd).
The run game was once again relatively ineffective. That is, when the Patriots bothered to use it at all. They totaled just 87 yards on the ground for the game. Thankfully the Patriots defense stepped up big time. They held the Chargers to just 53 total rushing yards.
Akeem Ayers picked off Chargers QB Phillip Rivers. The "D" also sacked Rivers 4 times. Jamie Collins picked up 2 of those sacks while Rob Ninkovich (see below) had one.
The Patriots play the Dolphins today and with a win can wrap up the AFC East division. Despite their struggles with the Chargers, I think the win demonstrated that they can play a tough, tight game and come out on top when everyone is working together.
In other NFL news, Greg Bedard had a piece on TheMMQB.com about the New Orleans Saints and their lack of leadership and professionalism. You can check out the piece via this link.
For anyone worried about the career prospects for now ex-Florida coach Will Muschamp, I think you can hold off on the charity telethon for a bit. According to an article on SI.com, he's been hired as the new defensive coordinator at Auburn. He's the fourth guy to hold the job in the last five years.
Army-Navy Game - Despite a rather game effort from Army, the Navy came out on top in the Army-Navy game for the 13th straight year. Led by quarterback Keenan Reynolds (see below far right) the Midshipmen won 17-10. He had 1 passing TD and ran for another score with his 100 yards rushing.
Congratulations to the Midshipmen!
Bowl Games - The full list of this year's bowl matchups can be viewed HERE.
While I will be interested in the semi-final bowl games that lead to the matchup, particularly the Alabama-Ohio State game, there really isn't a whole heck of a lot of games that scream out for me to watch them. Sure, I'll probably watch a game here and there as I happen to come across them. But besides the title playoff games, the only game that instantly draws me in is the Boston College-Penn State matchup in the Pinstripe Bowl on December 27th (ESPN, 4:30 pm).
There are some games featuring teams that have a storyline that might interest some people though.
In the Las Vegas Bowl, will Colorado State rebound after being jilted by coach Jim McElwain for the Florida job?
The Independence Bowl has Miami and South Carolina. Both teams are a disappointing 6-6 going into the game and will be looking for any little kind of bright light to point to for this season, particularly South Carolina who started off the season with some very high hopes.
The Holiday Bowl features Nebraska, and you have to wonder how they'll play after firing Bo Pelini.
The Outback Bowl has Wisconsin which is a topic I'll address below.
Wisconsin - The coaching situation at Wisconsin took a weird turn this week. After just two years in charge, Gary Andersen stepped down as head coach in order to take the job at Oregon State. That's like going from the penthouse to the outhouse in terms of support and facilities. The move surprised everyone.
Rumors of Andersen's disatisfaction with pay packages for his assistants and unhappiness with the admissions policies in place at Wisconsin have popped up but there's been nothing confirmed.
The Badgers still have the Outback Bowl to play, so I think it is another example of a coach not finishing the job before leaving for the next one. As always that irks the hell out of me.
Stranger still is that Wisconsin AD (and former football coach) Barry Alvarez is going to coach the team during the bowl game. this is the second time in 3 years he's done this. The looming shadow of Alvarez was another rumor that popped up this week as well. My question about this move is why does Alvarez need to coach the team. You mean to tell me one of the coordinators, coaches who've actually been with the team all season long can't step up to coach the team on the 1 game interim basis? Alvarez was quoted saying that the seniors on the team asked him to coach the game. If that's true, is it an indictment of how the players feel about the leftover coaches or are they really that fond of Alvarez?
Meanwhile, on Friday came reports that the school will hire Pitt coach Paul Chryst (shown below) as their new coach sometime after December 17th. You can read more details about that HERE. He was the Badgers offensive coordinator from 2005-2011 so he does have good ties to the school. It would also seem that he understands how things work there too.
Whatever happens, after losing to coaches in the space of three years, the Badgers had better hope they get this hire right. Otherwise, people are really going to start asking questions if coaches keep leaving what is considered a high profile job for new posts that are clearly a step down.
A lot of the teams I root for played during the course of the week and don't have another game scheduled until later this afternoon. You can read what I had to say about those games that were played in my latest Mid Week College Basketball Update. Five of the six teams I've been writing about so far this season will play their next game this afternoon.
Boston College Men - The Eagles played Maine on Thursday night and ended up coming away with an 85-74 victory to improve to 5-3 on the season. Aaron Brown (shown below) led the team in scoring with 21 points.
The surprising contributions from Dennis Clifford (pic below) were a huge factor in powering Boston College to the win. While he's been working hard, his offense has been a work in progress. But against Maine, his struggles seemed to clear up as he poured in a career high 19 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. He also blocked 3 shots. If he can become a consistent offensive threat, it gives BC yet another scoring option and they become that much more dangerous.
Patrick Heckmann (shown below 1st) scored 13 points and had 4 steals, while Dimitri Batten finished with 12 points. Olivier Hanlan (shown below 2nd) had 10 points and 6 assists.
Looking at the box score, another component of the win was the Eagles outscoring Maine 30-8 in the points off turnovers category.
(all pics from BC game photo galleries)
Here's the video highlights:
You can read my latest Celtics Report blog post HERE.
For my take on the moves the Red Sox made to shore up their pitching rotation, you can checkout my blog post HERE.
When Bret Lawrie was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays, the reaction of one of his young fans set Youtube ablaze. It appears there was a somewhat happy ending to the story though. Read it HERE.
Former Chicago White Sox outfielder Mark Gilbert became the first ex-player to be named an ambassador for the United State. You can learn more about him HERE.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Check out this story on the Sports Illustrated High School Athlete of the Month for December, New Hampshire soccer player Kate Marshall.
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - B-P ended up losing to Diman Voke by 10 points (48-38) in their season opener. I was told they were ahead for much of the first half but had poor shooting and picked up lots of fouls.
Wareham Girls Varsity - I went to the third and final scrimmage for Wareham this past Wednesday. They were up against Upper Cape and while Wareham didn't look particularly good, they were a lot better than Upper Cape. They played four quarters and Wareham won two of them while tying the other two. When I first got to the gym, I dropped off some Boston College women's basketball tickets I picked up for one of my ex-players to her father. I also gave the father of another player the letter of recommendation his daughter asked me to write for her National Honor Society application thing.
In the scrimmage, Gabby drained a couple more three pointers. There's six girls on the varsity that I coached in the past. Gabby, Erica, Kali, Tieyanna, Brianna and Kiara.
The Vikings went on the road to play Bishop Stang in their season opener but fell flat, losing 56-29. Tieyanna led the Vikings with 12 points. But the team's poor shooting and 27 turnovers were key factors cited in their big loss. The starting five for Wareham featured 4 players that I had a hand in coaching at some point during their youth league days. Gabby had 3 points in the game, while Brianna had 2 points and Kali added 6.
By the way, here's a team candid photo I totally stole from Gabby's FB page.
Upper Cape Girls JV - It was a rough and tumble kind of game against South Shore Voke Tech. The game was full of uncalled physical play that should've resulted in lots of fouls (on both sides). But Upper Cape came away with a 27-8 victory to start their season off right. I've got two players on the team. Laurina started and served as captain. She was the point guard when she was in the game. She was 1-2 from the floor for 2 points. She forced a jump ball call, had an assist, an offensive rebound and a steal to go with 2 turnovers. Ann Marie started as well. She was 2-7 from the floor for 4 points. She missed two foul shots as well. She had an assist, 4 steals and a defensive rebound. She also committed 4 turnovers and a foul.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - After watching Upper Cape scrimmage on Wednesday and look absolutely awful against Wareham, I had no idea what to expect. But since South Shore Voke Tech is not a good team, I guess the final score of 68-12 in favor of Upper Cape shouldn't have been much of a surprise. The game was a blowout from the start as the Rams were up 19-3 after the first quarter and just kept rolling.
It's actually hard to decipher how the team looked on a technical basis given they were playing a team so clearly inferior. But all the defensive lapses they had in the Wareham scrimmage were held to a minimum and the team worked together in passing the ball and getting it to the open player.
Michaela had an off game to start her season. She was 1-12 from the floor for 2 points. She had 4 steals and 2 rebounds to go with a turnover and a foul.
EX-PLAYER LEGAL NEWS
While all my ex-players still in high school are making a good showing for themselves by staying involved in athletics and not being arrested, there's news on a couple of my former players who have been IN court instead of ON one.
One of the four ex-players charged in connection with a murder here in town saw his charges reduced and got out on personal recognizance. I'm sure one can guess that he's making a deal and that's why he's suddenly out of prison. You can read more HERE.
Another of my ex-players, Eric, got arrested in connection with a robbery of a local restaurant. This is a new charge for him but he's no stranger to run-ins with the law. That story is HERE.
As always, I'm left shaking my head at the inherent stupidity these former players of mine continue to show in their decision making.
It's been 15 years since the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush" was broadcast. TVGuide.com ran an oral history article on the episode this week. You can check it out HERE.
Movies - I picked up Guardians of the Galaxy on DVD this week. I loved the movie in the theater and watching it again was a thrill ride. It will be featured on my Best of 2014 movie list that I will be writing up soon.
In the meantime, you can check out the Honest Trailer for the movie below, it is rather funny.
Grantland.com had an oral history article on the making of the film Boogie Nights. It is an entertaining and extremely long piece. You can check it out HERE.
Books - I finished reading the Janet Evanovich / Lee Goldberg novel The Chase this week. It's the second book in the Kate O'Hare / Nick Fox series that teams up an FBI agent with thief to take down other bad guys. While the premise is clearly something akin to the TV show White Collar, this has a bit more of an international thriller vibe (although retaining the more lighthearted feel of Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series).
I really enjoyed the book a lot this time around and can't wait for the third book The Job to make its way to paperback.
Comics - Free Comic Book Day is almost six months away, but the Gold Sponsor level books that will be available on the first Saturday in May 2015 have been announced. You can see the list HERE.
Music - The new U.D.O. album Decadent is due out in the US on February 3rd. The official video for the song has been released and you can see it below.
The new group Revolution Saints features Night Ranger bassist Jack Blades, ex-Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich and Journey drummer Deen Castronovo. Their self-titled debut album is due out February 24th. But you can see the video for the song "Turn Back Time" below.
My 2015 Calendar - I know it is a bit old fashioned given how most people use the calendar feature on their phones nowadays, but I always use REAL calendars. Usually I grab one up from the local pizza place, or from Dunkin Donuts. Or I take one of the few that we get from my job. But this year, I picked up one for the TV show Firefly so I'll "Keep Flyin'" with them all year long.
Before I start attending games for the high school basketball season that kicks off tomorrow night, I thought I'd recap a few of the college games that have been played recently.
The first thing I wanted to mention revolves around the Providence College men's basketball team. Earlier in the season, they knocked off the ranked Nebraska team. It was a nice big win for the Friars to put on their resume. But my buddy Brian can't be all that happy now that the Cornhuskers got upset last night by Incarnate Word, a team that's only in their 2nd or 3rd year in D1 basketball. The Nebraska loss downgrades the Providence win just a bit and that little bit of luster on their resume has gotten a bit tarnished.
As for Mount Saint Joseph's Lauren Hill, the latest update on her is the news that the V Foundation for Cancer Research donated $100,000 in her name for pediatric brain cancer research. You can read an article and see a video message from Hill via this link.
Missouri State - The Bears played Arkansas close last night but fell away during the latter part of the game, losing 59-50. The loss drops them to 1-7 on the season. Kenzie Williams (shown below) scored 15 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. Hillary Chvatal added 11 points and 7 rebounds.
With injuries to Tyonna Snow (she hasn't played all season), Liza Fruendt and Lee Ann Polowy, point guard Riley Israel (seen below) has seen her playing time increase dramatically. Not a bad turn of events for a freshman who had "retired" from basketball after her last high school basketball. You can read here story HERE.
Hartford - The Hawks snapped their losing streak with a 62-57 victory over Penn State. However, the win didn't come easy with the Hawks nearly blowing a 24 point lead in the second half. But Hartford led for the entire game for the 2nd time this season as Deanna Mayza (pictured below) hit for a career high 25 points (6-10 3pt shooting, 7-8 FT shooting). Mayza had 5 turnovers in the game as well.
(photo from game pic gallery)
Cherelle Moore scored 14 points and grabbed 8 rebounds but had a team high 7 turnovers. Morgan Lumb added 9 points.
You can see highlights from the game below.
Post game interviews with Deanna Mayza and coach Jennifer Rizzotti can be viewed in the video below.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - Tennessee got back on the winning side of things this past Sunday with a relatively easy 85-51. The win improves the team to 6-2 on the season. The blowout was keyed by a 26-0 run early in the first half to give the Lady Vols control of the game.
Cierra Burdick led Tennessee with 16 oints and 10 boards. Isabelle Harrison added another 16 points while grabbing 6 boards. Alexa Middleton scored 12 points.
You can see highlights of the game below.
Boston College Women - The team's Monday press conference with coach Erik Johnson can be seen below.
Last night, the Eagles played Holy Cross and had what can only be termed as a dramatically disappointing game. The final score of 80-64 in favor of Holy Cross doesn't do justice to just how well the Crusaders played and how unbelievably bad BC was.
In dropping to 5-4 on the season, the Eagles found themselves down 32-8 at one point in the first half of the game (leading their own Twitter account to tweet out "Eagles sleeping tonight"). They ended up shooting just 32.8% for the entire game. This was BC's first loss to Holy Cross since 1997, a streak extending 16 games. What helped to make this game even more disappointing was that Holy Cross was just 1-7 coming into the game. I don't know if BC was looking past Holy Cross, but if they were they need to realize they are not good enough to do that.
Nicole Boudreau was the only player in double figures with 24 points. She was 9-14 from the floor including a 6-8 performance from behind the arc.
Meanwhile, Holy Cross turned 15 BC turnovers into 23 points.
This pic from The Heights student newspaper editor Emily Fahey pretty much sums up the game:
You can see Coach Johnson's brief post game video commentary below.
For the second straight Sunday I watched the BC women play via the Internet.
They were at Hartford to play the Hawks. This matchup was played last year at Boston College. It was one of the four games I attended last season as I'm a fan of both teams.
Off the opening tip, Hartford came out strong and the Eagles were flat. The Hawks built a 7-2 lead but watch BC go on an 8-0 run to build a 10-7 lead. The Hawks tied the game with a three pointer, but the Eagles ripped off an 11-0 run to go up 21-10. After a Deanna Mayza 3 pointer cut the lead to 21-13, it was time for another BC run. This time it was a 7-0 binge with the Eagles getting a bucket from Kat Cooper and 5 points from Karima Gabriel to make it 28-13. A Hartford basket stopped the run, but Alexa Coulombe scored 2 quick baskets for BC and the Eagles were up 34-15 and looking to run away with the game.
An exchange of foul shots (3 for Hartford and 2 for BC) made it 36-18, the Hawks went on a 9-3 run to cut it to 39-27. But the Eagles put together another quick 6 point run capped by a three pointer from Kelly Hughes to take a 45-27 lead. Hartford's Amber Bepko hit her only shot of the half, a three pointer, at the buzzer to cut the BC lead to 45-30 at the half.
WHAT I NOTICED IN THE FIRST HALF - For Hartford, it was that they found themselves in foul trouble with their post players. Also, when Amber Bepko isn't scoring, they seem to have trouble really getting their offense on track. Morgan Lumb was their leader in the first half with 9 points.
While the turnovers in the first half were 10-9 Hartford, I noticed that BC was capitalizing more on the turnovers they got.
For BC, they are still letting their opponents get off too many three pointers that look to be either late or completely uncontested shots. Unlike last Sunday's game against Maine however, Hartford wasn't hitting quite so often. The Hawks were 6-17 from behind the arc while BC hit 7 of 13 three point attempts.
Kelly Hughes was the BC leader with 11 points and 7 rebounds in the 1st half.
BC's Emilee Daley broke open the scoring in the 2nd half with a steal and layup to make it 47-30. A five point run by Hartford (2 free throws by Cherelle Moore and three pointer from Amber Bepko) cut it to 47-35. But two baskets from Kelly Hughes and one from Nicole Boudreau sandwiched around another three pointer by Amber Bepko saw the Eagles up 53-38 going into a timeout. After the second basket from Hughes, the Hartford play by play announcer was justifiably raving about her play.
Coming out of the time out, both teams went cold with a combination of sloppy play, turnovers and bad shots for more than 2 minutes of game time. Hartford's Morgan Lumb finally broke the scoring drought with a three pointer. The Hawks added another basket and the score was 53-43. Another 5-0 run by BC (a Hughes three pointer and a basket by Boudreau) made it 58-43.
Cherelle Moore hit a basket and the Hawks added a free throw to cut the score to 58-46, but the Eagles went on a 7-1 run after that (Cooper and Hughes hit baskets with Ashley Kelsick adding a three pointer) and found themselves up 65-47. Amber Bepko score the next 5 points for the Hawks (with Kelsick adding another bucket for BC) and the score was 67-52. Three of those points for Bepko came after she got fouled hard on a three point attempt. She made all three foul shots that resulted.
Alexa Coulombe added her third basket of the day to make it 69-52 BC. After another three pointer from Bepko, Hartford lost Cherelle Moore for the game when she picked up her fifth foul. While it meant that the Hawks had no inside presence left for the rest of the game, they went on an 8-0 run (keyed by a three pointer from Deanna Mayza) to cut the BC lead down to 69-60. The run forced BC to call a time out.
After the time out, BC scored a basket, but Ashley Kelsick fouled out. After a Hartford free throw, BC's Kelly Hughes hit two foul shots to cap the scoring and Boston College went on to win 73-61.
The win raises BC's record to 5-3 on the season while Hartford has now dropped to 3-6.
For Hartford - Amber Bepko (photo below) scored just 3 points in the first half, but she finished the game with 20 points. She added 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals as well. Morgan Lumb finished with a season high 16 points and 6 boards (though she had 5 turnovers). Deanna Mayza added 9 points.
(photo by Steve McLaughlin, Hartford photographer)
Cherelle Moore managed just 8 points before fouling out. Hartford's other starting big, Janelle Harrison, had a terrible game. She went scoreless and committed 9 turnovers. The team had 23 turnovers for the game. While that was only 1 more than BC had, as I said above, BC seemed to capitalize on the turnovers they got and Hartford didn't.
For Boston College - While the Eagles had to fight off some slack play towards the end of the game, they were pretty much in control for everything but the initial 5 or 6 minutes at the start of the first half. Kelly Hughes (photo below) continues to lead the team offensively. She had her second career double double with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
(photo by Steve McLaughlin, Hartford photographer)
Kat Cooper (pictured below) had another solid game with 15 points and 7 boards. Nicole Boudreau finished with 9 points and 3 assists. I liked seeing Martina Mosetti having a decent game. She had 6 points for BC.
The big surprise to me was the 7 points from Alexa Coulombe. She played very well today and that isn't something I usually say after watching her play. She also made a SWEET pass for an assist on one of Kelly Hughes' baskets.
I'm still trying to figure out freshman Rachel Gartner. The BC women's basketball Twitter feed trumped out the fact that she had a career high 9 assists in the game, which is generally a good thing. But looking at the box score, she also turned the ball over 6 times. She was scoreless in the game and on the shots she took, she seemed to front rim the majority of them.
BC is on the road Wednesday to play Holy Cross and will be at home next Sunday against New Hampshire.
A brief interview with coach Erik Johnson is below.