Biggest loser: women’s tournament
Well, now seems as good a time as any to point out that most of us were right after all. The NCAA women’s committee should have placed Oklahoma State in the Oklahoma City Regional.
The Cowgirls won, albeit close, in Des Moines, while the Sooners lost, albeit close, in West Lafayette, and now the Ford Center will not roar next week with women’s basketball.
Which makes the committee the biggest loser. Not the All Sports Association. Not the Sooners themselves. Women’s basketball in general and the committee in particular. It had a double chance to insure huge crowds at the Ford Center and declined, for no good reason.
Anyone with a clue knew Oklahoma State was likely to win two games in Des Moines and Oklahoma was likely to not. Turns out both verdicts played out, but in very tight manner, which is a credit to the Sooners breaking out of a slump and Florida State turning into a very good 11-seed.
But OSU clearly was the team most likely to get to the regional semifinals, yet the committee declined to play along, and now Oklahoma City must stand on its own, without home-team help, as a women’s basketball mecca.
It won’t happen, of course. The sport is not national enough yet, and the committee itself admits such, the way it hands over homecourt regionals and is doing even more of that next season. Tennessee-Notre Dame and Texas A&M-Duke are decent enough matchups, but if the Ford Center can fill the lower bowl, draw 8,000, 9,000, then Oklahoma City should be a runaway success.
The All Sports Association is a loser in all this, since it took the financial gamble to bring the regional to town. It assumed, like we all did, that OU would reach at least the Sweet 16. Wrong. The slumping Sooners actually played much better in West Lafayette and easily could have won. No way OU would have stayed with Tennessee, but it would have been to see the atmosphere of Candace Parker vs. Courtney Paris and Sherri Coale vs. Pat Summitt.
It also would have been fun to see Little Miss Magic and the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in the Ford Center. The blooming of a sports frenzy always is fun to be around. Who knows where this OSU women’s basketball thing is going, but we know where it’s been and how far it’s come, and we know something special is happening. A Ford Center appearance, with a chance at victory since these Cowgirls, unlike the Sooners, didn’t wilt late in the year, would have ignited even more buzz.
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