With the quick exit of the women’s basketball team from the tournament this year, it may be hard for the average Ram fan to put everything into perspective and make sense of it all. Lucky for you, that is exactly why they pay me the big money. So without dwelling on too much of the negative or bringing up the whole chemical bomb thing (which has been beaten to death with a stick), here are the most important happenings from the 2006-2007 women’s basketball season.
Best Game of the Year:
Jan. 25: a home loss to Wyoming. In a 78-66 overtime thriller that came down to a sheer lack of players, the Cowboys stole a win from the Rams in the best women’s basketball game I have ever seen (note: this is coming from a decidedly limited sample). The Border War lived up to its name and more in this one, with the lead changing six times and the Rams forcing a turnover on D in the last 15 seconds to send it to overtime.
Player of the Year:
Sara Hunter, no question. Just run down the resume: The junior guard was named to the All-Mountain West third team while playing for the ninth-best team in the league, she finished the season four points shy of cracking the top 20 in scoring in school history, she is just the third player in school history to hit 50 or more threes in back-to-back seasons, and she had the most minutes of anyone on the team by far (with an average of 38 per game).
With Jeter-esque intangibles and an ability to take over crucial moments in the game, she will give the Rams a big boost in her senior season next year. To channel Jim Boeheim: “Without Sara Hunter we wouldn’t have won five games this year, not five (expletive) games.”
Funniest Season Subplot:
The Rams have had 175 consecutive home games with at least 1,000 attendees, one of the longest streaks in the Mountain West. Riiiiiiiiight. Now, take this from one of the 40 people who regularly went to games – there is no way that we cracked 1,000 at every home game in the back half of the season. Taking unofficial counts of our own from the reporters’ table (highly suspect numbers, but it gives you a sense) we would regularly struggle to come up with more than 500. Now, I’m not saying they cook the books, I’m just saying we just shouldn’t hire the attendance checker who has quadruple-vision and a spastic clicker finger.
Reason to Come Next Year:
The Rams only lose two players to graduation, so the team will be, theoretically, one year better next year. All of the freshmen who struggled early on this year and had to grow up fast are going to be highly experienced sophomores.
Does this translate into wins? It depends on their work ethic this off-season. If they don’t stick with it this summer they are going to revert back to committing the same freshman mistakes they made all year. If they pick up where they left off (ignoring the choke job in the tournament) then there is a chance that they may just crawl out of the cellar next year. Sixth or seventh place, here we come!
All in all, it was a pretty rough season for the Rams. For the most part, feel fortunate that you missed it. However, as it always turns out in sports, a disappointing season can only lead to hope. And, of course, gross over-usage of the age-old mantra: “There’s always next year.” See you there, Ram fans!
Staff writer Nick Hubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.