Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Woe in Waco

by Wally Mersereau
To avoid the $7 access fee to watch video coverage of the Stanford game on the Baylor website and the nuisance of having to cancel the access subscription after the game, five astute Fast Break Club members made the journey to Waco to see the game in person and to provide booster support for the team. It’s always interesting to experience the flavor of a new locale and to observe opposing team fan behavior in its native habitat. An additional advantage was the opportunity to find out where Waco is, along with the challenge of figuring out how to get there (hint: the only direct flights in or out are to Dallas or Houston). Those making the trip were Dave and Marian Cortesi, Kellee Noonan, Doug Lee and me. Baylor claims to be the oldest university in Texas and the largest Baptist university in the U.S. On its largely red-brick campus are the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Texas Ranger Museum. The city of Waco began in 1849, early in Texas statehood. Waco is located half-way between Dallas-Fort Worth to the north and Austin to the south—about a 1 ½-hour drive from either direction. In addition to our contingent, there was good representation from the Clyburn and Ogwumike families (including Nneka's sister Chiney!) ... ... plus Jeanette's mother. But we clearly were in “Bear Country” as the sign outside Ferrell Center proclaimed. Our guesses at actual attendance ranged from 5,500 to 6,500 which were reasonably close to the official attendance of 7,136. The official attendance for last year’s Cal game at Baylor was 5,659, so Stanford should take pride in outdrawing Cal in Waco by about 1,500. Cal plays Baylor in Berkeley on December 22 which will provide a comparison of scores. The capacity of Ferrell Center is 10,284, and it’s a nice round arena with comfortable green seats. Before the game we agreed that Stanford would have to play better than it did against Minnesota and we were hopeful that it would. Unfortunately, that was not the case. We felt lucky at half-time that Baylor only led by one point, 36-35. 
It seemed that if Tara made some of her usual half-time adjustments that Stanford could improve and pull the game out. Kellee told me not to worry, and I passed on her confidence to Marian and Dave. About halfway through the ever-worsening second half, Marian asked if Kellee had said when we could stop worrying. With about 4 minutes remaining, Baylor started to use the full shot clock which resulted in Tara telling Lindy to foul intentionally which Lindy diligently did four times. Baylor made all 8 of the resulting free throws while Stanford remained relatively ineffective in scoring, leading to a depressing conclusion. When Nneka fouled out of the game, she left the court by heading over to give a pat on the back and a brief comment to Kim Mulkey who had tried hard to recruit her for Baylor. Kim needs no recruiting sympathy. A Baylor fan pointed out to us 2009 Baylor recruit Brittney Griner who was in attendance. Brittney is 6-7 and is the #1 rated 2009 prospect by ESPN, part of a highly rated 2009 class at Baylor. On Monday I attended the last two games of a 3-day women’s basketball tournament at the University of Texas in Austin. In the first game Dayton beat our St. Mary’s Gaels 68-62 after St. Mary’s led in each half by up to 12 points. In the second game #13 Texas defeated #25 Old Dominion 78-44. Brittainey Raven of Texas is an athletic player who scored the first 12 Texas points and had 20 total points. Attendance was about 4,000. The Texas-ODU score was reported on Austin radio and TV on Tuesday morning. Texas has a Fast Break Club whose members were wearing Texas-brown tee-shirts with each player’s number and name on the back in an artistic pattern. Life-size color group photos of this season’s Texas men’s and women’s teams are displayed in the arena. Before the game most of the Texas fans stood and gave the raised right arm Horn salute as the band played “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You”. Some gave the salute whenever a Texas player was at the free throw line. Gail Goestenkors, in her second season at Texas, gave the salute to the fans when she was introduced. Except for the outcome of the Stanford game, this was an interesting, educational and enjoyable trip.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it a NCAA violation to put pictures of a recruit on a website linked to a school's website? Isn't Chiney Ogwumike being recruited by Stanford?