Monday, April 30, 2007

The game of the year....for sure.

So here we are in of all places....CLEVELAND OHIO....the Rock and Roll Hall of Flame and we are ready for the final four Women's Basketball games.

As the team left the hotel they were quiet and doing their normal things, ipods, text messaging.....talking with each others and so on and very relaxed.

The locker room was also relaxed as the Lady Vols were ready for the biggest game of the year....The Tar Heels. In the past two game, after reaching a 20 point lead the Lady Vols were working on this breaks and man to man defense. The key word in all of this was on the claukboard.........JUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF...BELIEVE IN YOUR TEAMMATES.

The UT fans were out in force as more then 6,000 of them had traveled to Cleveland to watch this game unfold...and we were LOUD to say the least.

By now, most of you know the sad story of University of North Carolina mascot Jason Ray, who died three days after being struck by an SUV in northern New Jersey. The UT cheerleaders wore hand bans printed with JR in honor of Jason along with a moment of silence before the game started.

The key to the game was the Shanna and Ivory matchup. Shanna spent the whole game in Ivory's face. Playing a tight man to man, with about 12 minutes into the game Shanna went to steal the ball from Ivory near half court. She was fouled and the two ended up in a pile near the sideline. As Shanna got up she backed away with her arms in the air, and you could read her lips.....OK, Let's just play ball, OK? Ivory on the other hand used her elbow to push Shanna away and was in her face. The refs called a timeout and went to both benches to talk with the coach. Ivory was ticked off...just like when you get into a trade and after losing 4 or 5 in a row you get bent out of shape, lose your focus and start doing things you never would any other time....IVORY was bent out of shape BIG TIME.

This was in my opinion the turning point in a close game. Ivory was out of focus, worried about fouling with a warming from the refs.....Shanna was then able to drive the ball into the paint......

More then one time the refs warned the UNC players about their conduct while the Lady Vols stayed ture and focused and didn't allow them to get inside "their" head.

During the free throws the coached talked to Shanna and made on how to keep Ivory off her game.

Half way thru the second half UNC went on a hot streak and the Lady Vols found themselves down by 12. But after a timeout, and a few words from the coach....about this is your time to step up and show the world just what the Lady Vols are all about. This is your time to enter into history.....take it...take it now.

The Lady Vols did fight their way back to even with 4 minutes to play...and now every mistake would matter, every move, every shot, everything was now important and the both teams knew it.

The girls had worked for a entire year, off season they came back to pratice, to study the game and it was all down to 3 minute when the lead shifted to the Lady Vols.

UNC was out of step, had again lost their edge when Ivory became a non-factor late in the game and Candice started to put on her show......

If you double or tripled up on Candice that left Alexis to do her thing...if you doubled up on Alexis, then Nikki was there to jam it.....

But in the end, the Lady Vols won.........the crowd was nuts, the players, coaches, assistants were jumping for joy. BUT, in the end this picture says alot to have to you believe in what you are doing?

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