Ladies day

According to the Good Book, even the Lord himself (or herself, as my daughters will argue) took a day off every now and then.

Here at Hoop Time, we've only rested twice since our launch in November. So today, with a lull in the action, and no features to be found in our morning scan of the 'net, we were already to declare it a day of rest.

Then we got to thinking a little about the upcoming weekend. Not just our beloved Iggles, or the usual men's hoops stuff we cover here, either. Because Sunday, while Philly is busy smacking the crap out of the Falcons, we will be busy down in D.C., watching the Holy Cross and American women's teams attempt to do the same to each other.

Call it fallout from the Patriot League's decision to do away with the men's-women's doubleheaders they had played since the league began. For the last several seasons, we have enjoyed a freelance gig with the Worcester Telegram-Gazette covering Holy Cross teams when they migrate south for games in exotic locales like Easton, Bethlehem, Lewisburg, D.C. and Annapolis.

The bad news is missing most of the football game. The good news, though, is Maryland crab soup and a crabcake sandwich at Chick and Ruth's tomorrow, and a chance to watch Bill Gibbons' team against the Navy ladies in the evening.

An afternoon in Annapolis (if the weather geeks are to be trusted) will almost make us even with nature if it does dump eight inches on Sunday, making our drive to AU a mess.

Like most things in life, it evens out.

Gibbons is another one of the good guys you seem to meet a lot of around the game at this level. There are no Jim Harricks in the Patriot League.

We gave Bill a call the other day to talk a little about his team in preparation for this weekend's assignment, and took advantage of the opportunity to congratulate him on the 400th win of his career.

It came last Wednesday at the Hart Center, in a 70-53 victory over Army.

In his New England college basketball column Monday, Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald put Gibbons' acheivement in perspective:
Gibbons (400-180) owns the most victories of any coach in Holy Cross history and his run includes 15 seasons with 20 or more wins. The 400 Club includes such Div. 1 luminaries as Geno Auriemma (UConn), Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Tara Van Deever (Stanford) and Jody Conradt (Texas).
In the Patriot League, Gibbons' program is the established measuring stick. The Crusaders are 156-29 in league play (all under Gibbons) with 10 regular season titles and nine tournament championships. Six times Gibbons has been named the league's women's coach of the year.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Here's a little-known story that illustrates the class act Gibbons is: A few years ago, Bucknell's Molly Creamer was coming off a standout junior season and started to wonder if maybe she could be playing at a higher level.

Already a two-time league Player of the Year, Creamer spent much of the spring and summer contemplating a transfer to a big-time program, figuring that might improve her chances of a professional career.

Unbeknownst to her own coach, Kathy Fedorjaka, Creamer sought out Gibbons for advice. This all took place not long after Creamer led Bucknell past Holy Cross for the 2002 league title, ending a streak of four straight championships for Holy Cross.

With Creamer back for her senior year, Bucknell might well have been a major stumbling block to the Crusaders' quest to regain their crown in 2003. Nonetheless, Gibbons' advice to Creamer was to stay at BU for her senior season.

That nearly came back to bite him in the league semifinals. Bucknell took the 'Saders to the final buzzer before losing 66-63. Holy Cross went on to win the championship. Creamer went on to become a No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft.

Like we said, things even out.

It is hard to imagine how many wins Gibbons might have if he were willing to add a few more modest opponents to his non conference schedule. As Thompson pointed out:
The quality of the Crusaders' nonconference foes is staggering. The Crusaders aren't immediate family members in the Big East, but they certainly qualify as a first cousins. Already this season, they've played defending national champion UConn, Boston College, Providence and St. John's. Holy Cross has also tangled with Duke, UMass, DePaul, Alabama-Birmingham and Northeastern. The Crusaders got crushed at Duke, but they held their own in the other tough, nonconference matchups.
This year's HC team is 3-0 in the league after picking up Gibbons' win No. 401 Saturday at Colgate. Despite a rash of injuries, including knee and shoulder problems that have reduced senior Maggie Fontana from one of the league's two best players two years ago to merely above average this year, the Crusaders once again look like one of the top contenders in the league.

PATRIOTS IN THE PROS: We mentioned last week that Creamer has signed with the Lubbock Hawks of the NWBA, a springtime league that includes a lot of WNBA players.

Turns out she is not the only former Bucknell player in the league. Desire Almind, the school's third-leading scorer all-time and an all-league pick last season, has signed with the Birmingham Power.

Samaiyah Council, a 2002 graduate of Lafayette, is also in the lageu, playing for the Colorado Chill.

O'KEEFE KEEPS WINNING: Here's a nice piece on former Holy Cross women's star Katie O'Keefe, who is proving being a winner involves more than just scoreboard results. O'Keefe is coaching her high school alma mater, teaching her players about hoops, and about life.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

©2005 Hoop Time. All rights reserved.