Friday, December 18, 2009

W&M-Norfolk State: Bet you didn't know

25 random things about William and Mary’s 80-52 victory over Norfolk State on Friday night.

1. The Tribe won this matchup by 60 a year ago, so for NSU, the outcome represented progress.

2. As expected, the final score reflected two distinct realities - William and Mary big, Norfolk State small. The Tribe’s 52-38 rebounding advantage only hints at the discrepancy; it looked much greater in person.

3. The undersized Spartans battled gamely throughout, and NSU coach Debra Clark smiles at this observation.

4. It’s a bit of a forced smile. “I want to win,” Clark said regarding her Spartans, who should win their share of games in the MEAC this season.

5. Where was everybody? (I know, out Christmas shopping). Only 235 turned out at Echols Arena. Not counting us.

6. William and Mary senior guard Kelly Heath led all scorers with 16 points.

7. Aesthetically, the game was - how can we put this gently - brutally ugly. The teams combined for 48 turnovers and seemingly twice as many missed layups. “It was like Ringling Bros. out there,” Tribe coach Debbie Taylor said. And her team won.

8. Long, lean Tiffany Benson chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds as she continues to work her way out of Taylor’s doghouse.

9. Speaking of Long, Spartan sophomore Whitney Long managed just four points, three nights after she destroyed Savannah State with a career-high 30. Long did rack up six assists.

10. Usually when a coach shrieks, “Are you serious?” she’s talking to the official. Taylor was talking to the Tribe during a timeout. It was William and Mary's first game in two weeks.

11. Thanks to no media timeouts (what are we, chopped liver?), the teams sped through the game in just over 90 minutes.

12. Why don’t more teams have 50-50 raffles? NSU had one Friday and the winner pocketed .... $35.

13. Oh, so that’s why.

14. Spotted in the stands: ODU coach Wendy Larry, no doubt scouting for her pair of upcoming matchups with William and Mary.

15. Halftime score 30-19 W&M. A year ago, 46-14, W&M.

16. The Spartans were 0 for 5 from 3-point range and are a dismal 4 of 42 from beyond the arc over their last five games. Conclusion - shooting from distance is not an NSU strength.

17. Speaking of 3s, why did the Tribe’s Robyn Barton jack one up at the buzzer with her team already ahead by 25?

18. We’ve been known to pick on Benson’s poor free-throw shooting, but she’s not the only one. The teams combined to miss 20 from the stripe.

19. No cheerleaders. No band. But a small and occasionally festive group of kids from the Boys and Girls Club was a nice touch.

20. You know what they should do with this gym? Get some partitions to seal off the upper decks. Now you’re playing in about a 3,000-seat, field house-style pit. It would give NSU a real home court advantage. Would look a lot better, too.

21. Play of the night: Benson blocks the shot and sprints up court for the transition basket. That block, by the way, lifted Benson into second place in the CAA for blocked shots (surpassing ODU's Nyree Roberts).

22. Look -- the ball’s wedged between the backboard and the rim. I love when this happens in women’s basketball, 'cause no one’s has enough hops to get it down.

23.Not that we’re full of ourselves, but our predicted score for this game was 73-53. Next stop: Vegas.

24. Tribe heads for Gainsville, Fla., in the morning for a Sunday game against High Point.

25. Spartans off until the day after Christmas when they prepare for McNeese State.

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