Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 02/03/20: Drive to Burke with Ed, Ducks' Historic Win, Foyle Rivets Me

1. Ed and I took a drive up to Burke this morning to look at work sites Ed's been on lately, to check out the snow depth, and marvel at the mining and labor history in this tight canyon. I was especially happy to get oriented as to where the Cooper Pass road is located and look forward to some drives and hikes up that way.

2. Watching the women's Oregon Ducks basketball team defeat the Connecticut Huskies, 74-56, was the most enjoyable basketball game I've watched all season. The Ducks performed beautifully in every aspect of the game: they played stout defense, rebounded with might, passed the ball unselfishly, skillfully, and artfully, and set up one another for excellent shots and converted a good percentage of them. All of the Ducks' starters scored ten or more points, led by Ruthy Hebard with 22 (to go with her 12 rebounds).

Connecticut effectively devoted much of their defensive attention on Sabrina Ionescu and Oregon demonstrated emphatically tonight that if a team is going to double team or in any other way give Ionsescu special attention, then she, and her teammates, especially Minyon Moore, will find open and successful shooters, whether it's Erin Boley from beyond the arc, Ruthy Hebard rolling to the iron, or Satou Sallaby finding open lanes driving to the hoop or knocking down outside shots.

In past posts, I have stated that I didn't think Minyon Moore, as a graduate transfer, had quite found her place on this team. Tonight, Minyon Moore looked the most comfortable I've seen her with her teammates. She made some strong drives to the cup and drew fouls; she became, in my opinion, a leader on defense, setting a tone of determination and toughness that other Ducks drew inspiration from; she also executed some nifty assists, making well-time passes to cutting players.

If I'm right and if Minyon Moore is blending into Oregon's offensive system and setting a fierce tone on defense, helping elevate the Ducks, making them more cohesive without the ball, then an already mighty team is going to be even stronger and will continue to grow and improve.

I would love to see Erin Boley continue to have spurts of scoring like she did tonight. When she's on, the Ducks' opponents cannot pack their defense inside and all kinds of scoring opportunities open up in the paint -- where, by the way, Oregon scored 44 points (to UConn's 14).

It was a historic win for Oregon. Connecticut hadn't lost a game at home in seven years. No one had ever defeated the Huskies by such a wide margin since Gampel Pavillion opened 30 years ago. It was Oregon's first win over a top five team on the road in program history.

I absolutely loved witnessing it.

3. I'm wondering if those of you who also watch Foyle's War might remember the episode from Season 1 that I watched for the second time tonight. It's a complicated episode that nearly defies summation. It involves corruption in the RAF, thievery in the world of art, Foyle nearly losing Samantha, his driver, military sexual assault, a suicide, Foyle's son being framed for treason, and two murders. Foyle is a buttoned up man, not at all prone to overt expressions of emotions, and while he remained composed throughout this episode, it was clear that he was feeling, underneath his stoic facade, deep feelings of anger, sadness, disgust, and pride. 

One of my favorite developments in this episode was similar to my one of my favorite developments in tonight's U of O basketball game.

I loved seeing Minyon Moore, as a Duck, come into her own more than I've seen all season; likewise, I loved seeing Foyle's assistant, Paul Milner, do the same as a detective.  Tonight, he did some investigating that opened the way to solving the art thievery and the two murders, savvy work beyond what we'd seen him do before and heightening his esteem in the eyes of Christopher Foyle.

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