When you think of the term March Madness, you generally think of filling out the brackets, watching the games amongst family and friends, and basically becoming obsessed with picking the champions.
Notice I said champions and not champion, as this year’s Women’s NCAA Basketball Tourney has been nothing short of phenomenal in terms of both entertainment and competition.
Having the Final Four here in the friendly confines of a world class facility such as Conseco Fieldhouse makes it good, but these ladies have really made it great as we head into the championship game pitting Notre Dame against Texas A&M.
While some so-called basketball experts claim the men’s game is more athletic and more enjoyable to watch, a purist will tell you differently, as the ladies play more soundly in terms of fundamentals and they go at it hard every night. I ask those of you who have watched or attended a ladies game lately; have you EVER seen a game where they did not play hard?
Granted, like their male counterparts, they may have an off night from the field, or turn the ball over, but they ALWAYS play hard for 40 minutes without exception.
Take a look at Texas A&M. Many men’s teams would have packed it in down 10 with six minutes to go, but the Lady Aggies showed more true grit than Rooster Cogburn ever dreamed of as they held heavily favored Stanford to just two baskets in the final six minutes and won it on a thrilling drive to the hoop with just three seconds left on the clock. They then celebrated it in style by forming a line dance on the court after the game that featured the school administrator singing with them as they belted out the school song in perfect harmony.
The night cap game was no slouch either as underdog Notre Dame showed great resolve as they refused to go down to the powerful overall number one seed Connecticut. The ladies from South Bend had been defeated three times this season by the Huskies, but thanks to great ball movement (Someone please show the game film to our Pacers) and timely shooting, Notre Dame exorcised their demons regarding Connecticut and in the process electrified those in attendance.
Two tremendous games featuring a plethora of stars, all with no quit attitudes. But these types of performances are nothing new to those who follow the women’s game, and while the WNBA stars of tomorrow frequently labor in obscurity, it goes with out saying that if you watch them play, you will notice that there really is a difference in the men and the women.
THE WOMEN DO IT BETTER.
That’s right, I said better. Just ask the fans who filed out after the national semi finals. Even those who saw their beloved teams lose will tell you how exciting and memorable the games where. You want action and emotion? No problem. Just head out to the title game and watch these ladies peel the paint off the floor with their hustle. Prepare to leave inspired, and respecting what you just saw, as after the game when the champs have been crowned and everyone is gone, there will still be some sweat on the floor from a lady who dove for a loose ball.
Whether the score was tied or her team was down by 20, it really did not matter to her as she gave it her all. Folks, this is basketball at the highest level, competition at its best, and it’s what makes the Women’s Final Four arguably one of the most compelling sporting events there is.
Hats off ladies and thanks to all of you for a remarkable ride, one that I have really enjoyed. You truly brought the house down in Indy, and I cannot wait to see you again in town in 2016. I will be waiting.
Notes: If you do not have a ticket for what promises to be an epic championship match up between Texas A&M and Notre Dame, you can watch the game on ESPN. The tip off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. with Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke calling all the action. You can listen to the radio broadcast via Westwood One radio on local affiliate WNDE 1260 AM. Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli will have the call for a national radio audience.
Danny Bridges, who thinks the Women’s Final Four is quite possibly the most underrated sporting event in the world, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.