Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Unfamiliar Territory

By: Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball vs. Wofford

I had jotted down some notes from last night’s men’s basketball win over
Wofford, but I can’t find them. No matter, because I’m pretty sure I didn’t write down anything Pulitzer Prize worthy. (Some day.) Or for that matter, worthy at all. And should my musings fall until opposing hands, well, for crying out loud, somebody get a hand in Stephen (How do you like me now?) Curry’s face. But surely you knew that already, eh?

The observations that I find myself making from the Davidson press row are a bit different than those from the road or the Brickhouse. Because of the nature of my game-day responsibilities, assisting women’s basketball SID Gavin McFarlin with the stats keeping, I tend to get lost in the game. Turnover, steal, layup. Assist?

On most nights, you could pop in SteF-in and
Jason (how many assists did I have?) Richards into this sequence. But for a while in the first half, the Wildcats were in unfamiliar territory... That’s it. That’s what I had jotted down.

You see, Davidson’s previous home contests (and for these purposes, we mean ACTUAL home games in cozy Belk) have included a
120-56 win over Emory, a 98-50 win over N.C. Central, a 95-74 win over the Citadel, a 92-67 win over Georgia Southern and an 85-58 win over Chattanooga.

Against the Citadel, the ‘Cats were tied (39) at the half, but before last night hadn’t gone into their own locker room with a half-time deficit. Even in the other “close one” at home this season,
an 86-73 win over Western Carolina, Davidson was up 50-38 at the break.

What’s more, Steph missed the free throw that would have tied the score with under three minutes to play in the half. (I love when he misses a free throw. Not because he missed it, but because it’s such news that he missed. Did you hear the collective gasp? He IS human people.)

No matter, he comes back with a pair of freebies to tie the score, but after a Wofford jumper puts the Terriers back on top, the desperation three clanks off the rim. Though it was close – and would have been worth the gasp, the ‘Cats head to their locker room down by one. Unfamiliar territory.

After the intermission – which included A LOT of jump ropers, the universe was righted. A JRich steal/ layup put the ‘Cats up a pair, and Curry’s trey (on a Richards assist, of course) builds on the lead. And I got lost in the game again.

With the clock winding down, I checked the monitor. Steph has poured in 34 points, and the ‘Cats are up 78-65, not nearly as close as it looks.

Afterwards in the media room, I express my disappointment to SteF-in and the fashionably astute
Maximus Paulhus Gosselin. Maybe one of the only ones, I wanted a close one. “That was close,” Max counters.

Was it? I had already forgotten.

Sweet Victory

By Robert O'Donnell

Charleston, S.C.

Hey, it’s Robert O’Donnell checking back in. Sorry it’s been over a week since my last post, but I’ve been on the road for the last few days. But first I’ll address Senator Obama’s decisive 28-point victory in the Palmetto State, South Carolina.

The last few days before the election were extremely long days filled with a lot of back and forth between both the Clinton and Obama campaigns. There was a heated debate where all three candidates claimed to be the victor following it, and all three candidates spent significant time campaigning throughout South Carolina. But in the end, our superior field organization and message carried the day to one of the most historic victories in South Carolina history.

It was an incredible day where all the planning and preparation we had put into recruiting volunteers, opening up offices, and reaching out to communities came together in one seamless Get Out The Vote operation. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Barack supporters flooded to the polls, breaking turnout records. Senator Obama received more votes than people who actually voted in the Democratic primary in 2004. He even beat John McCain who won the Republican primary in vote totals by over 100,000 in a state that is historically Republican leaning.

The entire staff was overjoyed when the called the election at 7 p.m. when the polls closed. We all gathered together at a local restaurant to celebrate the victory. Anyways, I have just arrived in Richmond, Virginia to work on the February 12th primary. We have a lot of work to do, but we are extremely excited about the opportunity to work here in Richmond and the surrounding areas. However, it is now time to get some rest, I’ll check back in later in the week to give you a feel of how we are doing in Virginia.
-Rob O’Donnell

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Go Ahead, You're on the Air

By Will Bryan '08

I experienced yet another perspective on Davidson Athletics on Tuesday night, when Wildcat radio man Derek Smith asked me to fill in for Tia Washington and do color for the radio broadcast of theWomen’s basketball team’s game against Furman. The most color commentary that I have ever done came in my own living room bantering with my Dad as we watched a game with the sound turned down. Derek said that was all I needed to do on the radio, as long as I didn’t say anything too far out there. Not a bad deal.

As it turned out, I had a lot of fun. While I was expecting to be very nervous by those pregnant pauses that meant that I was supposed to have something witty and insightful to say, I found that there was so much going on in the game that Derek didn’t pause enough for me to get everything in. I do admit that there were a few moments where Derek’s up-tempo play-by-play lulled me into silence that I had to wake myself up and remember to say something.

So what actually happened in the game? Well Davidson overcame a 16-8 deficit to open up a 22-16 lead midway through the first half. During that stretch, they dominated the Paladins on the boards and mixed a potent three-point shooting attack with great entry passes that ended in open layups. The Wildcats were used to Furman’s 2-3 zone as they had faced something similar just a games earlier at Elon.

Although Davidson had way too many ball-handling turnovers and went through an offensive slump to start the second half, they held on for the double-digit victory thanks to some strong play fromMercedes Robinson and Ashley Lax. Robinson put together another double-double by scoring 16 and rebounding 10, while Lax came off the bench to score a career high of 11 points.

I learned throughout the game of the constant torment of the color-man: you often don’t get the chance to say what you want and you never have much to say when you are put on the spot. I probably sounded like a broken record as I talked about the “great passes and good looks” that resulted in made baskets. I hope I wasn’t too ridiculously obvious with my commentary. Some of the best moments of the night included joking with Derek about the ease of some Wildcat baskets while he chided me for making it sound easier than it really was for a man like himself.

Overall, I really enjoyed breaking down Davidson’s play on the fly and organizing some thoughts for the world to hear. It definitely beats having to organize thoughts with these stupid commas and periods and all the rest. Maybe I should start on an audio blog. Hmm, there’s a thought.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

This Day in Davidson Athletics

By: Lauren Biggers
Swimming vs. UNC Wilmington, Campbell
Women's Basketball vs. Wofford
Men's Basketball at The Brickhouse

Instead of making the trip to Charleston, I spent Saturday afternoon taking in Davidson athletics locally.

After my (bi? tri?) weekly trip to Panera, I headed into the office. Down the hall at the pool, the swim team was getting ready for their final home meet of the season, preparing to host the
UNC Wilmington Seahawks and Campbell Camels. (There must be a camels and water joke in there somewhere…)

If you’ve never been to a swim meet, you should. Not necessarily spectator-friendly, there’s something to be said for a sport in which the athletes engage in back-and-forth coordinated cheers with the opposition. No, this is not your local Y.

Saturday was senior day at Cannon, and the team honored seniors
Kirsten Allen, Leslie Sherrill, Maddie Stough, Robb and Will Broughton, Fiete Stegger and Adam Topaz before the meet. The Four Coursemen sang the anthem, and the show was underway. I got to see the Wildcat men win the 200 medley relay (fun), but had to hit the court for the women’s basketball match up with Wofford before the Wildcat women’s dramatic win in the 400 free relay (too bad) to take the meet. (To see the swimmers for yourself, take in the first annual Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Championships at the Huntersville Aquatic Center on Feb. 21, 22 and 23.)

A couple days later, I don’t remember much about the women’s basketball game. I remember that they won,
70-58, over Wofford. That things were close for a while in the first half, not so much in the second. But I do remember Mercedes Robinson.

The junior from Mansfield, Texas, was outstanding on Saturday, netting 15 boards and 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, to go along with a pair of blocks and three steals in 38 minutes. For a while it seemed every time the ball was in the air, it ended up in Mercedes’ hands, prompting women’s basketball SID Gavin McFarlin to question aloud his own stat keeping abilities. Consistently good, on Saturday, Mercedes was great. (See for yourself on Tuesday, when the women hoopsters host SoCon rival Furman at 7 p.m.)

For the nightcap, I headed over to the Brickhouse to watch the men’s team battle the College of Charleston on the big screen. I’m sure the sold-out atmosphere at Kresse Arena was pretty good, but the Brickhouse was equally at capacity.

At the town’s local “Cheers,” it’s not hard to run into someone you know, and Saturday night was no exception. With nary a bar stool in sight, I was fortunate to happen upon women’s assistant soccer coach
Winnie Corrigan and her crew of Bill, of fame, and Mark, the former swimmer, who keeps score at swim meets in his head. (Thanks for the table guys!)

Everyone settled in, the crowd turned its attention to the game at hand, which was, unfortunately, not Davidson vs. CofC. In the meantime, some very dedicated fans kept us updated via Satellite radio from the car, as did text messages from courtside.

(As expected?) the ‘Cats went on for the
easy 70-58 win, despite just 16 points from Stephen (16 points is an off-night) Curry. (It’s just not a blog without SteF-in, right?) Didn’t matter becauseThomas Sander and Andrew LOVE-dale were eating the Cougars alive in the paint. Neither particularly flashy, the big boys put on a dazzling display, and the Bhouse crowd loved it.

From the start, LOVE-dale was our anointed crowd favorite, and the “Big Cat” lived up to his hype, finishing with 10 points and seven boards. “The Winnster” did everything in her power to get the crowd to buy into a “Big Cat” cheer, and she had lots of opportunities. (All together now… make hands into claws. Hold in air. Scream, the ‘Big Cat!’ Now you’ve got it. Use it.) Winnie also tried a round of “Sweet Caroline” at the eight-minute media timeout, but alas, we were the only interested parties, and as it turns out, we don’t know the words.

All in all, it was a good day in Davidson athletics from start to finish. And with another win in the bag, I closed my tab and went home. Eventually.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Not According to the Script

By: Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball at Western Carolina

Writing a column is different than writing a game story. Sometimes you have a certain angle in mind; sometimes you have to wait and see. Tonight’s match up at Western Carolina was a little bit of both.

Coming into the game, I had a couple of ideas for tonight’s post. I thought about writing about how both
Andrew Lovedale and Boris Meno have been playing extremely well since the lineup change. Problem was, neither was playing extremely well.

What if I write about ‘X?,’ I asked Davidson SID Marc Gignac. Seconds later, it was apparent that wasn’t going to work either. Why don’t you not say anything more, he suggested.

Point is, sometimes things don’t go as scripted. And I’m just guessing, but the first 10 minutes of this one probably didn’t go as the Davidson bench would have scripted.

On one end of the court,
Stephen (“Do you need me for an interview?”) Curry was 2-of-8. But he wasn’t the only Wildcat whose shots weren’t falling; Davidson was 6-22 at the eight-minute media timeout.

On the other end, some serious defense was keeping the ‘Cats in the game. With six steals in the first half – four for Steph – and plenty of things that don’t show up on the box score or in the play-by-play, Davidson was playing with serious hustle. Leading the way once more is
Max, he of the three names, Paulhus Gosselin.

“I’ve had this role for a while now,” Max said of his anointing as Davidson’s go-to defensive stopper. “We have a great scorer in Steph, and a great point guard in Jason. Thomas cements the paint, so I just do what is needed for the team.”

Hustle is a necessary part of the game. Every team needs a selfless player on the court. and Max is nothing if not selfless. But you can’t measure hustle.

“Creating turnovers for runouts and winning games,” Max says after another in-your-face defensive effort that was nearly in mine at one point. “Seriously, winning games is my favorite part of playing defense.” Touché, Max. That’s a pretty good way to measure hustle.

And eventually the shots started falling. When you are shooting a combined 47% on the season, it’s bound to happen, and by the end of the half, this one was all but in the books. SteF-in had gotten hot, as he is fond of doing, and finished the half with 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting. Backcourt mate Jason Richards chipped in 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting, and Davidson was up 42-23.

From there, the most exciting thing – besides the final score, 82-67 - was the three-point T-shirts courtesy of Zaxby’s and the Catamount mascot that kept visiting the table (mascots, in general, freak me out).

Though, I heard that there was a kid for the halftime entertainment that won $10,000 after making all those crazy shots in 25 seconds, but I was on the hunt for a Diet Coke. Sometimes, you just can’t script it.

Substance over Style

By Will Bryan '08

Danielle Hemerka is not a flashy player. In fact, if you look in your library’s thesaurus, Hemerka’s name comes up as item one as the antonym of flashy.

So while Stephen “cocked hand/sliding across midcourt/making everyone buy his jersey” Curry was continuing to assault the record books with a 29 point performance at Western Carolina, Hemerka did some assaulting of her own down I-40 in Elon.

I decided to make this trip to Elon with a friend who knows a little a bit about breaking records: women’s soccer goalie Bevin English, she of the all-time shutout record (which she set against Elon, I might add). When we arrived at the gym, we were surprised. Well yeah, of course, we all have heard how tiny it is…but even more, we found that it was mostly populated by fans clad in red and black. Davidson was 4-2 and 10-7 heading into the game, but their loyal fanbase knew that as a road game in the Southern Conference, this one was as important as any, more important than some.

The overall tone of the game was defined by runs of smooth execution, interwoven with periods of languid play. But I came to realize, that throughout the rollercoaster ride of Davidson extending a lead and then letting Elon cut back into it, Hemerka always had the steady hand.

The greatest thing about Hemerka is that she defies every attempt at pigeonholing. She’s tough as nails and strong as all get out, but her play is smooth. She can shoot from anywhere on the court and yet can always be found in the middle of the rebounding scrum, skying high for the loose ball. She controls her dribble, finds teammates in space and forces turnovers all over the court.

On this night, she became the 11th Davidson player all-time to score 1,000 points for a career. She hit the clinching shot by fading away at the top of the key after hitting layups on the immediately preceding possessions. As soon as she hit it, the Davidson contingent went nuts. Hemerka let her happiness shine through as she ran back on defense with a gigantic smile on her face. She proceeded to shut down her assignment, secure yet another rebound and pick up an assist or two before Coach Watts took her out to a standing ovation.

The whole situation seemed fitting for a four-year player who has contributed to the Davidson women’s basketball program in every way she knows how since 2004. Hemerka is now 8th all-time in threes, 5th all-time in steals, 12th all-time in assists, 4th all-time in rebounds and 11th all-time in points. No Wildcat has ever put up the wide range of statistics that Hemerka has accrued over four years.

Hemerka had family and friends on hand Monday night when she reached her 1,000th point. She had two little girls cheering her name from the first row even as they were wearing the jerseys of her teammates. And she secured her fifth career double-double by diving for a rebound with the game in hand and the clock ticking away. She was all smiles.

History in the Making

By Will Bryan '08

Gathered on a snowy Davidson campus on Saturday were seven decades of basketball alumni who had returned for the 100th anniversary celebration of Davidson basketball. All of those players and coaches represented the change and evolution of Davidson College and its athletic program over the years: different gyms, different coaches, different conferences and opponents, different win-loss records, different lengths of basketball shorts. But at the heart of everything was a common thread.

The event activities for the public began on Saturday morning with a panel discussion with the basketball alumni who were in the Davidson Athletic Hall of Fame.

“The great thing about Davidson has always been that it produces intelligent, well-rounded people,” said all-time leading scorer John Gerdy ’79 at Saturday’s panel. Gerdy remembered how graduating from college was the expected norm at Davidson, but it was exceptional among his colleagues at pro camps.

Graduating just five years after Gerdy, Kenny Wilson ‘84 expanded on that sentiment by talking about the way that basketball fully served the purpose of the college.

“I always think of College as a place and time to be transformed as a person into something better and fuller,” Wilson said. “For me and many of my teammates, that transformation came because of our experience as basketball players. It taught us about the lessons of life and made us better people. As far as I understand it, that is the mission of Davidson College.”

While the panel had its moments of serious reflection, it was not without side-splitting humor. Charles “Lefty” Driesell, one of the all-time leaders in collegiate coaching victories, told several hilarious stories about his time as Davidson’s coach from 1960-1969.

“Back in those days, they only gave me a couple hundred dollars a year to recruit. It didn’t help that I spent most of it in the first week.”

When moderator John Kilgo asked Davidson legend and NBA star Dick Snyder ’66 what he learned from being coached by Lefty, Snyder slowly leaned into the mic and let out a loud sigh. The crowd burst into laughter.

“But no really,” Snyder continued after the commotion died down. “[Lefty] taught me how to play defense. I learned to move my back foot first and that made me a better defender in college and in the NBA. I still cringe to watch players who handicap themselves by not moving their back foot first.”

While the panel was taking place in the Duke Performance Hall, several basketball alums were playing in a pickup game of basketball over Belk Arena. Although the ages were wide in range, they put together competitive teams and enjoyed themselves on the Davidson hardwood once again.

When later asked if there were any coaches out there helping, Bob McKillop chuckled and flashed his million dollar smile: “No. There definitely wasn’t any coaching at all.”

Although the weather threatened to dampen the weekend from the very beginning, nothing was able to hold back the enjoyment that alums and younger fans alike had coming together in one place. The climax of the weekend came on Saturday afternoon as the current Davidson Wildcats came out and walloped North Division leader Chattanooga, 85-58.

Rallying around the emotional alley-oop dunks, unceasing defense and extraterrestrial three-point shooting of Stephen Curry, the crowd created an atmosphere akin to a conference championship or NCAA tournament game.

“It was an emotional day for me,” Bob McKillop said afterwards. “I wanted to treat all of these people that had laid the foundation of the Davidson basketball program. I was really proud of the spirit of our team.”

What happened on Saturday really was history in the making. That particular collection of Davidson basketball alumni will probably never reassemble in the same magnitude. But for one day, they all had the chance to remember the glory days, reconnect with old friends, and be reassured that the future of the program they love so much is in the very capable hands of a coach that has won over 300 games and a shooting guard that ranks among the best in the country.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Fun One

By: Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball at Chattanooga

There was a point in today’s game that it happened. If you were one of the 5,300+ in attendance, you probably didn’t miss it, but you might not remember it.

The ‘Cats were holding a tentative 11-8 lead and it was, obviously, still early. After a missed Moc field goal and an offensive rebound, Stephen (excuse me, can I get your autograph?) Curry makes the first of four steals and, after a little give-and-go, caps the play with his first of eight three balls. A second later, a second steal results in a second three-pointer.

A Jason Richards steal turns into an easy back door lay-in for Boris Meno, and the scoreboard reads 19-8. This one is essentially over, again.

And then it happened. Jason is smiling. SteF-en is celebrating. The bench, always led by SteV-en Rossiter, is up and shouting.

This team is having fun again.

There’s Max Pauhlus Gosselin crashing into the scorer’s table with Davidson leading by eight. The students chanting “Steph-en Cur-ry” as he pours in his 25th, 26th and 27th points of the half, putting the ‘Cats up 41-26 at the break. The crowd sending the Wildcats to the locker room with a standing ovation.

“We haven’t played in front of the students in a while, and when they get going with all the chants and “Sweet Caroline,” we get pretty pumped up,” Curry said between signings. (He wasn’t pulling rank; it was autograph day, and all interviews were impeded by signings. This particular fan wanted nothing to do with mine though.)

In the second half, back-to-back dunks by Meno bust the game open, putting Davidson up 49-26 and getting the crowd to strike up the BOOOOORIS! chant, the one with the tomahawk and my favorite. There is fist pumping and chest bumping.

“I always have fun,” Boris said in between the media room and the autograph session. “Every time I play a basketball game, I have fun.”

There is Will Archambault passing to Andrew Lovedale, who has a better position under the basket, and earning a high five from his coach as he sprints back down the court. There is Lovedale earning an ovation after fouling out. And of course, there is “Sweet Caroline,” forcing, to the students’ great delight, a missed free throw.

“It’s always fun to play at home,” Rossiter said graciously granting me an audience and proving himself a worthy interview. “When we come out and execute our game plan, it allows us to really get out there and have fun.”

“Max always has his energy. If Thomas takes a charge, or Steph makes a shot, or Boris gets a dunk, or J makes a play on a fast break, any of those things can really get us going.”

Davidson’s non-conference schedule has been called one of the toughest in the country. Plenty of people will say - have said- too tough. Everyone has an opinion, but one thing is certain, those close losses weren’t fun.

But if you made the game today, you had to feel good about one thing. This team is having fun again.

South Carolina in the Balance

By Robert O'Donnel

Charleston, S.C.

Hey, it’s Robert O’Donnell checking back in from Charleston, South Carolina.  I’d like to quickly say hello to my boys on the soccer team and wish them luck as they start preparing for the upcoming spring season. I haven’t forgotten about you guys.

But as for the Democratic Presidential Primary in South Carolina, we have just under six days before the voting begins. My task, along with the rest of our South Carolina field staff, over these next six days will be to meticulously prepare and plan for the upcoming primary. The days are getting longer and the pressure is on to perform. The feeling among the Obama team is very similar to that of a sports team heading into a big game, where you know your season hangs in the balance. Our focus is on staying positive and executing the game plan that has gotten us into the great position we are in now.

I’ve also had the opportunity to get to know people, in and outside of the campaign, of all different geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds, giving me a great perspective not only on the political process but also on the social landscape of South Carolina. From the big city of Charleston, to small rural towns in the Low Country, the people in South Carolina have been extremely accommodating and generous by bringing food to the office and allowing staffers to stay in their house. It has really shown me the true meaning of Southern Hospitality.

By all accounts, the race is just heating up and Getting Out the Vote will probably be the deciding factor in the outcome. We’ve developed an incredible grass-roots structure for the campaign where much of the state is relying on volunteers to lead our efforts. The New Hampshire primary gave me great insights on how to deal with the pre-voting day expectations and making sure I don’t buy into the media hype prior to Election Day. My focus is getting as many Obama supporters to the polls as possible. 

Anyways, I’m sure there’s another 500 voters to contact tonight, so I’m going to get back to that. I hope things are well at Davidson, and I wish all the Winter sports team the best of luck in the rest of their seasons.
-Rob O’Donnell

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Road Warriors

By: Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball at Furman

Life on the road can be tough. For the Davidson crew it’s just a hop, skip and a jump down I-85 South to Greenville, S.C. We needed two cars to transport our entourage tonight, but hey, if we can help Billy the manager (extremely well-versed in his classic rock, I might add) get into that Spanish class, we’re happy to help. (Davidson SID Marc Gignac kept teasing with steakhouses, but I for one am glad we held out for the press room pizza.)

But to the Wildcats, the trip to Greenville is a third straight conference road game, and like I said, life on the road can be tough. Channeling the Cameron Crazies, the Furman students did all they could to give their 2-14 Paladins a fighting chance, but the ‘Cats proved every bit hardened.

In Timmons Arena, a building I heard lots of negative things about, not many of which proved true, the “View from Press Row” was certainly treated to a unique view tonight.

Seated behind the Furman basket in the corner farthest away from the Wildcat bench, the official scores table, and well, anything to do with the actual game operations, it felt as if we were a bit banished from the action. (Not the fault of the excellent Paladin sports info department; we just embrace the “go big or go home” theory and thus, take up some space.)

What we got instead was a seat surrounded by Furman students, exactly as missing from my trip to
Wofford. From my (not the slightest bit) cushy seat on press row, I can find humor in opposing students’ rants, but unlike Jason Richards and Thomas Sander, I don’t have to listen to my sister’s name on repeat while trying to focus on the game at hand.

Each time Richards got the ball, the students began chanting his sister’s name, and later in the game, Sander received the same treatment. My own sister might have relished the attention, but I can’t speak for the players’ siblings (Thomas’ sister heard her name being chanted by Furman students courtesy of the radio broadcast, letting us know by her comment on Will Bryan’s live blog at
Will’s World). Neither Jason nor Thomas seemed to mind though. Richards finished with 11 points and eight assists, while Thomas, unaware of the students’ taunting until I mentioned it after the game, added five points and rebounds each.

“We are kinda used to it,” Sander said, dubbing my press conference “his favorite ever.” Okay, maybe not in those exact words, but he liked it. A lot. “Especially from last year at the end of the season, and then this year, we went to a lot of big-time places –Duke, UCLA- that are completely different.”

Not to be left out,
Stephen (according to my press row neighbor, “Wasn’t it Steven last year?”) Curry drew chants of “Overrated” and “Your dad was better,” while some of the Furman students next to me seemed to have animosity for Thomas dating back to high school. Curry once again led the 'Cats in scoring with 14 points.

“Being Davidson in the SoCon, you are always going to get a good contingent of fans pulling against you,” Sander said. “I think we do a good job of tuning it out and focusing on the game.”

But by late in the second half, they didn't have to; this one was over, and the ‘Cats were up big. The students still standing, admirably, dropped the “Overrated” chants in favor of some more “FU”-friendly cheers. (Though a late-game three by
Brendan McKillop got them back in the game momentarily.)

After three straight road wins, including this 73-51 triumph, it will feel good to get back to Belk Arena. I can sit at my desk until 30 seconds remain on the game clock, drink as many Diet Cokes as women’s basketball SID Gavin McFarlin will allow me and, most importantly, not have to eat pizza.

And the Wildcats, who adopted the “Embrace the Bull’s eye” mantra many long weeks ago and seemed to have done just that on this three-game swing, will get Saturday’s big-time match-up with Chattanooga on their home court. On the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Davidson Basketball, Wildcats past, present and future will get a much-needed shot of “Sweet Caroline” in front of a grateful home crowd before taking to the road once more.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gearing up for South Carolina

By Robert O'Donnell

Charleston, S.C.

I'm Robert O'Donnell from Chevy Chase, Md. Over the last three weeks I've been an intern and, more recently, part of the field staff for the Obama for America campaign.

I started my internship in Manchester, N. H., a few days after Christmas. I came to New Hampshire with the intentions of returning to school this Spring, but I admittedly got the campaign bug and decided to stay on through the Democratic primary process.

In New Hampshire, I focused on the GOTV (get out the vote) effort in the headquarters at Manchester. I called thousands of people, knocked on hundreds of doors in preparation for the primary Day on the 8th. A few days after I had arrived, Senator Obama had a huge victory in the Iowa caucus. We felt good about our chances going into the New Hampshire primary where we had battled back from a 20 point deficit in just over a month a half.

On primary day, I ran a staging location in a small town outside of Manchester called Francestown. We set up phone banks, put up signs, and urged people to Get Out the Vote. However, victory was not to be our’s; we lost by a slim margin of only two percent of the total electorate. What was more astounding was that New Hampshire broke the record for the number of voters in the Democratic primary.

Following the tough loss, much of the staff regrouped and caravanned nearly 20 hours down to South Carolina to help bolster our ranks for the January 26th primary. The South Carolina primary will be a pivotal moment in the primary and could even be a defining moment in the campaign.

We have spent the last couple days getting our bearings, and I have spent time being trained as a field organizer. I'm working out of Charleston as we move towards primary day, and the campaign’s spirits are high.

I'll have more to report on South Carolina in my next post, and I'll make sure to spice things up a bit in regards to stories about New Hampshire voters and the Southern hospitality down south, including a story about a flat tire and a toll booth debacle. Anyways, I need to get some sleep, I'll be up in five hours.
-Rob O'Donnell

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Without Drama

By: Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball at Wofford

Back by popular demand – well, my mom and (most of) the guys in the office liked my mindless commentary at least - I decided to make a second straight road trip.
Will’s World was kind enough to air my thoughts again, but in keepin up with the trends we are launching our very own blog here at (Add a bookmark. Come back and read all about the inside world of Davidson athletics directly from staff, coaches and student-athletes.)

This time we traveled just over the border into the Palmetto State and onto the lovely campus of Wofford College. It really is lovely, and it’s certainly less hot than I remember from my Panthers training camp trip, and much quieter and all around tamer than my last visit to the home of the “Beware of Dog” sign last season. (I love that sign).

In ’07, I drew the short(er) end of the stick with a seat next to the Davidson bench on the official scorers table. From what I remembered of my trip last year, I expected a much louder atmosphere, though that expectation may have been distorted by that row of students shouting over my shoulder the entire time, mistakenly calling
Bryant Barr “J” so much that I finally turned around and clarified for them. A momentary lapse in judgment to be sure, but they did help me get connected to the wireless Internet and, well, you need friends everywhere you go.

I digress, and I just spent most of this opening writing about last year’s game, and that’s because, well this wasn’t last year’s game. Nor really, a game at all. The atmosphere wasn’t electric, the game wasn’t close, and unlike some in Davidson red, I wasn’t annoyed by the Wofford students.

The antithesis to last week’s Elon game, where nothing needed was falling for the ‘Cats, Davidson couldn’t miss out of the gates tonight, going nearly six minutes before finally missing a shot. It was the kind of game that when Wofford scored on an inbounds play to make the margin 21-7, I found myself cheering just a little. Cheering, after all isn’t allowed on press row.

It wasn’t that Wofford was slacking off or even playing that poorly, it was just one of those games that was decided right from the
Andrew Lovedale tip. At the point when Davidson finally missed a shot, Stephen (not pronounced Steven, except sometimes for fun) Curry was outscoring the Terriers 12-7 all by his lonesome.

Even the Wofford students couldn’t get up for this one, and can you blame them? At their own arena the P.A. announcer directed a security guard to take away their bullhorn, in so many words, over the loudspeaker to cheers from the Davidson contingent. Though, you can’t blame the guy, since the bullhorn was literally within an earshot. And don’t even get me started on the unnecessarily lengthy horn for timeouts. Was that guy serious? Or just as bored as the rest of us? Or afraid that Wofford wouldn’t actually come back out?

Lacking in drama from the start, expect for if the ‘Cats would get to 100 (no), the crowd pretty much kicked back for a show. For Davidson though, the memories of a close win at Elon combined with a near-miss at Wofford last season, combined for a big win on Saturday night.

“It felt really good,” said
Jason Richards, demoted, also to his amusement, to my press conference this night. “Coming down here, it’s always a battle against Wofford. We came out fired up. We learned a lot from the game against Elon. We knew we needed to get out of the starting gates early, and we got out to a big lead. It was a good win for us.”

And if it was a lackluster game, as indicated by the final score of 85-50, it certainly wasn’t for effort. Steph finished with 26 on 11-of-13 shooting with three each in rebounds and assists. Jason finished with 12 (four treys) points and was credited with six assists, though it probably should have been more.
Will, who had such a big game in this arena last season, posted another good total with 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting, while Stephen (actually pronounced Steven) Rossiter was close to a double-double with eight points and rebounds off the bench, back after an off-night at Elon.

“Obviously that builds confidence for us,” Jason said of back-to-back SoCon road wins. “Winning on the road in the conference is huge; every game in conference is hard. Furman will be really important for us; they are gonna bring it. Anytime you go on the road in the conference, we just need to come out like we did tonight against Wofford.”

Here’s hoping for a very similar result.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Another Stephen Curry Story

By: Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball at Elon

When I decided to make the trip up to Elon, it was mostly because it was a Wednesday night, and my other option was actually cooking a meal and a trip to the gym. Tivo was handling the North Carolina game, which wasn’t compelling enough to force me to stay inside anyways, no disrespect to UNC Asheville intended. I also forgot about the ridiculous 9 p.m. tip time. Nonetheless, a commitment is a commitment, and I’d never been to Elon. Plus, I’ve been angling for a posting on Will’s World for a while, and what better night than tonight. All this to say I was excited about writing a column about the Wildcats. It was supposed to be fun.

But this, what was happening, this was anything but fun. Knowing my intentions to write something about the game rather than sit and watch, and finding said intentions humorous, Joey Beeler, men’s basketball SID, asked about my angle. Have to wait and see, I told him. These things have to unfold, after all, and that takes time.

A few minutes into the first half I had figured out the story. The backcourt superhero duo of
Jason Richards and Stephen (not pronounced Steven) Curry had forgotten to get off the bus, but it didn’t matter because the rest of the team was doing the little things. Back-to-back steals by Max Paulhus Gosselin, a favorite on the court and off, and Steph were converted into easy layups. Will hit another key three. Another steal for Max turns into a smart dish for Jason that ends in an Andrew Lovedale basket on the break. And yet, the little things weren’t adding up to a big lead. In fact, there was a little deficit instead. And worse, a staggering line, Curry just 0-3 in the first half and without a three, threatening to snap a streak of insane proportions.

And things weren’t getting any better. If you were watching the game from the Davidson end of press row, it seemed like the Wildcats were down 50, but when you looked up at the scoreboard you felt relieved it was just two. Two points with 10 minutes to play. Panic, with this team anyways, didn’t set in. Every loose ball was chased into the stands, every board crashed for a rebound, but the rim seemed no bigger than the needle of an eye. Nothing was falling. Sure, the atmosphere was a bit more intense than the ‘Cats were used to lately, as Elon benefited from a Jan-term student presence, but Davidson had played Duke and North Carolina to the wire in front of much larger, much louder crowds. These were battle-tested, road-weary Wildcats.

Cut to late in the second half. SteF-en picked up his fourth foul with under five minutes to play. Bad news for most teams. Terrible news for the Wildcats, trailing by one. Doesn’t matter, I said to esteemed Davidson SID Marc Gignac. He’s 1-10 anyways. Never wavering, Marc said, He’ll hit the game-winner though.

And then it happened. The most impressive 30 seconds of basketball I’ve been within six inches of. Ask Davidson broadcaster John Kilgo how close press row is to the court. You are practically in the game, proven by a loose ball during shoot around combined with a Coke that made for difficult circumstances for the seasoned play-by-play man.

Down by one, Jason grabs a rebound on the defensive end, and is off, pushing the ball up the court and dishing to Steph before you can say..."this is familiar, we’ve seen this before."

“Well, he kinda reached from behind,” Curry said of his defender at the opposite end, in a postgame interview. He wasn't taking me very seriously for some reason. “And I saw the lane to the basket.”

Mistake number one, don’t grant Curry a lane. That must be in the scouting report somewhere. But the basket, like so many for the ‘Cats this night in this gym, didn’t fall. Still doing the little things,
Thomas Sander, the lone double-doubler of the night for the ‘Cats, grabbed his 13th and arguably most important rebound, and sailed a quick pass to Steph, who connected on his first three of the game to tie the score at 57 and preserve his streak for Beeler’s game notes.

After a Phoenix timeout, Richards, who finished with 10 assists, comes up with another huge steal, finding Steph on the wing on the break yet again. After a couple moves to shake a defender, Dell’s eldest launches a jumper that clanks out. But there is Max, the night’s unsung hero turning in his third straight lockdown effort on defense, for the rebound that requires a belly flop onto the court. Steph takes the pass, gets off the ground, just inside the line, switches hands in mid air – I was there, it happened -- and nails a left-handed shot that makes the Davidson bench go wild and the Elon crowd go silent.

“Every shot I take, I think it’s going in,” Steph says, still entertaining my post-game press conference despite dubbing me “intimidating” and not meaning it at all. “And when they don’t have a hand up, I’m gonna shoot it. You gotta have confidence to shoot it no matter what your stats are. I knew it went in.”

I didn’t want to write a Stephen Curry story. Everyone is doing it. But he outscored the Phoenix 8-0 at the end of a nail biter and forced my hand. I wanted to write about the little things. Like the final 40 seconds of this-is-what-we-were-waiting-for-defense that forced the Phoenix into four, count ‘em, four missed potential game-winning shots.

But tonight, Davidson’s big thing won the game. And as the crowd emptied the building, I overheard one student say to another, "that shot was sick." I like to think it was the same kid I overheard earlier say, "I thought he was good?" We’ll never know for sure, but Gignac concluded and I concurred: the legend grows.

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