|Yup, that's RG III|
photo: Doug Feinberg, AP
Three Seniors -- Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins, Elena Della Donne. I could write pages and pages about these three players. Yeah, I know that ESPN has hammered their "Three to See" to death, but there's a reason these three players are the ones you tune into see. Each is remarkable in her own way. They are all very different players. They all have remarkably different stories. As I do not watch the WNBA, this is my last chance to see them. Thanks for all the fun times, ladies.
|photo: Al Behrman, AP|
** Kara Lawson compared her to Dirk Nowitzki, Carolyn Peck compared her to Cheryl Miller. Like Diggins, she was one of the most recruited players in the nation and she ended up at UConn, but left the program and left basketball shortly after arriving. She went home to Delaware and enrolled at Delaware. The rest, as they say is history and according to reports, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne is enjoying basketball more than ever. Maybe it was the program. Maybe she was burned out. Maybe it just wasn't a good fit. Or maybe the kid was simply homesick. Whatever the case, it is a wonderful thing that she found her way back to basketball. There is something about her game that has a throwback quality to it. She is magnificent without being flashy; she averages 26.7 points per game without apparent ego; she has the most complete game I've seen in years. As such, she has a truly unique skill set. She can score inside or outside or shoot from mid-range. She can get her own put backs. She drives the opposition crazy and draws fouls. Bear in mind that is the kiss of death because she is dead accurate from the charity stripe.
|photo: Rick Osentoski, US Presswire|
They are a great team and they have a great coach, but there is one reason they are the odd's on favorites to repeat as champs this year and that is Brittney Griner. She put on a show for the Baylor fans in the second round. She elevated her performance for the fans, to whom she seemed genuinely grateful. Those fans supported her from day one. That support has enabled her to excel on the court. It's also made her more fun to watch and for that, the rest of us should be truly grateful, too.
|Yup, that's Joe Biden with the Blue Hens|
photo: Mark Campbell, Univ. of Del. Athletics
One Surprise Stars -- Adrienne Webb, LSU. Before the tourney tipped, I selected LSU's Theresa Plaisance as one of my ten players to watch. I was right to put a Tiger on my list, but I picked the wrong one. Adrienne Webb can do it all and with Plaisance injured and struggling, Webb has carried her team this far. Cal has a ridiculous amount of firepower in it's arsenal, what with Gennifer Brandon, Brittany Boyd and Layshia Clarendon, but I think that Webb and Plaisance can give them a scare.
The Young One -- Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (So.), UConn. Does Geno Auriemma always have a freaky good shooter in his arsenal? Seems like it. But for my friend The UConn Fan, who has followed the Huskies for too many years to count, Mosqueda-Lewis is the purest shooter seen since Diana Taurasi roamed the court. That is some high praise indeed.
|"THIS is what a tush is supposed to feel like"|
There are few coaches at any level who are as entertaining as Baylor's Kim Mulkey. If you ever wanted to have a wise-cracking but wise friend, complete with a crackling southern accent, and a knack for knowing just what to say, then Kim Mulkey is your woman. She is known from her playing days as a beast in the gym. She is known in her coaching days for some of her inimitable sartorial choices. I once wrote that she dressed like Tanya Tucker. I stand by that. She fist pumps, she crouches, she jumps around, she gets in her players faces and she hugs them the way you great your favorite cousin at a family reunion. Her post-game interviews are more frank and fresh and honest than most you'll ever hear. Don't let the clothes and the accent fool you. She is one sharp lady. Even when Brittney Griner leaves, I'll tune into Baylor games just for the great Kim Mulkey.
Before I shift to another topic, let me just say: Pat Summitt, you are missed, lady. Basketball is just not the same for me without The Summitt Death Stare. [If you ever watched even one Lady Vols game, you know what I'm talking about] There's just nobody like you.
The On-Air Talent -- Doris Burke, Coach Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson. First off, I would listen to Doris Burke break down driveway game between 6-year olds, a'la the Charles Barkley commercial. In culling through the interwebs, it appears I may be alone in this, but Burke calls a great game. By this I mean that she rarely gets in the way of the drama unfolding. I don't feel like she comes into a game with a set script and sticks to it no matter what. I'm sure, as a seasoned pro, she has a few storylines or dramatic arcs she has thought about prior to tip. But unlike some I've heard, she allows the game itself to dictate her narration, rather than hammering a preconceived notion to death, or trying to fit a square peg, as it were.
Away from the court, you get two of the better analysts I've heard break down games, players, coaches and strategy. I feel like I always hear something fresh or simply true when I watch Peck and Lawson work. It may seem like a small thing, but that is high praise indeed. When was the last time you heard one of the talking heads say something that was true but not obvious, fresh but not obtuse?
The Sweet 16 starts with Delaware v. Kentucky. Who ya got?!