Monday, April 5, 2010
Why the 'Canes WNIT Run Matters
The Hurricanes disdain runner-up trophies.
At least that's how the story goes over the years. A College World Series runner-up trophy held a door open for Jim Morris' interview at UM before being hired back in 1994. A Fiesta Bowl runner-up trophy held a door open in the SID office back in 2003.
Don't tell it to Charmaine Clark, who was holding the WNIT runner-up trophy like a teddy bear while touring San Francisco after Saturday's 73-61 loss to the University of California in the WNIT Championship Game.
Even the 1991-92 team, the greatest team in Miami Women's Basketball history, who bookended the season with losses around 30 straight wins, didn't win five straight in the postseason.
The 'Canes made their run after losing 6 of 7 games at the end of the season, including a "one and done" appearance at the ACC Conference Tournament. This team could have called it a season in the WNIT opener against Florida Gulf Coast, a team with a 24-7 record. Instead they took down the Eagles, then the Gators, Aggies, Friars, and Wolverines.
By the time they arrived in Berekely, they were gassed, having spent time in Chicago awaiting their final destination, then having to travel west and play in about 24 hours time. They shot 13% (2 of 15) from the floor to open the game.
The Hurricanes return with all but two players from this year's team, and with the experience of having played in do or die games and championship pressure and disappointment. This runner-up trophy is a stepping stone instead of a door-stop.