NASHVILLE baskets balls edition
The use of the greeting "howdy" has never been more apropos here at the Polecat as HQ packed up the van and boogied down to Nashville.
Nashville. Music City, USA. Athens of the South. The city where Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat tore it up back in '89.
There'll be no sweet, bewitching football here the next few days even though we're embedded in territory ruled by the Southeastern Conference (the Southern Connecticut Conference of college football leagues). We're going to be all about the women's variety of the baskets balls. And that brings us back around to Nashville.
Man, this city has gone all-out for the Final Four. It's easy to become snarky when an event gets hyped as if it were chronicled by Paul the Apostle, but dagnammit, this city has made the F4 into AN EVENT.
You can't swing a guitar around this town without knocking over something with the F4 logo. Seriously, it's ubiquitous. Even the hotel key has the F4 design on the back.
Nashville has grabbed the Final Four in a loving embrace, and it's pretty cool to see a city rally around it.
We will effort to provide YOU with something about the Final Four on this here blog over the next few days, in addition to all of the other material produced by TEAM DAY~!.
We hope you enjoy it.
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Notre Dame center Natalie Achonwa may have been her team's most indispensible player because no one else can replicate what she does.
Achonwa tore her left anterior cruciate ligament in Monday's win over Baylor. It's a wretched way for the senior's career to end, leaving Notre Dame shorthanded in the post. She averaged a team-high 7.7 rebounds and was her team's third-leading scorer (14.9).
ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo noted that she drew a team-high 24 charges.
"The biggest worry I think for Notre Dame would be keeping Maryland off the offensive glass because they're such a good rebounding team," ESPN analyst Kara Lawson said.
The Terrapins were third in the nation in rebounding differential (11.5). They're led by center Alicia DeVaughn (7.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and forward Alyssa Thomas (19.1 ppg, 11 rpg), the latter of whom will be taken near the top of next week's WNBA Draft.
"Offensively, the way (Notre Dame's) offense is structured, it's like movable pieces," Lawson said. "They can play four guards, they don't miss a beat. They don't have to change scheme. … It's not like they have to change their offense because she's not there.
"(Freshman forward Taya) Reimer is more a four. She would play with Achonwa," Lawson said. "(Senior forward) Ariel Breaker is a four. (Junior forward Markisha) Wright kind of has the strength a little bit of a five, but in terms of height, she's a four. So Achonwa is the one player they didn't really have a true backup for, and now they don't have her. So the issue is defensively, what do they do what this size because they lost their best, by far, defensive post player."
Reimer was asked about adjusting to playing without Achonwa.
"With Ace being out, it has been different because we are all going to have to do something different and contribute more," she said. "Mostly rebounding and defense, so I have really be focusing on that and talking to the coaches about being aggressive on offense and knowing what to do on defense."
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