1. Linda S., down in Eugene, and I jumped on our texting machines at about 2:00 so we could comment back and forth on the Oregon/Arizona State women's basketball game. Back on January 10th, Arizona State overcame a 13 point deficit and stormed back to a victory over Oregon, the Ducks' only conference loss of the season.
Oregon's players were not shy about it: they wanted revenge.
Arizona State plays a slow down, physical style of basketball. On defense, they jam up the paint and they push, grab, elbow, and hold their opponents, while also rotating help down low, and are willing to have fouls called in exchange for frustrating the other team and knowing that by playing a lot of players, they can keep fresh players banging away on defense and by sheer numbers protect their players from fouling out.
Without a doubt, the Sun Devils' primary strategy was to make pick and rolls run by Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard as difficult as possible and find out if the Ducks could adjust and find other ways to score.
In the early stages of the game, Arizona State's approach was effective, but the Sun Devils soon learned that Oregon could play physical, disrupting defense themselves -- get, as the television announcers like to say, down and dirty. So, the first quarter, at times, looked as much like a rugby match as a basketball game, but Oregon prevailed, holding ASU to just two points and scored ten themselves.
Oregon adjusted to the way ASU packed the paint and began to pepper shots from the outside and scored some points off of their defense forcing turnovers. While Ruthy Hebard was benched with two fouls and was stymied by ASU's defense when she did play, Ionescu scored 13 first half points, hit all three of her treys, and Oregon increased its lead to 27-15.
In the second half, a strong-willed Ducks team followed Coach Kelly Graves' instructions and got Ruthy Hebard into the flow of their offense, feeding her the ball inside, challenging the Sun Devils to stop her, and they didn't. With Hebard scoring inside, the Ducks also heated up from the perimeter, especially Jaz Shelley and Erin Boley, and they dizzied the Sun Devils, outscoring ASU by fifteen points in the third quarter and building an insurmountable 57-30 lead at the end of three.
The Ducks continued to fire away in the fourth quarter, with Satou Sabally getting in on the act after not scoring much earlier in the game, and the Ducks cruised to a 79-48 win.
If you were to look at the box score of this afternoon's game, you might not, on the face of it, be overwhelmed by Minyon Moore's numbers -- but if you watched the game, you might say she spearheaded the Ducks' efforts today. I loved how she played. From the point, on offense and defense, Minyon Moore was the Ducks' leader in responding to ASU's bruising style of play. She responded fearlessly and was the Ducks' chief disrupter.
While Moore only scored five points, she contributed to this win with six steals, zero turnovers, four rebounds, four assists, and, as the menacing leader of the Ducks' defense, she only committed two fouls. She's a fierce player and, I think, she sets a tone and an example, especially on defense, for her teammates and they are following her lead. Yes, on offense, Sabrina Ionescu controls this team with as intelligent and team-oriented leadership as I've ever seen in a player. But when it comes to intelligent defense and team-oriented sacrifice, when it comes to committing mentally, physically, and emotionally to just being tough, Minyon Moore emerges game after game as this team's boss.
2. I mentioned yesterday that I bought a couple cans of winter ale at Pilgrim's. What I didn't mention was that I also bought a 16 oz can of Bombastic Brewing's Imperial Breakfast Stout called Aggravated Murder, a beer that weighs in at 14.5% ABV. The brewery is in Hayden, ID.
Normally, if I am going to drink a beer with this much alcohol content, I only drink 4-6 oz of it.
But, I had an entire pint before me.
So, I grabbed a small glass, and, over the course of the two hour basketball game, I drank small servings of about 3-4 oz.
The beer is delicious. It's barely carbonated and flows out of the can in a luxurious black stream and gave my nose a pleasant smell of coffee and maple. I enjoyed how, when I sipped it, the first sensation was of the coffee taking a hold of my tongue, with help from some caramel and toffee flavors. Then, after a few seconds, almost as an afterthought, the light sweetness of maple syrup asserted itself, making the finish very pleasing. You'd think a beer with such high alcohol content would also have a boozy quality, but not Aggravated Murder. The alcohol warmth was subdued and nicely balanced with coffee and maple syrup.
I'd had an up and down night with Charly again on Saturday night. When the Ducks game ended and I'd finished the pint of Aggravated Murder, I was relaxed, steady on my feet, but ready for a nap and got in a very satisfying hour or so of sleep.
3. Christy had texted Carol and me earlier in the day to cancel tonight's Family Dinner. Everett had had an up and down night with leg cramps. Everett has had a tough week with other physical problems and Christy was too tired to host us and was going to try to recover some of the sleep she lost during the night.
I've been working to try and get an upper hand on keeping my kitchen clean and decided I didn't want to mess it up any more by cooking myself dinner.
I went to Sam's and ordered a hamburger with fries and Pepsi.
It was simple, filling, and I was happy to come home, look at what I still had left to clean up in the kitchen and really happy I didn't make myself even more of a mess.