40 Minutes to the Big 2-0
March 6, 2010
40 Minutes to the Big 2-0
As I sit here in Chicago, looking out my apartment window, praying that the 35 degree weather will hold out for the weekend, I am finding it hard to believe that the regular season for Hoya hoops will come to a close tomorrow, as our boys take on the Cincy Bearcats at home.
(Gotta give some props to the Lady Hoyas, who finished their regular season with a phenomenal 25 – 5 record, are currently holding the #12 position in the nation, and also have the Big East Freshman of the Year in Ta’ Shauna “Sugar” Rodgers.)
So what would a victory tomorrow really mean for the Hoyas? Sure, it would be nice to have that final regular season win at home, in front of a sea of blue and gray shirts and some very proud past, present, and future Hoyas. And a win tomorrow would also be enjoyable because it wouldn’t involve us saying a tearful goodbye to any seniors (hard to believe right?!) Oh and of course coming out on top would be a nice pick-me-up from a tough trip to West Virginia where, despite a strong second half effort, we just couldn’t pull it off.
More importantly, however, I realized –and I should have known this earlier since I have been marking the W’s and L’s on a daily basis –that a win tomorrow would be…(drum-roll please)…the big 2-0. Twenty wins. Twenty games where we outshined the competition and caused them to have to admit, they lost to the Hoyas. For me, a season with twenty victories felt different than those during which, unfortunately, my team and I fell a little short. I remember my sophomore year in high school (yes I am going to take you down memory lane…deal with it) and we achieved the big 2-0 against one of our arch-rivals, the Quakers of Sidwell Friends, who were ranked #1 in our league at the time. Their star player was senior point-guard Ivy Gardner, who ended up playing for two years at N.C. State until she lost her love of the game and decided, surprisingly, to end her career.
(As a side note, for anyone who might be wondering, a year earlier her teammate was 6’2’’ Cheryl Weaver, who now plays on the USA Olympic Woman’s Volleyball team. I, at 5’10’’ (maybe), had the distinct pleasure of guarding Cheryl, and boy was it fun. Let’s just say I had “Spalding” imprinted across my forehead on more than one occasion that season.)
Still, even though they ended up beating us in the championship game less than 2 weeks later, getting number twenty against the Quakers was like winning the NCAA championship. But the win really could have been against anyone…because, I’m saying it again, it was the big 2-0! So, getting back to our Hoyas, I was trying to remember some other big twentieth win games in the recent past…and I of course remembered my mom’s favorite, Jonathan Wallace, and the “favorable call” 70 feet from the basket. I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was actually February 11th, 2008. With one-tenth of a second left in the ball game, Wallace came up with the loose ball in a mad scramble after Scottie Reynolds turned the ball over in traffic while Villanova was holding for the last shot. Wallace started to dribble and was slightly bumped by Stokes, who became the fourth player to foul out in a game that was marred by 48 fouls. Like the champ that he always was, Wallace sank both free throws to give the #8 Hoyas a 55-53 victory, which was the first home victory over the Wildcats in over a decade.
Those of you who were at Verizon that evening may also remember that Reynolds, who led Nova with 24 points (he was pretty good back then too), had the running layup that tied the game at 53 with 1:05 to play…and after Freeman, a freshman at the time, missed a three pointer, the Wildcats set up for the final shot, which they got in Scottie driving the baseline…and losing the ball J. No call was made despite the fact that he appeared to be “bumped”.
In any event, hopefully tomorrow’s match-up against the Bearcats won’t be as much of a nail-biter. But, however it happens, let’s hope the end result gives us the momentum we need going up to Madison Square Garden. Let’s hope it is the big 2-0.
Signing off from Chi-town,
Proud Member of Generation Wallace