Academic journal article Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal

Bird at the Buzzer: UCONN, Notre Dame, and a Women's Basketball Classic

Academic journal article Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal

Bird at the Buzzer: UCONN, Notre Dame, and a Women's Basketball Classic

Article excerpt

Bird at the Buzzer: UCONN, Notre Dame, and a Women's Basketball Classic

Jeff Goldberg

Bird at the Buzzer is a new book written by Jeff Goldberg and published by the University of Lincoln Press in March 2011. The information found in this book comes from the period when Mr. Goldberg wrote for the Chicago Tribune from 1985 to 2008. He was in charge of covering the University of Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut (UCONN) January and March of 2001 collegiate games, which are discussed in this book.

While I was not impressed with the writer's comparisons between male athletes and female performance, I did appreciate his background information on the ESPN announcers, the universities involved, coaches of the respective teams discussed and their relationships with one another, and the female basketball players themselves. Before reading this book, I would suggest to prospective readers to study the line-ups for the 2000-01 teams of Notre Dame and UCONN (pp. 168 or 245), if they are unfamiliar with the athletes who played in the January and March 2001 games. If not, you will find yourself going back and fourth to keep up with which player is being discussed throughout the book. If you are a fan of women's college basketball and can overlook some of the male analogies and the distorted chronology of events during a few chapters, Goldberg has captured many monumental moments in time leading to the rise of women's collegiate basketball. The play-by-play Goldberg portrayed during the first and the second half chapters is so compelling readers will feel like they were there in the stands watching the game!

Introduction Chapter

This chapter sets the stage for the January 16, 2010 game between Notre Dame and UCONN. The author describes Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut, where the game was played, from the outside view to the packed interior. He identifies the ESPN announcers for the night's big game (Dan Shulman, Doris Burke, and Dick Vitale) and describes in detail how monumental the game was for women's basketball. This particular game was the first ever ESPN Game Day for women's basketball and the first ever "Instant Classic" (where ESPN replayed a game later). Goldberg also discusses the triumphs of the 2010 UCONN team from their back-to-back undefeated seasons to their 89 game-winning streak, which broke the all-time 88 game-winning streak record of the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team.

Tip-Off Chapter

This chapter begins by setting the stage for the upcoming play-by-play of the UCONN and Notre Dame Basketball game for the Big East Final on March 6, 2001. The big discussion of the day would be about Sue Bird and whether she would play, since she had been unable to play in the semi-finals against Rutgers University the night before due to a back injury. This game would become one of the biggest rivalry games in the Big East since Notre Dame handed UCONN one of only two defeats of the season in front of a first-ever sold-out crowd in the Joyce Center. Coach Geno Auriemma stated that this 2001 team "was the most talented team he had coached in his 16 years at UCONN." Coach Auriemma made this statement because he was returning all of his starters from the 2000 National Championship Team including Bird, who had just been named to the First Team Big East, and Swin Cash to the Second Team [AQ: CONFUSING SENTENCE]. This was also the year that the freshman sensation Diana Taurasi would first grace the hardwoods for UCONN. …

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