Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Candace Parker and Tennessee Overcome UConn in Hartford

by Erin Semagin Damio

I'd like to preface this article by saying that I did grow up in Storrs. I did go to high school on the UConn campus, and occasionally ran into Huskies while I was doing research at the UConn Library, or eating at a cafe on campus. In other words, I was raised in the epicenter of the Connecticut women's basketball mania, and I am a Huskies fan.

That said, Saturday's game was one of the best basketball games I've seen in a long time, regardless of the outcome. If you didn't see it, and you have the chance, I'd highly recommend it. Tremendous effort by both teams, and all the players, who really left it all out on the court. Also, the fans in the Hartford Civic Center were excellent. It's great to remember what it was like when all the games sold out. It was nice to see the Tennessee fans who drove or flew up to support their team (and they didn't even have to deal with cold weather!).

The point of the first paragraph was simply that I have tried very hard to look at this game objectively, and I think succeeded for the most part (though certainly not to the extent that Mel, who lives in between the schools and is friends with both coaches, would). Behind that objectivity though, I'll always be from Connecticut, and I just want readers to be aware of that.

Hartford, Conn. – When Connecticut and Tennessee played each other on January 4, 2003, in Hartford, Tennessee had an eight-point lead with five minutes to play.

Tennessee had led for most of the second half, expanding their lead, and their eight points should have been solid, but Diana Taurasi fueled a Huskies run, hitting a three-pointer to send the game into overtime, and a jumper to win the game.

This time, there was no Diana Taurasi. There was Candace Parker.

The redshirt sophomore had 30 points, 12 rebounds, 6 blocks, 4 assists, and a steal, playing all 40 minutes to give Tennessee a 70-64 victory over Connecticut in Hartford this past Saturday.

The Huskies didn’t seem to be operating on all cylinders. Only Charde Houston (23 points, 8 rebounds) scored in double figures for UConn, and leading scorer Renee Montgomery shot 2-11, finishing the game with 4 points.

Tennessee was operating on Parker’s cylinder. Outside of Parker, the Lady Vols scored just 40 points, and only Sidney Spencer (14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals) joined Parker in double figures.

“As the game went on, she just got better and better,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said about Parker, “and she’s better under pressure. To have a go-to player like Candace opens up other players.”

Of course, the play of the game that got replays on CBS and ESPN -- that those who don’t follow women’s basketball, and don’t know that the UConn-Tennessee game is THE game will remember -- was the sixth dunk of Candace Parker’s college career.

Parker, who is 6’4” and touted as able to play every position, is certainly one of the most athletic women playing college basketball, and the only current college player to dunk a basketball in a game. Before Saturday, she hadn’t dunked against a highly ranked opponent or on national television.

Just under two minutes into the second half, Spencer stole the ball and passed it to Parker, who sprinted down the court. Wide open, indeed, the only player on that half of the floor, she went for the dunk.

“I had a chance to dunk on Connecticut’s court, and I did,” Parker said after the game.

Without a doubt, Parker is one of the most skilled basketball players in the country, and the dunk, though it might be exciting to watch, is the tip of the iceberg. Ironically, her dunk in this basketball game actually backfired against Tennessee, sparking a Connecticut run that closed an eighteen-point deficit to tie the game with about five minutes remaining. It was Parker’s blocking ability and strong post play that won out in the end.

The dunk put Tennessee ahead by 16, and a Nicky Anosike layup on the next possession increased the lead to eighteen. Huskies coach Geno Auriemma put juniors Ketia Swanier and Brittany Hunter into the game, two players that had just gotten angrier watching Parker’s dunk and Tennessee’s run from the sidelines.

“Of course I was mad,” Hunter said. “It shouldn’t take that, however, to get anyone going.”

Hunter, who is playing on an almost entirely reconstructed knee, hadn’t played for two weeks before Saturday due to swelling in her knee, but she stepped up as the primary defender on Parker during Connecticut’s second-half run.

Hunter’s defense and Charde Houston’s offense combined to take over the game for a few minutes, almost getting it back.

Like Taurasi, who went 7-1 against the Lady Vols in her four years at UConn, Hunter and Houston hate to lose. They played their way out of an 18-point deficit and showed that they could play with the best in the country, but ultimately, they were outplayed.

Connecticut will have the chance to bounce back. Tonight the Huskies play Seton Hall at 7:30, and if this team hates to lose as much as Taurasi-era teams, Seton Hall should prepare for a vengeful game from the Huskies.

In a week, Connecticut will face another test, when they play undefeated North Carolina in North Carolina. If Tennessee got the jitters of the first big game out of the freshmen’s systems -- and some bad basketball out of the team’s -- it should be an interesting game.

Taurasi herself, after all, thinks that this Huskies team is capable of a lot. When she was at Gampel Pavilion December 21, getting honored with a banner on the wall as one of 10 first-team All-Americans that had played at Connecticut, Taurasi called this team out. She asked Houston to represent California (Taurasi is from Chino, Houston from San Diego), and get another banner added as a first-team All-American. Taurasi’s next vision was a broader team goal.

“We’ve been coming back the last two or three years, and we’re getting tired of seeing the same banners,” Taurasi said, looking at the five National Championship banners hanging in the middle of one wall. “Hopefully this year we can add another special one. I’m looking at the space at center court.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both Candace Parker and Charde Houston are elite players. And if Brittany Hunter's knee was 100% she would be in that class too!
This was a wake up call to the young players on the UConn team .They've been out of sync the past 4 or 5 games or so-starting out slow, and their perimeter shooting has been off.You can't do that against the top echelon teams.
I have a feeling this will be a positive learning experience for UConn.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I want asked and propose the following..



9:45 PM  
Anonymous Krissy said...

This was one of the best performances py Parker in her college career.

8:20 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 09.03
louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, tiffany jewelry, christian louboutin, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, ralph lauren polo, michael kors outlet store, nike free, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses, tory burch outlet, burberry factory outlet, longchamp bags, uggs on sale, louis vuitton outlet online, replica watches, uggs on sale, uggs on sale, michael kors outlet, louboutin uk, uggs outlet, prada outlet, oakley sunglasses, replica watches, ralph lauren outlet, ray ban sunglasses, cheap jordans, uggs outlet, prada handbags, michael kors, gucci handbags, tiffany jewelry, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp outlet, nike outlet, michael kors handbags, louis vuitton handbags, burberry outlet, nike air max, michael kors outlet online

4:11 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

coach outlet, sac guess pas cher, coach purses, kate spade outlet, louboutin pas cher, true religion outlet, longchamp pas cher, true religion outlet, chanel handbags, true religion outlet, nike air max, hermes pas cher, true religion jeans, converse, lunette oakley pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, hogan sito ufficiale, nike blazer pas cher, vans pas cher, north face pas cher, nike air max pas cher, vanessa bruno pas cher, timberland pas cher, mulberry uk, longchamp soldes, michael kors, new balance, kate spade, nike tn pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, coach outlet store online, nike roshe run pas cher, michael kors outlet online, burberry pas cher, michael kors uk, lululemon outlet, nike free pas cher, coach outlet, lunette ray ban pas cher, jordan pas cher, hollister uk, north face uk, ray ban uk, polo lacoste pas cher, nike air force

4:11 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

softball bats, polo ralph lauren uk, nike trainers uk, reebok outlet, north face outlet, nfl jerseys, nike roshe uk, hermes handbags, asics running shoes, p90x workout, north face outlet, nike air max uk, abercrombie and fitch UK, hollister clothing, beats by dre, abercrombie, nike air max uk, jimmy choo outlet, nike air huarache, longchamp uk, chi flat iron, lululemon outlet, herve leger, giuseppe zanotti, abercrombie and fitch, ghd hair, nike roshe run, bottega veneta, iphone cases, soccer shoes, vans outlet, nike free, new balance shoes, instyler ionic styler, mcm handbags, mac cosmetics, celine handbags, mont blanc, valentino shoes, insanity workout, nike air max, wedding dresses, babyliss pro, soccer jerseys, salvatore ferragamo

4:12 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

hollister, swarovski uk, michael kors outlet, thomas sabo uk, oakley, nike air max, replica watches, supra shoes, ray ban, doke & gabbana, marc jacobs, converse shoes outlet, timberland boots, montre pas cher, wedding dresses uk, pandora uk, swarovski jewelry, sac louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, pandora charms, louis vuitton, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, polo ralph lauren, links of london uk, louis vuitton uk, karen millen uk, bottes ugg pas cher, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, michael kors outlet online, lancel, converse, michael kors handbags, juicy couture outlet, gucci, sac louis vuitton, hollister, ugg uk, juicy couture outlet, toms shoes, ugg pas cher, coach outlet, louboutin, vans scarpe
ninest123 09.03

4:13 AM  
Blogger mmjiaxin said...

ray ban sunglasses
michael jordan shoes
jordans for cheap
coach outlet online
ray ban sunglasses outlet
oakley store online
michael kors outlet
huaraches shoes
cheap oakley sunglasses
ralph lauren online
cheap uggs
kobe shoes
cheap jordans online
ralph lauren uk
cheap authentic jordans
Cheap NFL Jerseys China
retro jordans

9:36 PM  
Blogger GIL BERT said...

nike air force 1
jets jersey
nike shoes
coach outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
moncler outlet
nike huarache
nike huarache
boston celtics
coach handbags

8:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home