Saturday, April 04, 2009

Making Basketball History

Today Chad and I made Luce family history while helping to make KU basketball history. We went to Allen Fieldhouse to attend our first ever KU women's basketball game. Most people who don't live in Lawrence or follow KU sports probably had no idea, but today our Lady 'Hawks played in the finals of the Women's NIT. Our women's team has never been especially successful, so this was a huge step forward in the building of the program.

Although Chad wasn't especially excited about going to watch women's basketball at first, he decided that it would be a good idea to support the team in this historic game. We ended up having a really good time, because the Allen Fieldhouse atmosphere was absolutely incredible! It was so great to see so many people turn out to support the KU women! They annouced a KU and Big 12 record crowd of 16,100 (the Fieldhouse holds about 16,300), but it looked like there were actually at least 500-1000 seats near the rafters that were empty. Still, it was an absolutely incredible crowd for a women's game! Check this out!

This was during the first half, when KU made a run to tie the game about 3 minutes before halftime after being down by as many as 10 early in the game. They ended up falling back down by eight before halftime and then trailing by as many as 13 in the second half, but then made another run late in the second half to cut it to just 3 points with under a minute left to play. Unfortunately, they weren't able to come up with the 3-pointer at the end to tie it, but they definitely made it a great game down the stretch. I think South Florida was really just the better team in the end. It was really pretty amazing that they were able to hold on and win when KU had this kind of home court advantage!

I can only imagine what a thrill it was for the KU women, who generally don't have very many fans in attendance during regular games, to have a crowd like this today. It made me so happy for them and I'm so glad we were able to be there to show our support!

Although the atmosphere today was almost exactly like a men's game, I have to admit that the play itself is so incredibly different. Personally, I think it's all about genetics. If you think about it, the tallest girl on KU's team is 6'5", which means that she's only about as tall as a shooting guard or a small forward on a men's team. She can't be expected to rebound and shoot like the male centers simply because she's not nearly as close to the basket as they are! The girls are great ball handlers and great shooters in general, but none of them are aggressive in the same way that the men are. Many of them seemed tentative in their shooting and reluctant to take the open shot. The other way that their genes betray them is just in their general overall strength. There were so many missed layups simply because the girls couldn't take the ball up strong enough. They aren't gifted with enough upper body strength for powerful inside games and they don't have enough leg strength to jump high for the rebounds! It's just physically impossible for the girls to be as exciting to watch as the boys!

With that said, it was still a fun time today and we were very proud of the women. We have several really great players that are coming back next year, so I have high hopes that our women will make the BIG dance next year!

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