And so it continues: Back "To Work".
SOMEWHERE IN CONNECTICUT: It’s all starting to blur, this early spring sports gig that usually wraps up right after the high school championship games at Mohegan Sun.
We, of course, had a champion, it’s become tradition for the Thomaston Golden Bears to make an overnight stay in the Uncasville area and for the past two seasons, take home the biggest prize of all, the Class S trophy.
Eight great games in two days at the place they call “The Sun." We have become regulars, us folks from the Northwest Corner. Used to be the only way we ended up in Uncasville was if we felt like seeing a show or throwing away our $20.00 allotment of gambling funding.
After the Bears got out of Mohegan with a 52-50 win over their neighbors from the Northeast, it was time for the second part of my multi-facility tour of writing duty, this time up in Storrs for the opening round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament that matched the UConn women versus St. Francis of Brooklyn.
The Terriers, who got the unfortunate privilege of facing the defending champions in the first round, brought with them a player who was rooting hard that morning for her former team, who were playing against Thomaston in the 10 a.m. game.
Sarah Benedetti led her team with 13 points in a game she had dreamed of playing in since her playing days at Canton High School.
UConn would run away with the game, as expected, by an 89-33 final, but to their credit, the team from the tough streets of Brooklyn did not run away from the challenge even though they were clearly outmatched by the Huskies.
Head coach Geno Auriemma complimented the Warriors effort afterwards, telling the media that they ran what they wanted to and didn’t back down.
It’s all you ask of an opponent in the Warriors situation, play your hardest and don’t lose the game before you take the floor.
UConn is in action Monday night in a Second Round NCAA game against old Big East opponent Rutgers, which won their first round game in a struggle against Seton Hall on Saturday night in the early game at Gampel. The home team had the privilege of playing at 9:00 p.m., make that 9:18 p.m.
The starting times for these games has been a serious bone of contention for the head coach, who understands it’s the television market that is driving this, not what might be best for the fans.
Think about it. Who is bringing their kids to a 9:00 p.m. game on a Monday night with school the next morning?
Not many. On Saturday night with school break on in Storrs, it was a very light crowd on hand and it felt and sounded like it.
The Warriors brought with them a loud and excited fan base that allowed them to enjoy anything and everything they did right.
Blowouts do have a plus side though. Not a whole bunch of late game strategy time outs so time does go by fast.
So after interviews wrapped up with the two teams, it was time to make haste back to the fine Residence Inn I had booked the day before in Manchester thinking it might not be the best idea to try driving two hours back to Torrington after a 17-plus-hour day that was played with a pretty lousy head cold.
I used to do the crazy, let’s get two hours of sleep deal during my days at Frito Lay when we first started the business, but let’s face it: I’m not getting any younger and these kind of days hurt a bunch more than they used to.
Me wrapped around a tree is not something that will ever be part of my resume. Better to be safe than sorry.
So tonight is all about getting to the next round for the Huskies, not that they are real worried, but you have to beat the team that is put in front of you and in this case it’s the Scarlet Knights and C. Vivian Stringer, an old foe from the good old days of the Big East.
Rutgers comes in with a 22-9 record (12-6 in the Big Ten) after getting by the Pirates by a 79-66 final on Saturday night.
Well, have to go, it’s time to “Go to Work” at Gampel Pavilion, not a bad place to work.