By Drew HillSpecial to The Tuscaloosa News
It took 42 tries for Alabama women s basketball to finally end Tennessee s win-streak over the Crimson Tide, but in 2016 it finally happened. Thursday night at Coleman Coliseum, a new streak began. Two games is a long way away from 42 consecutive it s a 32-year difference but there was the smell of an upset all the way through Alabama s 65-57 victory over Tennessee, becoming just the fourth win over the Lady Vols in program history.
I loved our focus and our energy tonight, Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. When we do that consistently for four quarters, we give ourselves a chance. Alabama beat Tennessee at its own game. The Lady Vols entered Thursday ranked No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding, but that didn t show. The Crimson Tide pieced together a 29-16 advantage on the glass after 20 minutes, and 53-38 advantage over the course of the entire game. Fourteen second-chance on 22 offensive rebounds proved to be enough to cover Alabama s 35 percent field goal percentage.
The coaches kept telling us to go to the (glass), and that s what I did, Alabama guard Coco Knight said. As a team we had 22, and I think that s the highest we ve had in a while.
It all fell into place for UA. The Crimson Tide even excelled in its biggest weakness since conference play began, ball security. Ten turnovers is Alabama s fewest amount since a Jan. 8 win against Missouri, and no Alabama player turned the ball over more than twice.
All week we ve been working on (turnovers), Alabama guard Hannah Cook said. Ball security and less than 13 turnovers, I know we ve been a little bumpy on that, but we did very well today. We only had four at half. I m just really proud of this team. For Tennessee, a rough start turned into a nightmare when its leading scorer and junior leader, Diamond DeShields, went down with an injury midway through the first quarter. DeShields, who is averaging 18 points per game this season, was taken off on a stretcher after a collision while diving for a loose ball. She was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. Knight led Alabama, scoring a career-high 18 points, while Cook was right behind, chipping in 16.
UA s second benchmark victory over Tennessee was needed. The win ends a five-game losing skid, and after Vanderbilt s loss to South Carolina, Alabama now cannot finish last in the conference. Curry s last two teams are now the only in Crimson Tide history to defeat Tennessee in back-to-back seasons. Without a senior on the roster, the Crimson Tide will return the same core to go for a third-straight win over the SEC s winningest program.
We just have so much respect their program, and every game in this league is just as important, Curry said. I told them, ‘We’ll enjoy it until midnight and then the next game is all that matters.'”
Snowflakes, raindrops and sticky confetti aren’t dampening the mood at Boston’s Super Bowl parade for the New England Patriots
Snowflakes, raindrops and sticky confetti aren’t dampening the mood at Boston’s Super Bowl parade for the New England Patriots
Former McKinley coach Thom McDaniels had a great view of his son’s fifth Super Bowl victory.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels may be a 40-year-old man with five Super Bowl rings, but one thing hasn t changed since he was a 6-year-old playing T-ball: He still looks into the crowd to find his parents.
He absolutely has to know where we re sitting, said Thom McDaniels, who coached his son from 1992-94 while at McKinley High School. He wants to make eye contact. So, when Josh walked onto the field for warmups before the start of Super Bowl LI on Sunday, the first thing he did was look into the stands.
He doesn t know that I m looking for him as much as he s looking for me, Thom said. And there are moments during the game, whether it s a long TV timeout or some other break, when his eyes may peek up again and I ll raise my hand or raise my thumb.
And that s the thing that parents may forget whether they re 6 years old or 40, they want to know you re there. On Sunday, Thom wasn t hard to find, sitting with his wife Christine, sons Ben and Jason, daughter-in-law Laura and four grandchildren near the 45-yard line, about 20 rows up. It was Josh s seventh Super Bowl with the Patriots he started as a personnel assistant in 2002 and is in his second stint as offensive coordinator and Thom s seats keep improving.
When we first went when he was a young guy, we were probably in the 500 deck, Thom said. We ve worked our way down, relative to his title and his financial situation. We ve been in the corner, the end zone and probably every level through the years, but we keep working our way closer to the field.
Those (on Sunday) were among the best seats we ever had. But he wants us even closer.
Thom wasn t just watching the game as a father, though. Josh s 12-year-old son, Jack, was sitting next to him during the game and was in full despair in the second quarter.
I was trying to comfort him, Thom said. I said, We ve already learned that as long as there is time left on the clock and our guys are playing hard, there s still a chance.”
Then, late in the fourth quarter when the Patriots had all the momentum, Thom turned to him and said, Now, I m just going to tell you something. Even if we don t get what we want, there s been some real important lessons here.
And he said, Yeah, grampy, I get it, Thom said. I wanted to prepare him for both outcomes. Fortunately, we got the outcome we wanted. It was spectacular. Once the game ended, Thom ran into a problem. The family had five field passes, one for Josh’s wife and four kids. When they reached the security guard manning the field entrance, Thom said he felt like a passenger on the Titanic, the sixth person in line for a lifeboat that had only seats five.
“I’m saying, You go, I ll be OK, but inside I m screaming because I want to go,” he said. “Undeterred, I found a way to get on the field. NFL security would probably be furious, but I was able to get it done. But I missed the presentation and I missed seeing him on the field. I was like (former North Carolina State coach) Jim Valvano, looking for someone to hug. Head coaching on hold
Before New England s first playoff game, Josh interviewed with three NFL teams who needed head coaches: the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars. He was a finalist with the 49ers before taking himself out of the running. San Francisco ultimately hired Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
That would have been a major move, from one coast to another and a very different culture, Thom said of Josh, who went 11-17 as the Denver Broncos head coach in 2009-10. He s at the point where he would love to be a head coach again, but he s not desperate to become a head coach again. He has leverage in that he has a great job with a great organization with a great coach who lets him coach the offense. If he takes a job in the remaining years, it s going to be because every single factor in the decision process fell in line.
Part of that is practical outside of Bill Belichick, NFL coaches don t have a lot of job security and part of that is family-related. Josh s four kids range in age from 4-12.
The older kids, it (moving) would have been tougher on them, Thom said. But they would manage. Kids are resilient. But that s part of the things that you factor in (when looking at jobs), among other things. NFL aspirations? Thom spent 26 years as a high school football head coach, winning a state and USA Today national title in 1997, but said he doesn t ask What if? when it comes to coaching in the NFL, even though he has two sons coaching in the league. (Ben McDaniels was the offensive quality control coach for the Chicago Bears last season and has also been an assistant with the Broncos and Buccaneers.)
I think I coached high school football at the highest level you could coach in the country, said Thom, who also coached Warren Harding to a state runner-up finish in 2002. I coached at at least two places where they played the best football you can play in this country. I wouldn t have been afraid to play anybody at those places.
They re just doing the same thing I did, at a different level.
Besides, Thom said, being a high school coach gave him a chance to spend time with his sons. Both Josh and Ben played quarterback for him.
They remember their dad being gone a lot, just as he (Jackson) will remember his dad being gone a lot, but the difference is my sons got to come with me to practice at age 4, he said. They could behave and not get hurt. It s not that easy to have kids when you re an NFL guy because every one of those guys (coaches) has kids. All the players have kids. So, I don t regret it. Still the one
Upon further review, Louisville is still the biggest school in the Northeastern Buckeye Conference. After releasing the latest enrollment figures on Monday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association released corrected figures on Friday after discovering an error in the data received from the Ohio Department of Education.
According to the original figures, Louisville dropped to the third-biggest school by boys enrollment in the Northeastern Buckeye Conference. (Boys enrollment is the key number, since league decisions almost always come down to football.)
Based on the new figures, the Leopards are still the biggest in the NBC with 337 boys in grades 9-11 as of Oct. 31, 2016. Alliance is second at 333, followed by Marlington (321), Carrollton (261), West Branch (252), Salem (237), Canton South (236) and Minerva (234)
Lake is the smallest Federal League school with 442 boys, while McKinley is the biggest at 927, followed by Jackson (761), GlenOak (724), Perry (611), Hoover (591), Green (506). Louisville rescinded its interest in applying to the Federal League on Wednesday after athletic director John Twinem and principal Ken Faye supported the move a week earlier. Although the Federal League has said it s not looking to expand, I m 99 percent certain it would take the Leopards. That may have led to Wednesday s decision. There are plenty of people at Louisville who don t want to join the Federal League and the Leopards don t want to join just to avoid being independent, only to decide within a year or two that they want out.
Of course, there s an obvious reason why the Leopards can t find a better league option: They re already in the right league, at least until the NBC disbands following the 2017-18 season. Unpredictable HOF class
Turns out, this year s Pro Football Hall of Fame class was literally unpredictable. Last month, the Hall introduced a new contest called “Predict the Class” on its website. More than 1,000 fans participated, attempting to pick a class that could have as few as four and as many as eight honorees.
No one got it right. Considering there were 18 finalists (if you count the two contributor nominees and the senior nominee), and considering how many surprises there were in this year s class, I would have been stunned if anyone had won.
It s not easy, said George Veras, the Hall s chief operating officer. It s a great challenge, like (picking) the NCAA brackets. Veras called this year s contest a great beta test and said the Hall will make it bigger and better next year. This year s prize was $5,000 in cash, along with two club seats to the enshrinement ceremony, the Hall of Fame game and the Concert for Legends, as well as airfare for two from a major airport and a four-night hotel stay.
I thought there would be an eight-member class, with LaDainian Tomlinson, Kurt Warner, Terrell Davis, Terrell Owens and Don Coryell as modern-era candidates, along with contributor candidates Paul Tagliabue and Jerry Jones and senior candidate Kenny Easley. The actual class was Tomlinson, Warner, Davis, Jones, Easley, Morten Andersen and Jason Taylor. Around the NBA
Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (GlenOak) put on a show against the Mavericks on Tuesday, scoring Portland’s last seven points in the final 34 seconds of a 114-113 victory. That included the game-winning floater in the lane with 0.3 seconds left. It was Portland’s only win in three games this week. The Trail Blazers (23-31) are ninth in the Western Conference, 1 1/2 games behind Denver. … The website Basketball Insiders reported this week that there is a “growing sense” that the Kings could trade center Kosta Koufos (GlenOak) before the Feb. 23 trading deadline. Koufos is averaging 6.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season for Sacramento (22-32), which have won three of four and are 2 1/2 games behind the Nuggets for the final playoff spot.
Ex-Indian Lewis to speak at luncheon club
Former Cleveland Indians pitcher Jensen Lewis will speak at Monday s Hall of Fame Luncheon Club meeting at Tozzi s on 12th.
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