This weekend past was one of mixed emotions.
It started with a Friday high, and we mean that not in the terms that are usually used in a college town.
Friday was the day that the first email announcing one of the great March Madness pools of all-time arrived with the following message:
Attached hereto is all you need to know about “We’ve Got High Hoops.”
Entries are due no later than midnight Sunday, March 17 (wearing green optional).
The blizzards have ceased, Dennis Rodman has had a successful trip to North Korea, sequestration abounds and yet ...
And so it begins, this wonderful pool that includes using the point-spread and big money ... with a $100 entry fee the prize money is $3,200 for first, $1,600 for runner-up, $800 each for Final Four loser ... and there are enough entrants for more than one pool.
It is, to be sure, especially since you can have a No. 16 seed and should it cover the spread in the first game inherit the No. 1 seed, which turns it into true March Madness.
However, as noted, it was more of a semisweet weekend, for what happened at Kansas sent a message to even the most diehard of West Virginia fans that whichever March Madness pool they enter — and I would wager not 20 percent of you are not involved in some pool — will be without West Virginia University’s participation.
Indeed, the realization that should have been there from Day 1 when Gonzaga made them look exactly like what they turned out to be came to fruition and now is about to make this March into one where the only thing left to do is root against Pitt.
Worse yet, considering the cast of characters on hand and what we’ve seen waiting in the wings, there is no guarantee that this will change next March.
That much improvement is needed from a sub-.500 team capable of losing to Kansas, 91-65, while having 13 shots blocked.
Fortunately, there wasn’t much time to mourn the death of this season in Kansas on Saturday afternoon, for on Saturday evening this area put its best foot forward and welcomed Brittney Griner and the national champion Baylor Bears to town as no other women’s team ever has been welcomed ... and that includes Geno Auriemma’s dynasty from UConn, which once actually had to play at Morgantown High.
It is difficult to capture the scene at the Coliseum as spectacular as it was. To begin with, the students, who had shunned the men’s team in its last game at the Coliseum when even the lower student section wasn’t completely filled, turned out at their rollicking best.
They came in mass and in costume, hooping and hollerin’, dancing and shaking and having the kind of fun the venerable building had always brought out in the students.
But there were more than 13,000 people who crammed their way into the game, about 3,000 more than expected, more than double the men’s crowd from its previous game and just 2,000 less than the 15,767 who had attended the first seven Big 12 home games combined.
What made it such a happening was that it wasn’t just students. It was the entire community getting together and making it into an event, young and old, coming from far and near ... people from Pittsburgh and Wheeling and, of course, Fairmont and Clarksburg making the trek to see the best team in women’s basketball and the best player.
The shame was that WVU wasn’t really competitive, save for one spurt that really had the joint jumping as if Da’Sean Butler had just canned another buzzer beater, but they didn’t seem to mind.
Certainly it will give women’s basketball a boost, considering that Coach Mike Carey put on display a team with only one senior and one that figures to improve next year when it gets its best player from injury for her senior season.
It is a team that would seem to be on the verge of earning an NCAA invitation for this March, but it is a shame that this happening occurred in the final home game of the year so that Carey’s women can’t build a little bit on the momentum that came with the game.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.
This weekend past was one of mixed emotions.
5 memorable college hoops tourney buzzer beaters
It's March, which means the NCAA Tournament is just around the corner. But before March Madness takes hold, the conference tournaments, which get under way this week, often provide their own share of exciting finishes. Here are five memorable buzzer beaters from conference tournament play.
Fairmont Senior bullies Ritchie County to claim regional title: PHOTOS
While remnants of a winter storm remained outside of the Woody Williams Armory, No. 1 Fairmont Senior was on fire inside, beating Ritchie County, 69-31, for the Region I title.
It was business as usual for Fairmont Senior, which will advance to the state tournament beginning next Wednesday in Charleston.
North Marion tops Webster, 76-48
North Marion rebounded from a sectional championship loss to beat Webster County, 76-48, on the road Thursday night to punch its ticket to the state tournament.
The Lady Huskies, which had four of their five starters in double figures, used a team effort to get the win.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Huggins just wants WVU to compete
In the end, with Bob Huggins, they count victories and losses, and he has always been one to pile up the victories while keeping the losses to a minimum, at least until the last two seasons at West Virginia University.
And, in the end, when he tries to analyze why the losses have come rather than the victories, he comes to understand that he just doesn’t have the manpower to compete.
Cold-shooting Lady Falcons fall to State
In its biggest game of the season to date Fairmont State suffered its worst performance.
Fifth-seeded FSU shot a season-low 29.5 percent from the field (18-of-61), including a dismal 8-of-33 showing (24.2 percent) in the second half and as a result fell, 71-59, to fourth-seeded West Virginia State in the quarterfinals of the first Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament here Thursday night at the Charleston Civic Center.
Falcons hope for tournament run
Since day one, making another post-season run has been at the top of Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun’s mind.
Last season the Falcons went three-for-four in the WVIAC Tournament, falling to West Liberty in the tournament’s final game. The strong run, though, propelled the Falcons into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed.
Carey, Bussie headline Big 12 awards
To the victors go the spoils, and West Virginia University’s newly crowned Big 12 women’s basketball regular-season co-champions certainly took down their share of the conference’s post-season awards, headed by coach Mike Carey and senior center Asya Bussie.
FURFARI COLUMN: Women’s finale fitting as all-time Coliseum great
If you weren’t among the thrilled, extremely vocal 5,502 fans at the WVU Coliseum last Tuesday night, you missed one of the most memorable sports events in that 44-year-old arena’s history.
The No. 7 nationally ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team’s capture of the Big 12 Conference regular-season co-championship beating Kansas 67-60 on Senior Night was followed by a wild, wonderful celebration.
Local product enters Mount St. Mary’s Hall of Fame
Fairmont Senior graduate Heather Wable DeWees has been inducted into Mount St. Mary’s University Athletics Hall of Fame.
During her time on Mount St. Mary’s women’s basketball team, she was described as a “winner.”
Elliott, Delligatti share state championship win with their fathers
As human beings, we love to share special moments with those we are closest to.
For Ryan Elliott and Vincent Delligatti, that moment was winning the state championship, something they were both able to accomplish with their father as a coach on their wrestling team.
- More Sports Headlines
- 5 memorable college hoops tourney buzzer beaters