Thursday, May 25, 2006

Anne Hafeli Stays Hot

Back to the afternoon of March 7th. Headed to John Q. Hammons Arena to see the women's final between Western Illinois and Oakland. Despite the efforts of 6'7" Zane Teilane, the top-seeded Westerwinds fell to 6th-seeded Oakland, 65-56. It was a Tuesday game at noon, the game was televised on ESPNU, admission was free with an "I Voted" sticker or $1.00 donation to a charity, and the crowd was around 150 people. This was okay though, because this blog was able to catch a Western Illinois t-shirt from their cheerleaders without much competition, and caught ice cream for yet another game. Also, this blog was able to check out tournament MVP Anne Hafeli, whose game was as good as her looks.

This was a pretty cool game, and now this blog had some time to kill before a 6:00 men's title game. This blog headed over to Woodland Hills Mall down the block, and it was a decent mall, although slightly overpriced, even for a mall. It was a solid food court however, and this blog headed to Chick-Fil-A for dinner and the chance to read the complimentary USA Today this site had picked up at its hotel. It was there that this blog read that Hofstra had lost the Colonial Athletic Association's title game to UNC-Wilmington. This after having beaten George Mason in the semifinals. Amazing to look back now and see that Hofstra would miss the NCAAs, UNC-Wilmington would lose in the first round, and George Mason went to the Final Four. A very amazing sequence of events had been set in motion.

Pun City headed back to the Arena to see the men's title game, pitting hometown favorite Oral Roberts against upstart Chicago State. The Arena filled up almost entirely with ORU fans. Despite this, Chicago State took a 34-33 lead into halftime before the Golden Eagles went on a 37-15 run and cruised to victory. This blog sat next to a couple crazy, die-hard ORU fans that, to paraphrase CSTV, "Never Graduated." Once the buzzer sounded, the facepainted duo rushed the floor with all the students, and this blog set a course for Little Rock, AR to stay the night. After listening to the postgame show on the radio, this blog hoped to somehow catch either the Sun Belt championship game or the Horizon League final, which featured UW-Milwaukee, one of this blog's hometown favorites.

The closest this blog came to either was catching an extremely static-laced feed of the Sun Belt game that was proving to be a blowout for South Alabama over Western Kentucky. Since this blog much prefers the WKU Hilltoppers, this was not prime listening. No play-by-play of the UWM-Butler game could be found on the dial, but this blog was somehow able to get a solid signal from Chicago that would report the scores every half hour. So this site was able to crudely follow the UWM game and heard that the Panthers had won shortly after their buzzer sounded.

When pulling into the Super 8 in Little Rock, this blog found that the hotel was not in the most affluent section of town. Based on the previous negative experience with Super 8 on this trip, Pun City was not at all hopeful when checking in. However, this hotel proved to be the best room and overall hotel experience on the trip. A king-sized bed, refrigerator in the room, over 100 channels, and a very clean and somewhat higher-end bathroom were an awesome change of pace. It was almost a shame this blog was only there for one night.

A big day was coming up tomorrow, however, as this blog was going to the opening round of the Conference USA tournament at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. Back to a somewhat larger conference, arguably the biggest conference so far.


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