Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tennessee at Virginia: Hot dog!

They gave away hot dogs at John Paul Jones Arena on Sunday. But what Virginia needed was some beef to match up against a tougher Tennessee Lady Vol team. The outcome was 77-63, and even though they didn’t play it, it was all Rocky Top.

It's so orange in here. Trouble is there’s Tennessee orange and Cavalier orange. Who’s who?

Virginia’s orange is the one that keeps missing shots. -- 4-of-16 so far. Not gonna get it done.
Hey, there’s a guy toting his free hot dog and Coke. Pepsi, actually.

Love the idea of that kind of promotion to get folks in the door. But as full as this place is, it’s awfully quiet. Oooh, Monica Wright just made some noise with a 3, cutting it to 21-15 …. make that 24-15. Stricklen's 3 quieted this hot dog-loving crowd.

It’s up to the Cavs to get ’em fired up. And I’ll bet this place will go nuts if they do. Look at all these people. Bet there’s way more than 11,000 in here.

Hey, about that promo during the timeout that had the winner get a free breakfast from Hardee’s. Wonder what the loser got.

Two free breakfasts from Hardees?

3-pointer by Bjorklund. If she heats up, we’ll never hear from this UVa. crowd. That is, unless they start shooting off T-shirts again.

Glory Johnson just made a nice move for the layup. Being an unabashed Tennessee rooter at times, I’ve always believed this kid named Glory, who hails from Knoxville, knew she was destined to end up under Summitt’s wing.

Summitt must have had a lot of guts to recruit that kid. Because as you know, no guts, no….

Don’t say it.

Virginia cut it to nine after a very Husky-like weave of passes that ended with a freshman hitting the layup.

Yeah, but that groan you heard from the crowd was because they just posted the Redskins score. No touchdown again? Wow.

Wonder if the Redskins could beat Groh’s Virginia.

Nice finish by the Cavs. It’s halftime and they’re only down 7. Maybe we’ve got a game after all. Hey, let’s go talk to the guy dressed like a hot dog.

2nd half

Can you believe it? One guy dressed like a hot dog in the building and we lose him.

He must be in line getting a burger.

Wright for 3 again. She’s torching this Tennessee zone. Can’t do it by herself, though.

She’s trying. Not even five minutes in, and she picked up her third foul with a charge.

You’re right about Wright. She’s jacking it up a lot now. And they’re not falling. Ryan’s about to give her a little blow to settle down. ‘Hoos down by 13. So what do you think about ‘em?

Right now Debbie Ryan should ask Summitt if she can borrow a tape of that crowd noise Tennessee piped into practice earlier this week. The Cavs could use a lift from this crowd. Credit Angie Bjorklund for being the silencer. As for Virginia, they remind me a lot of Tennessee a year ago. A collection of talent that hasn’t quite figured it out yet.

At least they’re playing hard. And I’m not sure the Lady Vols have it all figured out, either. Never seen ‘em play so much zone. And I think the Cavaliers could make ‘em pay for it if they’d try to break it down. Instead, they’re settling for jumpers and the shots aren’t falling. Not even Wright’s any more.

Still, the Cavs are within 10 with 11 minutes left. One good spurt could put them in position to steal this one.

Except the drought continues for Virginia. They could sure use one of those freebie Pepsis. Or better yet, say an uncontested layup. Tennessee up 62-48 at the eight-minute mark.

It’s so quiet in here you’d think it was a Virginia football game.

Are there any hot dogs left? They could give away seconds. The ‘dogs with a little help from the Vols brought in 11,895.

Nice gimmick. They ought to try it again, with one adjustment.

What’s that?

Next time, don’t invite Tennessee.

You’ve got our take. Here’s their take:

“They’re tough. Their guard play was a big challenge for us. I thought we did a good job of defending.” – Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt

Virginia’s young team full of highly touted recruits reminded Summitt of her own Lady Vol team a year ago. “I see a lot of similarities. There’s going to be growing pains.”

No more exile for the Lady Vols, who earned the right to return to their locker room in Knoxville. “We celebrated for about five minutes after she told us,” – Johnson

“When she got 35 last year, we were going to make sure that never happened again.” – Johnson on Monica Wright, who amassed 35 points a year ago when Virginia upset Tennessee in Thompson-Boling. Wright was held to 21 in this one on 8-of-21 shooting.

From Virginia:

Freshman point guard China Crosby played sparingly after suffering a tailbone injury last week. With Crosby limited, sophomore Ariana Moorer battled for 31 minutes and scored 12 points but hit just 4 of 17 shots and did not record an assist...Virginia pulled to within three at 42-39 early in the second half, but Angie Bjorklund’s four-point play and Taber Spani’s 3-pointer shot the Lady Vols back up by 10. Wright said the Cavaliers must do a better job of responding at critical “pressure points.” So thrilled was Ryan by the turnout that she grabbed a sideline microphone at game’s end and promised, “By the time we finish this season, we will be winning championships!”

Ryan had no complaints with the effort given out by the Cavaliers, particularly her first-year players. “That’s the hardest we’ve played all year,” she said. “I told them if this is the way you’re going to play, you’re going to beat a lot of people.”

“We have a scout team, but I don’t think they play as hard as Tennessee does. I’m going to get on them a little bit.” – Ryan

“I didn’t know what to expect. All I heard was all these stories about hot dog night 22 years ago.” – Wright……The original hot dog night was Feb. 5, 1986 against North Carolina at University Hall, which drew a standing-room crowd of 11,174. Before Sunday, the largest crowd to watch a Virginia women’s game in John Paul Jones Arena was 7,106 against Maryland on Feb. 11, 2007.

While many of the players were the same, Wright said this year’s Lady Vols team bore little resemblance to the group UVa. dispatched 83-82 in Knoxville a year ago. “A lot more physical, a lot more in synch. Yeah, overall they were just a lot more experienced and better.”

Wright cautioned against her young teammates letting their disappointment over Sunday’s result seep into future performances. “We can’t let Tennessee beat us twice."

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