Albany, NY – From a basketball connoisseur’s perspective, these conference tournaments are a delight. Sure, it is one-and-done for the teams and not an easy proposition for the coaches. The multi-game tournaments though, afford a smorgasbord of styles, reminders of the different methods utilized in the game. The MAAC Women’s quarterfinals in Albany on Friday were a prime example. The scores:
Quinnipiac 82, Monmouth 61
Siena 71, Iona 61
Marist 62, Saint Peter's 57
Fairfield 65, Niagara 57
The two afternoon games where Quinnipiac and Siena moved on featured contests in a high-octane environment. The tempo-free measured both as over 70-possession or ‘NASCAR’ paced affairs. Interestingly, neither of the four really attempted to put the brakes on. They were content to get out and use the entire 94 feet to their advantage.
The evening session saw the opposite in tempo and approach. Games were in the 60-possession range. For Saint Peter's, hoping to upset Marist for the second time in eight days, dictation of tempo was crucial. They set the pace, and in arguably the day’s best game, nearly pulled it off.
Four games, roughly adding to almost a 12-hour day, but not a solitary complaint. Not when you see the contrasting systems, approaches, and how coaches deal with the opponent and style they are facing.
To think, March Madness is just beginning.
The morning sun outside the Times Union Center. The start of the quarterfinal day:
Taking the lead from a legend, Quinnipiac's "Gold Rush" employs the Dean Smith-style five-man substitution:
A "Renaissance Man" favorite. America runs on Dunkin', why not the Times Union Center? Just a natural:
Iona coach Billi Godsey appears to be looking to the heavens for divine intervention:
Godsey's counterpart, Ali Jaques of Siena, seems to be offering a prayer in the tough contest as well:
Marist's Brittni Lai getting in the defensive stance:
Marist coach Brian Giorgis appears to be less than thrilled with an officiating decision:
Fairfield's Felicia DaCruz on the move, with Taylor McKay of Niagara defending: