I have never played basketball. Throughout my life I have chosen to participate in the sports of softball and soccer which are more in line with the reality of my vertical limitations. But I LOVE basketball. I love the pace, the dunks, the comebacks and the buzzer-beaters. I stand and cheer (sometimes several times a week) in support of the Michigan men’s basketball team as a loyal member of the “Maize Rage” student fan section. For the past two seasons, during Michigan’s March Madness appearances in the NCAA tournament, everything else virtually ceased to exist as I followed each and every play. I love basketball, so you may be surprised to know that until last month, I had never attended a women’s college basketball game.
The Game, The Game, The Game
To gain some perspective on similarities and differences, let’s compare some elements of the Michigan women’s basketball game played on November 16th and the Michigan men’s basketball game played the very next day. Each game pitted the Wolverines against the Bison of central Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University.
Both Wolverine teams displayed incredible athleticism with their speed, agility, strength and endurance. The women demonstrated their physical talents with 4 crowd-pleasing blocked shots and 7 three-pointers that contributed to the 68-61 win. In the men’s game, senior Max Bielfeldt came off the bench consistently muscling his way inside to tally an impressive 18 points allowing the Wolverines to outscore the Bison 77-53.
Players from both teams also displayed a high-degree of skill which, in the game of basketball, can only be gained through a great deal of practice. The women were led by the smart play of senior Cyesha Goree who achieved a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Evidenced by the high number of assists and the low number of turnovers, the men showed excellent ball-handling and strategic skills.
While the athleticism and skill levels emphasized similarities between the men’s and women’s teams, the disparity in the tenure of the starting teams highlighted the differences. The women’s team boasted 4 returning starters (Goree, Shannon Smith, Nicole Elmblad and sophomore Siera Thompson), the men’s team had only two (junior Caris LeVert and sophomore Derrick Walton).
Continue reading The Team, The Team, The…NBA?