As a competitive water skier, I guess I find myself drawn to sports that haven't quite hit the bigtime.
Or maybe I'm just a weirdo. Most likely all of the above.
But if you have any interest in women's sports in general and/or basketball, tonight's NCAAW finals is fairly special.
It's the first time (either mens or womens) that two undefeated teams are meeting in the NCAA championship game.
Just how good are UConn and Notre Dame? UConn has won over 40 games in a row, dating back to last season. Notre Dame is 37-0 this season. The last time Notre Dame lost was to UConn. The last time UConn lost was to Notre Dame.
And last night the UConn men's team created an interesting side-story, opening the possibility of one school claiming both titles if the women can hold up their end tonight. The only school to ever pull that off before was ... UConn.
If you're in the vast majority that hasn't watched a single women's basketball game this year (or ever!), then you might want to DVR the hype show beforehand as well. Alternatively, here's a primer where I highlight a few key players from each team (apologies for nearly-certain mis-spellings):
Stefanie Dolson. I've been a UConn women's fan for many years (long story how it happened), but I think Dolson might be my favorite player to wear the uniform. She's tall (6'5" iirc) and pretty (off the court), so it's possible that creates some bias. She's also VERY goofy, leaving behind her a trail of silly youtube videos. But it's on the court where I am most fascinated: She's slow and sometimes seems rather unathletic. But somehow she just always ends up where she needs to be and makes far more athletic players look stupid on a regular basis. She's also a phenomenal passer, and I don't even have to qualify that with "for a big girl." Her ability to substitute skill for natural talent gives me hope!
Breanna Stewart. (Stewie) The overwhelming player of the year choice, Breanna has everything: Height, athleticism, long arms, speed, a terrific outside shot, and tenacious defense. Look for the gangly white chick and watch her do things that should be impossible for someone with that build.
Moriah Jefferson. The smallest player on the court is also the fastest and most active. She changes games with her defense, and is unstoppable in transition. (No relation to the Mines of Moria.)
Kayla McBride. This is Notre Dame's star, and she has the potential to carry the game. Although she is a totally different style of player than Stewart, she is also good at pretty much everything. If you're not hearing her name much, it's a very good sign for Connecticut.
Jewel Loyd. She'll be the best overall athlete on the court. She's the only player in the women's game who can regularly execute an ally-oop (although it looks different and arguably cooler without the dunk at the end). An announcer along the way dubbed it the Jewely-oop, and the name stuck.
Natalie Ochanwa. (Ace) Sadly, you'll only get to see her on the bench, likely wearing a form-fitting dress that utterly belies her aggressive dominating performance on the court. She tore her ACL during the Elite 8 and her team rallied to dominate Maryland in the next round without her. Although she's a huge loss, she has also created a "win one for Ace" mentality that could just carry ND to an upset victory. Replacing her is a giant freshman who just might be the future of ND basketball.