I don’t care to watch certain women’s sports, even at the top level.
Tennis, yes. Beach volleyball, okay. Snow skiing, not bad. Gymnastics, once every four years is enough. Softball, no. Golf, if I can’t get out of watching it.
I’ve been known to say, in select company, (meaning not around women) that it’s inferior, compared with men’s basketball.
The athleticism just isn’t there.
Basketball as played by men has evolved from the days of Naismith and peach baskets as an indoor phys ed class into an aerial circus.
With women, it’s still ground delivery, as in the postal service.
Sure, those unguarded rainbow threes are lovely.
Then I watched the second half of the Mississippi State women’s game against Notre Dame. My wife recorded it.
State went into the game as the favorite.
In how many other national championship games was a Starkville team represented? The Bulldog baseball team in 2013. The Diamond Dogs lost to UCLA.
Sunday the Bulldogs were favored to beat the Fighting Irish.
And I can see why. They had better players.
Including a 6-foot-7-inch center who can score, rebound (second in the nation) and block shots.
Teaira McCowan is a woman among girls. Plus, she wears her hair piled atop her head, making her look 7 feet tall.
Other than the fact that my eyes don’t lie, one of my favorite proofs of my grumpy perspective on the women’s game is the simply fact that in the modern era, post-Title IX, a few teams have totally dominated the sport.
Our own Delta State Lady Statesmen, coached by the legendary Margaret Wade, won three national championships in the 1970s as a member of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, which was absorbed into the NCAA in the 1980s.
In more-recent years, Pat Summitt at Tennessee was just about unbeatable, her Lady Vols winning eight national championships.
Then came Connecticut with similar results. (Yes, I know about John Wooden’s men’s record at UCLA – 10 championships in 12 years. That will never happen again.)
Add the fact that women’s scores are frequently and laughably one-sided. That and the domination by a few teams tell me that there is a paucity of fine athletes in women’s basketball.
But it appears that the times may be achangin’.
The Final Four games this year were hotly contested.
Mississippi State, to repeat, was the favorite going into the championship game.
And they coulda-shoulda won.
Blame it on Notre Dame guard Arike Ogunbowale who bombed a 3-pointer with a tenth of a second on the clock after slipping free from defenders just enough for the release. Nothing girlie about that shot.
She did a similar deed to the University of Connecticut in the semifinal.
“This was the best Final Four in terms of play on the court we’ve ever seen,” said ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo. “It showcased women’s basketball at its best.”
State returned to Starkville disappointed for finishing second for the second year in a row.
But it ain’t over till it’s over, as a sports philosopher once said.
McCowan indicates she will be back for her senior year.
The Bulldogs have had a banner recruiting year, I’m told. And Vic Schaefer, (I memorized his name recently) has built an elite program.
Since I’m trying to be honest here, I have to tell you that I forgot the men’s championship was Monday night, a first for me.
Probably because I didn’t have a dog in that fight. And I don’t normally bet.
Pray for me. I may be slipping.
» Contact Mississippi Business Journal staff writer Jack Weatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1016.
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