With the NCAA Women's Tournament coming to our home base of Carnesecca Arena, we were once again treated to a photo essay from Ray Floriani, this one encompassing both first-round games between Kentucky and Navy, and the Dayton/St. John's game that followed:
Queens, NY - On Sunday afternoon in round one of the Women’s NCAA tournament, we were treated to a true classic. St. John’s-Dayton, two overtimes. The interesting thing about classics is they evolve. Some matchups hint you might get a game of classic variety. But there is no definitive guarantee.
Years ago in the men’s NCAA, I headed out to Nassau Coliseum for Northeastern-Villanova. On paper, it was an intriguing game given one Jim Calhoun on the Northeastern sideline with his counterpart, Rollie Massimino. That afternoon we got a true classic in every sense, with Villanova outlasting the Huskies in three overtimes.
On Sunday following Kentucky’s 61-41 win in game one over Navy, Dayton led by ten with just over four minutes left. Not especially outstanding material. In the stretch St. John’s pressured, rallied and eventually tied the score forcing overtime.
Dayton was battling the Carnesecca Arena crowd, the loss of momentum and desire of St. John’s seniors as Nadirah McKenith who did not want this to all end. In overtime Dayton played even and we had a second extra session.
The Flyers then drew first blood in overtime number two, regained that momentum and advanced with a 96-90 decision and a meeting with Kentucky.
Just a classic game given to us by the women. Another reason these games seem to frequently happen in post season is the stakes. The realization a loss means end of a season and/or career.
Coaches today with their inherent pressures seem to lose the chance to savor a special win. Not Jim Jabir of Dayton. He was headed back to start looking at Kentucky tapes but added, “I will enjoy this one tonight.” He had every right to.
A'Dia Mathies of Kentucky inbounding the ball:
Down one at halftime, Kentucky heads out for the second half:
The Navy alma mater being played, with Kentucky players and coaches there as well in a show of honor and respect:
St. John's guard Aliyyah Handford off the dribble:
Navy players relaxed and took in the second game, savoring their NCAA experience:
Dayton head coach Jim Jabir, with an excited St. John's fan in the background:
The Dayton cheer squad celebrates after the Flyers' double overtime victory: