Senior forward Candyce Bingham writes a weekly blog for Cardinal fans this season.
Mar. 18, 2009
Hi Cardinal fans, it's good to see you back again!
We finished up the regular season with a game at Marquette. This game came two days after the emotional Senior Day win over Pittsburg. We played Pitt on a Saturday afternoon and had practice Sunday morning around 10:30am. Our charter flight was around 2:30p.m. Once we landed we went straight to the hotel and when we arrived some people noticed that they didn't have their bags. How you lose bags on a charter flight is a mystery to me. They just forgot to unload part of the bus and put the bags on the plane. Someone had to drive the bags up that night and they ended up getting there bags the next day.
The game against Marquette was a very sloppy and scrappy game. It seemed like their players were every where on the court. We were struggling bringing the ball up the court and we were having a hard time scoring. This wasn't allowing us to set up our press and when we were able to set up our press they seemed to bring it every time. It became very frustrating. Our freshman Janae Howard stepped up big. She came off the bench and hit two big three's and also scored on a three point play. We were down double digits I think at one point but instead of burying them like we want to in the second half we squeaked out a huge win.
NEXT STOP....Hartford, Connecticut for the Big East Tournament. We were the second seed so we didn't have to play until the quarterfinals. Seton Hall and Georgetown played the first round game. Seton Hall won that game by 25, I think Georgetown won this regular season match up. In the second round Rutgers was set to face Seton Hall. We would take on the winner of this game. After our practice Saturday afternoon we went and watched the first half of the Rutgers/Seton Hall game. Rutgers won this game easily. No contest.
That set up a rematch from last year's quarterfinal game last year. Only difference is roles were switch, We were the two seed and Rutgers was the seven seed. We started the game down 10-1 and within the first couple minutes Coach Walz got a technical. After that in the next timeout he told us he was going to fight for us and that we need to fight for him. I think we did that. We had a four point lead going into halftime.
At one point in the second half I think we were up by 14. Rutgers slowly chipped away and ended up tying the game in regulation and we headed into overtime. It was back and forth throughout the entire overtime. We thought we had the game until Angel missed the end of two free throws and Rutgers raced down the floor and Rutgers made a tying lay up. We then headed into a second overtime. Rutgers best player fouled out at the end of the first ovetime. We didn't want what happened to them last year to happen to us. So at one point I hit a 3-pointer and then Angel stepped up to hit a three and we never trailed after that. Angel and Becky Burke hit clutch free throws to seal the game. This was the longest games of our lives. After the game we went to the hotel to eat, get in the pool to rejuvenate our bodies and then we had to fill our tubs up with water and ice to turn it into a cold tub.
In the semifinal game we were set for a rematch with Pitt. They are a top team and we knew that they would be ready to play us again and that they would put on a better performance then the 24 point win we had earlier. From the start, the game was close. It seemed as if we could never pull them away. We had a 10-point lead at the break but it seemed like it should have been more. We couldn't guard the 3- point line. It seemed like every time we would go on a run they would hit a big three. Towards the end of the game they took a one point lead. But we were able to get an offensive rebound and set up a play. We executed it beautifully and Angel made the basket and got fouled. She made the free throw and now it was time to come up with a big stop. I was able to steal the ball from the girl on the wing. From there on out they had to foul and we stepped up and made free throws.
After the game we had the same routine from the night before. We ate then to the pool and then fill up the tubs with ice.
We were set to take on UCONN in the championship game. This was a rematch of last year's championship game. I don't have much to say about this game. UCONN is a great team and is rightfully the top team in the country. Those of you that watched the game know what the end result was. If you didn't watch the game...We got beat. It was a tough loss but it was a little easier to deal with then a close loss. We are now 29-4 we will now have a week and a half to rest and prepare for the NCAA tourney. Again our season isn't over we will learn from these games and get ready for NCAA.
We had a selection show party on Monday and found out we were the third seed heading to Baton Rouge. It wasn't the seed we were expecting or the place we wanted to play but we have to put that behind us and go out and play games now. We play Liberty in the first round and they will be a tough opponent. We are taking it one game at a time, no looking ahead.
Hope to see you there and Go Cards!