In late November, all law students start to get edgy. Finals are right around the corner, and for most classes, they determine 100% of your grade. One bad day can tank a semester’s worth of effort. To help manage stress around finals time, I like to find study breaks. Whether it be watching a game, going out to dinner with friends, or something else, I need a few hours where my mind isn’t occupied with outlines or that case I read three months ago.
One night in late November of last year, my choice study break was an Iowa women’s basketball game. The top ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish were in town, and while I didn’t have time to get to Carver Hawkeye Arena, I did watch it on TV.
Early on, I wondered if I would regret that choice. Notre Dame jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the 1st quarter, and looked poised to run away with things. But the Hawkeyes fought back. By the end of the 1st quarter, they were down only eight. The second quarter was back and forth, but by the end, Notre Dame’s lead was still eight.
Going into the second half, there was a newfound excitement in Carver, both amongst the players and the fans. No one seriously expected an Iowa upset at the start of the game. Number one teams in the women’s game are expected to run roughshod over even quality opponents, after all. Yet here Iowa was within single digits.
Part way through the 3rd, dreams of an upset no longer seemed like a fantasy. Iowa had pulled to within two, and Notre Dame seemed on the ropes. The Hawkeyes had the momentum. They also had the home court advantage.
Unfortunately for Coach Bluder and the Hawkeyes, the fairytale upset never happened. Notre Dame’s defense stiffened, forcing key turnovers, and Iowa’s 3-pointers weren’t falling. The Irish ended up winning by 15.
Though I was disappointed with the result, I wasn’t upset in the least that I spent a couple hours watching the game. I enjoyed the game so much, in fact, that I followed the team’s progress for the rest of the year. I watched games when I could, and followed along of Twitter when I couldn’t. One thing that disappointed me as I followed along was that many of my favorite Hawkeye websites didn’t cover the Iowa women’s basketball team in the same way that they cover men’s basketball or football. Ross wrote the occasional article about a game, but he had other responsibilities, and, I kid you not, a life outside of Iowa sports.
Today, I’m happy to announce that Go Iowa Awesome will be expanding our coverage of Iowa women’s basketball. I have joined the Go Iowa Awesome staff to cover Iowa women’s basketball full-time. In the next month, I will post pieces discussing the 2017-2018 roster and the schedule the Hawkeyes will face. When the season kicks off in November, I plan to write game recaps of as many games as I’m able to watch. I might also venture onto Chris Hansen’s radar from time to time with recruiting updates.
Before I go further, I should probably tell you a little more about myself. Hi, I’m Braydon and I’m a 3rd year law student at the University of Iowa. I’m also a lifelong Hawkeye fan born and raised in Burlington, Iowa. I went to undergrad at Coe College, majoring in political science and history. I then decided on Iowa for law school because, well, our economy doesn’t have a ton of need for political science and history majors, but people will argue with each other about legal issues until the end of time.
Now that my brief resume is out of the way, I should also mention that I’ve never done this before (this being covering a sports team). I’ve always wanted to, though. In high school I gave serious thought to majoring in journalism in college. Ultimately, I decided against that career path because journalism’s future, especially sports journalism, was so uncertain. My itch to write about sports never went away, however, and I’m glad that I finally get to try my hand at it.
While I might not have significant experience writing about sports, I have watched plenty of basketball in my 24 years on Earth. From the time I could walk, I watched Southeastern Community College basketball games from my family’s seats in the front row. I was lucky enough to see 3 NJCAA national championship teams during my time as a fan, including two led by Doug Thomas, known abuser of rims everywhere. I’ve also watched plenty of Iowa men’s basketball, from the (trigger warning) sole crushing loss to Northwestern State, to the dark, no good Lickliter years, and through Iowa’s rebirth under Fran. I’m less familiar with the women’s program. I would watch the occasional game growing up and in college, but didn’t begin following the team seriously until last year. My hope is that through my coverage this year, I will learn more about the program’s history.
With that, I’ll wrap this post up. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll join me in the future as the Iowa women’s basketball team looks to return to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year hiatus. As always, go Hawks!