Great news for all of us Tennessee Lady Vols fans...Baylor was eliminated in the sweet 16 tonight by a tenacious, 3 point shooting clinic put on by the lady Cardinals of Louisville. This is, as noted by all the commentators on ESPN, THE biggest upset ever in women's NCAA tournament history. And I concur! Now back to why this is good news for Lady Vols fans who also won today in a route over Oklahoma - for you see if Baylor had won tonight (which was truly expected by almost everyone on the planet) Tennessee would have had to face them on Tuesday night. Now that we've seen what Louisville can do, I'm not sure this opponent will be any easier but at least Louisville doesn't have 6'8" Brittney Griner on their roster.
Yes, I'm a rabid Lady Vols fan, and I am stunned how little attention is being paid to them in this tournament, it's been Notre Dame this, Baylor that, Connecticut this, blah, blah, blah. It's been a weird year not having the venerable Pat Summitt at the helm any more, but the team has responded exceptionally well to first year head coach Holly Warlick who served as Summitt's assistant for many years and has way too big shoes to fill yet has done a masterful job taking the team now all the way into the Elite 8.
Here's hoping the Louisville team used up all their energy and all those 3 point shots in their victory tonight over Baylor. It was one of the most exciting games I've ever watched and even though all of the mainstream media is focused on the men's tournament, the women's tournament has been by far as exciting as it's ever been. Superstar Elena Delle Donne of Delaware may be out of the tournament when her team lost this weekend, but she was shooting over 30 points per game and in attendance at their previous game was Vice President Joe Biden. At Baylor's previous game, former President George W. Bush and wife, Laura, were in attendance. Yes, the big boys were in the house... so no one can tell me that there is no interest in the women's NCAA!
Brittney Griner's collegiate career ended tonight and it was a real shocker as Baylor was nearly handed the NCAA championship without having to play any games. Just a reminder that anything can happen in these one and done tournaments. But the WNBA is now drooling over the prospect of getting one of the most unique and talented players to ever grace a basketball court. For a 6'8" tall player, she is extremely agile, coordinated, and a prolific scorer. Look out WNBA - Griner's on her way!
Now comes Skylar Diggins from Notre Dame - one of the other big 3 players to watch...she put on a show today scoring 27 points in the Irish 93-63 victory over Kansas. Diggins looked like a player possessed - scoring, stealing and with 9 assists. I'm sure Diggins and the Irish are chomping at the bit now that Baylor is out. The good news is that Diggins is a senior and that is great news for our WNBA Chicago Sky team. Since they have the 2nd pick in the WNBA draft in a couple of weeks, we could be seeing THE Skylar Diggins in a Sky uniform this season. In my mind, this would be awesome not only for the outstanding player she is, but also because she would bring a lot of attention to the team and hopefully tons of new fans who might motor in from Indiana to catch their favorite "daughter" play for Chicago in the WNBA. Diggins has a huge media following, she's beautiful, extremely athletic and talented, and she'd look mighty fine in a Chicago Sky uniform. The other choice for the Sky if they don't select Diggins would be Elena Delle Donne from Delaware...what a nice problem to have - trying to pick between two elite players who can make a huge contribution to the team. Life is good.
Well, with Baylor out - the women's NCAA tournament is wide open - will my beloved Tennessee Lady Vols hoist another national championship trophy? It would be a most wonderful gift to a team that lost it's beloved Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Pat Summitt to early onset dementia/Alzheimer's. I still want to cry every time I think about this terrible twist of fate. For the ultimate fairy tale ending, Tennessee will win again! If this scenario doesn't play out then I must say I wish a national championship for Skylar Diggins and Notre Dame...Diggins deserves to bow out of a stellar collegiate career with this added to her already impressive resume.
So for this Sunday night, Bye Bye Baylor - hello Elite 8 and let the games begin!
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