The Frenzied Forebarer

It's amazing how chaotic late February can be in the world of college hoops. There's usually a lot to discuss on and off the court, and this time around's no different. My head's been spinning with the box scores and headlines that have flown through these last couple of weeks, for both the men's and women's game. Here are some of my quick thoughts.

What's in a Number?

Okay. Will the real women's collegiate points leader please stand up? Iowa star Caitlin Clark made history on February 15th, surpassing Kelsey Plum to become the all-time leader in women's college basketball scoring. At least, that's what some folks said. Truth is, Clark (currently at 3,617 points) earned the title of all-time champ for NCAA Division women's basketball. The folks in Indianapolis (and Kansas City before that) have never recognized the scoring records from the old AIAW, the original organization for women's sports. Now that Clark is filling up the bucket at an historic pace, some of the trailblazers are getting their due.

During the history of the AIAW, Kansas' Lynette Woodard dazzled fans to the tune of 3,649 tallies on various scoreboards. Now, Woodard is getting a deserved day in the sun (45 years later). But Woodard couldn't hold a candle to the top of the NAIA mountain.

In the late '80s, Miriam Walker-Samuels lifted up Claflin University (formerly NAIA, now NCAA D-II) with her career mark of 3,855 points. She was the standard bearer for that division of hoops ... until last weekend. Grace Beyer from the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy scored 32 to currently sit at 3,874 points over her four years there. Beyer continues her quest as the NAIA postseason starts this coming weekend. Time is ticking on her career, but she's starting to get some press, as well.

Every women's player, however is chasing the legend that is Pearl Moore. Going back to the AIAW, Moore starred at Francis Marion, now a NCAA D-II school (if the college sounds familiar, senior Lauryn Taylor made NCAA history by grabbing 44 rebounds in a game ... on the same night Clark passed Plum). Over her career at the South Carolina-based college, Moore was a scoring machine. Along with the 177 points she earned in a brief, eight-game, Junior College stint, the guard tallied 4,061 between her high school and professional days. It's a record that's hard to be beaten, unless Clark decides to take her extra year of eligibility in Iowa City.

One thing's for certain. No matter how high up on the true point ladder Clark goes, she'd probably be fine with the end result for both Woodard and Moore. Both AIAW titans use the title Basketball Hall of Fame member with their names.

The Tradition of the Mosh Pit Storm

Everyone and their mama has a take on whether court-storming is getting out of hand. I'm sure you know by now that Duke's Kyle Filipkowski injured his knee when a Wake Forest fan ran into him this past weekend. The Demon Deacons had just upset the Blue Devils, giving them a big boost in NCAA selection criteria. Then, it was time for the students to bee-line it to center court and act as if Metallica started rockin' out with the school band as backup.

The reaction to the incident has been quite declarative. Boomers are telling the kids to stay off the playing surfaace. Youngsters can't understand why the old heads want to take their joy away. Those outside the realm of sports fandom possibly flummoxed as to the point of any of it. The conversation has been loud and blunt.

For me, I guess I side with the curmudgeons. I never did storm the field at my alma mater, even though I think I was in attendance for one. If memory serves, I was at the game (ISU/Iowa) with the guys from the dorm. After the upset victory, some of them ran down to the grass with a bunch of other students. The buzz of joy when they got back to the floor was palpable. However, I think I'm on the side of relief that nothing bad happened (a fight, a trampling, etc.). Maybe I'm just bitter that I didn't have the inhibition to join my fellow man on the turf. Or maybe I'm just cut out to cheer from the stands.

The Unstoppable Force vs. The Moving Targets

March should be fun. Depending on which national tournament you follow, the reasons seem to differ. The men's tournament could be — could be — chaotic, but only if Connecticut goes out fairly early. The upper tier has been get-able this season. However, the defending champs have mostly stayed above the fray. Out of all the contenders, though, the Huskies are the most likely to get on a roll this next month. It will take a huge effort to knock the titleholders out.

In the other bracket, I'm not sure if anyone can stop South Carolina. Last year's Lady Gamecocks were veteran-laden to the core. They were headed to an undefeated title season before Iowa (there's Clark, again) tripped them up in the national semis. So, how is this year's squad undefeated with two games to go in the regular season?


As the numbers show, the defense is still stout and the offense got just enough punch to be even more lethal. Now, there are teams that could pose problems. But I haven't seen too many hang around for four quarters with Dawn Staley's crew (only North Carolina, Utah, and LSU have lost by less than 10 points to them all season). Will this Gamecock team be able to finish the quest that last year's roster couldn't complete?

It's a great time of the year. You can debate the rules, the refs, or the matchups. Until the NCAAs truly get going, have all the speculation you can eat.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site