History was made last night in Denver during the NCAA women’s basketball championship game.
I won’t bore you with the statistics, which I never remember anyway, but the Lady Bears from Baylor University demolished the Lady Irish from Notre Dame 80-61.
The Lady Bears became the first team ever to go 40 wins and no losses during a season; this was their second national title.
While it’s kind of exciting to witness history in the making, my heart aches for the Irish. Bringing a 35-3 record into the final (and besting a scrappy UConn team in the semifinals), the Lady Irish were hoping for a victory to ease the disappointment of losing last year’s championship to Texas A&M. A win also would have been their second championship (the first was in 2001).
It wasn’t to be.
Early in the game, the Irish led by a couple of points and was only down six at halftime. Typically, after a hesitant first half, they come out blazing for the second half.
Not last night.
They ran into foul trouble, their shots turned ice-cold, and their ability to grab rebounds proved nonexistent.
They were up against Baylor’s Brittney Griner, who stands 6’8″.
That’s six feet, eight inches!
Now everybody expects good basketball players to be tall, but Brittney is taller than the average male in the U.S. (5’9.4″).
She’s also GOOD.
She scored points from the floor, snatched rebounds, blocked Irish shots — in short, everything asked of her to bring her ‘A game’ to the finale.
And she did it with class. No trash-talk. No super-sized ego. Just praise for her teammates and Coach Kim Mulkey.
So, while it’s disappointing to lose — especially a national championship, especially for Notre Dame’s graduating seniors — if you have to lose, it’s palatable to lose to a team like the Lady Bears.
After all, I seriously doubt whether any team, men’s or women’s, could have bested them last night!