Throughout the League Tournament we will be posting regularly about the experience. They will sometimes be straight recaps and other times — like this one — an assortment of impressions along with game thoughts.
The issue we have here is that you can see into the infiinte void of the arena. Sure, the goals are ten feet away from the floor just like at home, but the issue here is that the sense of unfamiliarity permeates the entire city.
The Rally House near the Dr. Pepper Arena had no Mean Green gear in stock at the beginiing of the day but had asomeone amassing the assorted inventory from the Metroplex to deliver to Frisco before game time.
Which game time? Well presumably the men’s time but there was no telling.
North Texas Women struggled but they are the 11th seed and so that is hard to attribute to the arena.
The assembled media were settling into their gigs well, writing up stories and tweeting. Entering the Media Entrence I had to direct a wayward family that was looking for the main public entrance. It is all new, and after a few years — presumably this is going to be the norm? — everyone will know what to do.
The NT band was chanting what was presumably funny and clever things during a break but no one could make it out this side of the court, given the echo. They sounded 100 yards away instead of the 100 feet.
NT found a shot and was able to make some buckets late.
Terriell Bradley is a baller
Early in the 4th quarter there was a problem with the clock that took some time to fix. Norm the 49er Mascot and Scrappy battle danced for a bit. Cheerleaders did flips. Everyone kind of killed time for a bit. The game was tense for a while there but the stoppage kind of killed momentum.
Terriell Bradley had an open wing three that hit the backboard before any rim and only the side of the rim at that. She was facing the empty corner. Was that the break or the arena?
A fun new thing? Lauren Holmes left the court and exited the baseline side and ran along the back of the scorer’s table to get to the bench. Non-elevated courts are the way to do things.
In the final stretch both teams missed wide open looks from deep and there was one air-balled free threw from Charlotte’s Dara Pearson.
The thing about shooting is that it is all muscle memory and later when Laia Raventos and Grace Goodheart had hands in their face, they each cashed threes easily. That’s the way it goes.
North Texas had free throw woes, but that is still more normal than anything. Brittany Smith and Terriell Bradley missed the front ends of their visits to the line. When Charlotte’s desperation three went in — there is again an example of the benefits of doing and not thinking too much — the game got closer. NT found themselves up only three with 10.5 left and on defense.
Amaya Ransom took a fading three from the left corner, was bumped enough that I would call a foul, and the ball fell short of the rim. There was a battle for the rebound and North Texas won that and the game.
Laia Raventos said dejectedly to the ref “That was a foul.”
North Texas celebrated, Charlotte walked off.
The morning session was done.
The first impressions of the place have been a mix of shock and early thoughts based on twitter pictures. The reality is that the Star complex is nice and brand-spaking-new and the Ford Center is a decent place to have a league tournament. When the well-supported programs are playing and everything is intense, you can forget the strangeness of it and get into the game. That is, of course, the idea.
By the final day every player will have adjusted to the strange sight lines and the oddness of the entire set up and we will all be back to watching the games.
Let us basketball.