Here’s hoping that all of the Washington State Cougars fans who followed the women’s team to Philadelphia for the Women’s NCAA Tournament at least got to consume some quality cheesesteaks and tastykakes, because the basketball part of the trip was an unmitigated disaster.
By now, you’re aware that WSU is headed back to Pullman after its third consecutive “one and done” tournament showing, and I won’t try to make anyone relive all of it, but man, that was all kinds of terrible. Coming into the game, it was apparent that WSU needed to contain Atlantic Sun Conference member FGCU’s three-point shooting. And the Cougs kinda did that!
One problem - in its effort to keep the Eagles from killing it behind the arc, WSU’s defensive strategy seemed to be, “give them anything within five feet and hope they miss.” Turns out FGCU is pretty good at mostly uncontested shots near the basket, unfortunately. For the game, FGCU shot 25/40 (62.5%) on two-point attempts. I’m not anywhere close to even a mediocre basketball analyst, but I assume most teams that surrender dozens of layup attempts don’t tend to come out on top. Combine that with WSU’s two 2022-23 stalwarts being virtually absent - Leger-Walker and Murekatete performed far below their season scoring averages - and you end up with a season-ending bellyflop.
Sports are funny, in a tragic way. The team that rampaged its way to a Pac-12 Tournament title a mere two weeks ago (beating a top five Utah team by three scores along the way) looked decidedly overmatched against a team from something called the Atlantic Sun. And while the grease fire of a performance that we witnessed Saturday afternoon will never overshadow that amazing late season run the Cougar women pulled off, the 74-63 loss sure puts a damper on it.
Here’s to next season, when WSU returns nearly every key piece, and has a great shot to be better than ever. God knows it can’t get much worse than what we saw in Philly.
Things weren’t any better for the Cougs on the diamond, unfortunately. After taking the series opener on Friday afternoon, WSU’s performance on Saturday resembled that of the football team’s game against Oregon last fall. The Cougs got out to an early lead, and had a chance to do some serious damage, but could not capitalize on a bases loaded, one out situation in the bottom of the third.
Just like that, Oregon took the lead shortly afterward, then poured it on late in the game to win going away. On the bright side, the Cougs have a chance to score their second straight series win of the young conference season on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m., and you can stream the game here.
This Week in Parenting
I mentioned last week that we were upon spring break. While it wasn’t exactly the spring break experience we got used to in Europe, when we took trips to places such as Normandy, Cinque Terre and Vienna, Team Kendall still got out and about for a bit with a trip to New Orleans. We got there Monday afternoon, and I figured it was a good time to take the kids a couple blocks north to walk down Bourbon Street while the sun was still up and the debauchery was at a minimum. The 11 year-old wasn’t having it. Every time we reached a corner, he would ask, “Can we get off this street now?” Every time, I’d tell him no, that we were gonna keep going. We walked a decent percentage and then took a right, not a moment too soon for him. I finally asked what his problem was. “I saw like 80 drunk people.” I think he overestimated quite a bit, and 10 years from now he’ll probablu tell everyone how awesome the experience was while he orders up another double hurricane.
Before we left, we stopped by a local place to sample some creole/cajun fare. Both kids ordered po boys (oldest got catfish, youngest got shrimp), and had some left over for lunch later on. The 14 year-old finished his on Saturday. As I walked by the table, I noticed something amiss, and asked, “did you really put ketchup on your po boy?” He answered in the affirmative, hammering home more verification that I am a complete failure as a father.
We’ve also got a thief in the house. Or a rodent problem, or some other person/thing that continues to surreptitiously abscond with many of the sweets located in the home. First, Mrs. Kendall’s beloved peanut butter M&Ms disappeared. We confronted both kids, and in a stunning turn of events, neither one took them! Can you believe it? Me neither! Later in the week, Mrs. Kendall went to open the previously-unopened box of Thin Mints. To her surprise, the box had already been unsealed, and was missing an entire sleeve of cookies. Once again, she turned to me. Once again, I said I hadn’t touched them. Then, in a move that nearly floored us both, the 11 year-old said, “Yeah I took those for dessert with lunch.” Half a box of cookies. For lunch. After he refuses to eat breakfast before school. Gee, I wonder why.
Tales from the Road
I mentioned that we took a quick jaunt to the Crescent City this weekend, which included a stay at a hotel in the French Quarter. This particular hotel had something I’ve never seen, but was pretty awesome. With lots of guests and 40 floors, the elevator situation could be perilous. But this place did not have the typical “up” and “down” buttons. Instead, you punch in the floor you want, and the screen tells you which elevator (A thru F) will take you there. It was (mostly) great! I imagine that this much more efficient system is more widespread than I’m aware, but it should be the norm.
We noticed on Monday evening that the hotel lobby was buzzing with septuagenarians for some reason. Then the next day, they all appeared to be carrying these sheets of paper with all kinds of complex writing. Turns out the national Bridge tournament was taking place at the hotel. The easiest way I can explain the breakfast scene is to tell you to imagine a silver-haired swarm of locusts descending upon the buffet and inundating the poor workers with demands and complaints. The three ladies trying to assuage the swarm were truly doing the lord’s work. I’d have set fire to my apron and walked out. A little later on, I asked a front desk attendant how much longer the tournament was lasting. “Until the 19th.” she said with a look of pained resignation. Oof.
On a brighter note, we finally got to see the Steve Gleason statue in person! It’s awesome.
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