' Cinema Romantico: A Digression: The Clouds Parted, The Sun Shone Down, and The Basketball Gods Finally Showed Favor To The State Of Iowa

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Digression: The Clouds Parted, The Sun Shone Down, and The Basketball Gods Finally Showed Favor To The State Of Iowa

Please excuse me as I take a moment this morning to pay tribute to the best basketball team in the state of Iowa not only in 2008-09 but in possibly some time. I'm not referencing the University of Iowa men or the University of Iowa State men. I'm also not referring to the men from Drake University nor the men from Northern Iowa (who did qualify for the tournament only to, of course, be eliminated the first day). No, friends, I'm talking about the women from Iowa State who on Saturday evening won a majestic and dramatic game in unreal and unforgettable fashion to become only the fourth team (men or women) from my home state in my 20+ years of college basketball fandom to advance within a game of the Final Four.

It seemed as if they were on the verge of going the way of so many Iowa teams before them, what when you consider they were down by seven points with a minute left. Even a basket to cut the deficit to five seemed useless and left me stomping to my refrigerator to fetch a beer to drown my sorrow while literally moaning out loud about the state of Iowa "never getting a god damn break" when the announcer hollering the Cyclones had stolen the inbounds pass sent me scurrying back to the TV to watch as, lo and behold, the Iowans finally, finally, finally caught a god damn break when tough-as-nails Heather Ezell's three point shot banked in to bring the Cyclones within two points with forty seconds left.

You can say that bank was lucky. Fine. I say 19 straight years of the basketball gods spitting on all teams Iowa earned that bank.

Iowa State then proceeded to steal the next inbounds pass and hit another three point shot in the form of Australian Allison Lacey's dagger from the top of the key that put them ahead 69-68 with twenty seconds left. (For this shot, and for her other 26 points, I hereby declare that in the Australia-set script I hope to write later this year or next year I am naming my heroine after Ms. Lacey. She's a stud. Can you call a woman a stud?) Even so, I had seen this situation so many times before, as recently as last year, that I was convinced Michigan State would hit a shot at the buzzer to break hearts from Council Bluffs to Burlington. But the Lady Cyclones dug in and held on. Michigan State fans can claim there was a foul in the final scrum underneath the basket. Fine. I say Paul Shirley didn't commit that foul nine years ago and if you're a real Michigan State fan you know exactly what I'm talking about and now you know how it feels so suck it up and take it. What goes around comes around.

Tonight the Iowa State women will play for the right to advance to basketball's promised land but if they don't get there it doesn't matter. That was a hell of a game, they've had a hell of a season, and they're a hell of a team. Congratulations to all of them.

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