NCAA Basketball

Breaking it Down: 2011 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship

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While you were busy complaining about the horrific showing that was the NCAA Men’s National Championship game from Monday night, on Tuesday college hoops crowned a women’s champion. The game didn’t have the same cachet as the UConn-Butler men’s matchup, but as far as the game of basketball is concerned, one title matchup was far superior to the other. And don’t you know, it isn’t the men’s championship game that basketball fans are raving about on Wednesday.

Led by Danielle Adams, the Texas A&M Lady Aggies defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 76-70. That’s right, no powerhouse programs like UConn or Tennessee or no all-world talents like Brittney Griner or Maya Moore to rave about, just some good old-fashioned basketball.

I’m with a majority of our readers in that I’m not a women’s basketball fan. I’ll admit it. But I’ll also be the first to admit that Tuesday night’s women’s championship game was far superior to the men’s title game. Have I been converted as a fan of women’s basketball? Hardly. I must say, though, I’m more interested this morning than I was some 24 hours ago.

In looking at the numbers, UConn and Butler combined to score a total of 94 points on just 26 percent shooting from the floor in the men’s title game. As Christine Brennan of USA Today points out, the women reached 94 combined points with 14:25 still left in the game. And, as she adds, they went on to score 52 more points before the final buzzer, combining for 50 percent shooting on the evening. Statistically, the games weren’t even comparable.

One game can hardly convert even the most ardent of basketball fans to start following women’s college hoops, but Tuesday night the game certainly took strides in climbing out of the red.

Unlike in the men’s game, women’s college hoops does have an ace in the hole. Notre Dame breakout star, sophomore Skylar Diggins, became a household name on Tuesday night. After her performance in the title game she gained over 50,000 Twitter followers. And guess what? All we’re talking about Wednesday morning is how much fun it’s going to be to watch her play over the next two years… at Notre Dame! Yes, no speculation as to whether or not she’ll bolt for the WNBA, which is unlike the men’s game. Each time we see a budding star come into his own all we do is question his NBA Draft status. Case in point, the draft watch for UConn freshman Jeremy Lamb had begun just minutes after he helped lead the Huskies to the title. No rest for the NBA poachers out there.

As I said, I’m not here to sell you on or advocate for the women’s game, nor would I dare claim to speak as a fan of women’s basketball myself. But what I can speak to is the game of basketball, as a life-long fan. I know good basketball when I see it, and when I saw it was on Tuesday night in the NCAA Women’s Finals and not on Monday night when the Butler Bulldogs looked no better than, dare I say, their female counterparts.

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