Sunday, March 19, 2006

Double History

Candace Parker's first half dunk turned a close, competitive game into a 48 point rout today. The first dunk was the capper to a one on one fast break with Army's Margaree King on her hip the whole way. Even Margaree seemed to have a smile on her face after she found herself on the wrong side of this historical moment. The second dunk was perhaps more impressive, it came during a halfcourt set where Candace lost her defender on the baseline and delivered the dunk again with one hand. This was the first dunk in NCAA Women's Tournament history, and the first time in NCAA history that a player dunked twice in a single game. Candace has made her statement however, and said that she won't be pushing it in the rest of the tournament, at least not in the dunk department.

Vols coach, Pat Summit, has expressed concerns in the past, which she repeated during a halftime interview, worrying that Candace could injure herself. Coach Summit admitted, though, that the dunk did what it was supposed to up a lethargic Lady Vols squad. Tennessee relied on their size and athleticism to dominate the remainder of the game and Parker sat out the rest of the second half as Coach Summit got a chance to give experience to her bench and strengthen their confidence for round 2. Unfortunately for those of us watching the game, ESPN2 decided the rout was less interesting (and perhaps it would have been) to watch and thus switched to the more closely contested Temple/Hartford game. Dawn Staley's Owls failed to make it to the second round this year after breaking that threshold last March. Hartford played masterful team defense to shut down the Owl's leading scorer, Candice Dupree. They fed off their defensive success and ran their offense efficiently maintaining control of the game despite multiple runs by Temple. Temple got it close in the waning seconds but were unable to hit shots in their final possessions allowing the second upset in this year's tournament by a number 11 seed.

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