There is no doubt that losing both games on this road trip is indeed a downer. As we left Thompson-Boling Arena, the Halfs and I voted on which loss was the most painful. Cherie and I voted for DePaul, Fred abstained. My reasoning was that the DePaul loss was more unexpected, especially by such a margin--a really major upset--a shocker, with DePaul out-playing Stanford from start to finish. I was numb after the DePaul game, but only disappointed after the Tennessee loss.
Tennessee is always tough, especially at home. The program showed that the cumulative results over the years before this game was Tennessee with 21 wins to Stanford's 6. In tonight's game, Stanford was down by 14 at one point in the first half, made up the half-time deficit of 8 points with about 9 minutes to go in the game and hung in there for the 70-70 tie in regulation. That was a very nice comeback. But the overtime was all Tennessee, out-scoring Stanford 12-2. Jeanette fouling out when the score was still 70-70 pretty much ended any hope, especially with Tennessee into the free-throw bonus.
Tennessee lost its last game to Baylor (having previously lost to Georgetown) and was admitting in the press that it didn't yet have its team well organized. Pat Summitt was reported to have forcefully displayed her unhappiness with her team and this may have had some effect. I didn't notice any lack of organization by the Lady Vols tonight.
There were about 60 or so Stanford fans in attendance among the thousands and thousands of orange-clad Volunteer rooters. Stanford tried to change its luck by switching to red uniforms from the black worn at DePaul. I thought we had been told that only one color of uniforms were taken on road trips, so this might have been a first from an attire standpoint.
Apart from the game, there were two unusual features: the Star Spangled Banner was sung by a Nashville pro who produced the twangiest version of our anthem that I've ever heard. And the half-time entertainment was provided by a talking parrot on a perch. I haven't seen that before.
It would have been sweet if Tara could have obtained her 800th win by beating Pat Summitt. It looked possible for about four minutes in the second half. But it was not to be. If the team learns from these losses, happier days may lie ahead. At least the Xavier and UConn games will be at Maples.