There might have been a time in basketball, that you’ve thought you’ve seen it all… That would be tonight for us. Though what I’m about to say wouldn’t really surprise anyone, the scope of the situation was pretty unbelievable…
If the towns advertisement for this game to it’s citizens tells you anything. Take a look, the game is advertised as the China Olympic Team versus WNBA players. (oh and the program has picture of Lisa Leslie in it…I will have to take a photo of the program to share)
I’ve said it before in my posts that you completely expect and know you are going to have calls go against you and we were ready for that to be the case. But……… sometimes when the other team is given a 6 point advantage on phantom shots that never happened or shots for us that did happen but somehow vanished into thin air and then put the rest of the advantages on top of all of it… it’s all a little tough to overcome.
You don’t always expect to play your best of games on the road…and no doubt, we didn’t tonight. However, we ended the 3rd quarter with what was a 45-43 lead, a 9 foul count deficit against us, a 10+ FT attempt deficit against us and then the 4th quarter starts. The score, mysteriously after the quarter break had jumped to turn our two point lead into a two point deficit (4point swing). China now leads 45-43. Okay, no big deal, we’ll deal with it. A few possessions go by and neither team scores and China scores + a FT, we don’t score so 48-43 China.
Next possession, we force a shot clock violation and the ball never goes anywhere near going in the basket, yet somehow when the shot clock buzzer goes off, the refs, blow their whistles and two of them signal the violation, but the lead official signals to the scorer’s table that the shot counts and it is now USA ball. SAY WHAT??? The shot counts?? What shot?? Where did it come from?? WOW… it is now 50-43 China.
So be it, we battle back to tie the game at 60. We won’t even get into the last 2 minutes of the game leading to a 65-60 China lead. But with 15 seconds left on the clock, we still have a chance. China is getting the ball out of bounds, is handed the ball out of bounds and the clock starts..WHAT????… By the time China throws the ball in and throws the ball away to us, we catch it and make a quick pass into the paint for a quick 2 attempt (all of which took a maximum of 3 secs) and the horn goes off to signal end of game… WHAT? SERIOUSLY? We take the loss 65-60.
Granted we didn’t shoot well, we knew the “home court” advantage was coming, but I’ve never experienced something quite like this. It is certainly one of those trying times that helps you to grow as coaches and players.
The game won’t take away from the experience…but you know as a competitor and player what this sort of game does for you the next time you set foot on the court…. GAME ON!!!!!
We’ll rebound and tomorrow should go better… Not heading out to the night market tonight, we’ll work on that for tomorrow before departing on Monday morning back to Beijing.
So here’s a picture of this arena. Before you scroll down, take a guess of what year you think the gym was built. Take into the account that floor, the ball at center court, the paint area in the key, and the sidelines were all hand-painted.
So the year built… 2006. Our guesses ranged from 1990′s to 1940′s… not even close..
Oh well. Another tough match tomorrow and hopefully we get it back going like we had last night when we more than cruised to a win. I’m sure the team is ready to put it back on China.
NOTE: The referees and organizing committee met late into the night after the game and agreed that the officiating crew made significant errors that changed the course of the game. However, the outcome of the contest was not changed.
Katie Bussey (Montana State): 2 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Dawn Evans (James Madison): 3 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Jence Rhoads (Vanderbilt): 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Briana Gilbreath (USC): 2 points, 1 rebound
Brittany Carter (Memphis): 3 points, 2 rebounds
Becky Burke (Louisville): 7 points, 2 rebounds
Kristina Santiago (Cal Poly): 9 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals
Amanda Johnson (Oregon): 11 points, 3 rebounds
Kali Bennett (Arizona State): 5 points, 2 rebounds
Becca Tobin (Arizona State): 10 points, 6 rebounds
Cierra Brevard (Florida State): 1 point, 2 rebounds
Thanks to Coach Ryan Johnson for this report from Heilongjiang, China