Not a good night in San Antonio for the Lone Star State teams. I wrote about the UConn-Tennessee now-phantom rivalry for ESPN.com, a topic that will no doubt irritate some folks.
I’ve written about a million stories that don’t involve UConn or Tennessee over the last 13 seasons for ESPN.com … but some people still insist I don’t write about anything except the Huskies and the Vols. All I can say to that is it’s not my doing that those two programs have combined to win 14 NCAA titles in the last 22 years.
You write a lot about who wins a lot – and they’ve both won a lot.
That said, what about the Raiders, who fell 91-53 to Tennessee, and the Longhorns, who lost 83-58 to UConn? Both programs looked overmatched by their respective opponents.
As for Texas Tech, it’s a program that for many years was one of the elites but has crash-landed and will take a while to get rebuilt. Marsha Sharp left after the 2006 season, and Kristy Curry seemed a pretty good fit coming from Purdue. But Tech has lost its mojo, to say the least.
I think most Tech fans could have lived with the idea of losing some ground in recent years. Especially as new coaches/recruiters moved in to take over programs such as Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
But what’s driven Tech fans to real despair is the notion that they have lost a lot of ground – and that that process happened much more quickly than the process of getting it back will. Tech has such a great, loyal fan base for women’s basketball, but a lot of them never warmed to Curry and the disappointing results have cooled their enthusiasm for the program even more.
“We’ve got 10 freshman and sophomores,” Curry said. “And we’re trying to get the wheels back on the bus one wheel at a time.”
Which may not be the most comforting analogy, since the bus can’t really go anywhere until it has all its wheels.
It’s an overreaction to judge Tech based on a loss to a team like Tennessee. However, Tech did also lose an exhibition to Lubbock Christian of the NAIA. Sure, it was only an exhibition, and Lubbock Christian is a good team at its level. But Tech simply can’t lose games like that, even if they don’t officially “count.”
Meanwhile, I think Texas fans might have thought that Gail Goestenkors could bring a magic wand to Austin. This is Goestenkors’ third season, and her Longhorns showed a few instances of spark against the Huskies. But the process there also takes time.