Sunday, April 1, 2012

Open practice in Denver

We spent most of yesterday afternoon watching the open practice sessions at the Pepsi Center along with about 1500 or 2000 other fans.

The four sessions were quite similar. The teams warmed up by walking, stretching, skipping, jogging and had various shooting drills. About the same as what they do before a game, but longer – an hour for each team.

Of the four teams, the Cardinal showed the most energy. They had, I assume, warmed up before coming on court, because they started right off with a lively half-court running/shooting drill. Contessa joined them in the arena, but never came off the bench. However, Tanya used The Pad in several drills, and Amy flourished a very large red plush popsicle-looking thing to simulate a Griner arm.

Everyone on the team spent a good part of the hour shooting from or beyond the arc. Hmmm ....

The UConn Huskies were also quite energetic. They ended their warmup with a sprint around the perimeter of the court, and later spent several minutes doing a full-court running/shooting drill. Geno spent most of the session schmoozing with various people, but did join his team on court for a while toward the end. At one point, the Huskies had fun trying to see how many ball they could pile in the basket.

Baylor was less energetic. Their warmups and drills looked quite leisurely. Kim Mulkey was present for the entire session. She spent most of the time observing from the sidelines. I don't know whether this is her usual practice or due to her illness. In addition to their shooting drills, the Lady Bears had a flopping drill. Brittney Griner practiced her dunking, to the delight of the large contingent of Baylor fans.

I saw only the last few minutes of the Notre Dame session, so don't know what they did. However, they ended their session with everyone, included Muffett McGraw, performing a lively Irish Jig.

Skylar Diggins launched a half-court shot as Notre Dame departed. It missed. Brittney Griner launched a half-court shot as Baylor departed. It missed. A half-dozen Huskies launched half-court shots as UConn departed. They all missed. The Cardinal gathered in a circle at center court, then turned and waved to the fans and departed.

Pat Summitt was present for half an hour. She watched the ongoing session, signed autographs and posed for photographs. espnW reports that she and Geno chatted for a few moments.

After the second session, the members of the WBCA Coaches All-America team were announced. Nneka and Chiney were two of the ten recipients (read more ... )

At the beginning of the Stanford session, it was announced that Nneka had won the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. (read more ... )

The Battle of the Bands took place after the practice sessions. The winner, based on fan applause, was Baylor. The Stanford band was much better, but there was a preponderance of Baylor fans. On to the game ...