Musketeers Gunned Down By Own Nerves
Taking down a giant is never easy, but that is what the Xavier women's basketball team was asked to do last night, and it almost worked. They probably even could feel good about it if it hadn't ended in such inglorious fashion.
The Connecticut women's basketball team is known widely as Goliath, and should be based on their 75-game winning streak. In that case, we could certainly consider Stanford to be Goliath Junior. The Cardinal is 60-3 since December 28, 2008, and two of those three losses are to the Huskies.
All that said, the Musketeers had to be thrilled to find themselves trading blows with Stanford for the duration of the game. Granted, they got a small boost from the refs. You can debate all you want, but I watched the replay of Cardinal star center Jayne Appel's fifth foul, and there was hardly any contact, let alone a foul. Besides, how does a player who has fouled out four times in her last 114 starts wind up on the bench without some dubious officiating?
Controversy aside, Xavier found themselves in sight of an unexpected Final Four trip - the score ted at 53-53, with possession of the ball and only 20 seconds left on the clock.
Then the unthinkable happened. Senior guard DeeDee Jernigan found herself wide open under the hoop for a layup - and missed. More stunningly, after an offensive rebound, Jernigan found herself right back under the hoop, even more wide open than the first time - and missed another layup.
Stanford rebounded the ball and called their last timeout. Perhaps still shell-shocked from what had transpired, Xavier let the Cardinal's Jeanette Pohlen go coast to coast for a buzzer-beating layup that ended their season.
Granted, those were the 5th and 6th layups Jernigan had missed in the second half, and had she and teammate Tyeasha Moss not combined to shoot 6-for-23 on the night, this moment might have been avoided. But it wasn't, and it will leave a sour taste in the mouths of the Musketeers players for quite some time.