Sorry for the long delay in writing. I have been sending out reams of emails to Fugue about this-that-and-the-other and not really had time to write. It's another in a long line of conflicts between myself as a coach and as a commentator. (A conflict which probably deserves its own post, but not today.)
Centex In General
I'm going to say some nice things and then complain a bit.
1. Well run as are all of Michelle's tournaments. She just does a good job of making sure that all the details are attended to. We have gotten a bit spoiled over the last few years as the institutional memory in our sport has gotten better and better and the tournaments have steadily improved.
2. It was very nice to go to a women's only tournament again. Last year, Prez Day and Centex were only women. These were the first tourneys I'd been to that were only women and I was surprised how much I enjoyed them and how little I missed the men's teams. Since I don't give a rip about the social scene and don't really care about watching men's teams play (except to see CUT paste the Hodangs) I don't miss the boys. Unlike Prez Day and Stanford, at Centex this year the best women's games got the best and most central fields instead of being delegated to the secondary locations.
3. I hate the format. I am reminded very much of the old Chicago Tune-Up format which in the late 90s was to Club what Centex has become to the college women. Every team in the country went and that glut made an unmanageable format. In an effort to please everyone and make it possible to have a divided and yet open format both tournaments had a huge number of games squeezed into a very small amount of time. At Tune-Up it was 6! pool play games on Saturday. At Centex it was 4 games on Sunday starting at 8AM. If these games were against SW Wichita State and Olympic Peninsula Forestry College and are going to wash out at 15-2, no biggie. But our four games were against Wisconsin, UCSB, Washington and Stanford. Nobody reached 11 points in any of these games. Bah!
Centex for Fugue
We staggered into the tournament with major injuries all over the place. Here is our out list to start the tournament: Julia (concussion), Bailey (hamstring), Krista (foot), Rachel (ankle) and Lily (ankle). Butters played only Saturday (Achilles), Sophie (hamstring) and Aubri (ankle) didn't play the last two.
Nonetheless, we managed to eke out a wins over Stanford (Sat) and Wisconsin (Sun) with some great defense and just enough offense. We dropped one to UNC that we shouldn't have. We were up 8-3 and lost 11-12. Four first-pass turnovers probably hurt us. Credit to them though-they played very well and cashed in on the opportunities we gave them. We played great defense in the quarters against UCSB and had plenty of opportunities to win, but couldn't cash them in. We lolly-gagged on the field switch from the Wisco game and weren't ready to play. We went down 0-3 and couldn't close the gap and lost by the same margin 7-10 or 8-10.
Bids to Nationals
Weirdness in the bids. There is far more parity in the women's division than anyone expected and some strange things happened.
1. State of California?! After their reputation got the rules rewritten, the state of California failed to cash in and has only three bids. Yikes! The new adage that You Region is Only as Good as Your Worst Good Team really was proven here. UCLA, Korb-less and Kodiak-less plummeted through the standings at Centex and cost California a bid. I wouldn't count them out at Regionals, though.
2. Cowboy Region?! The region strength bid came through for this group. With a mess of good teams, (Colorado, Co College, WUWU, Texas...) but no great ones they get two bids which I think they deserve.
3. Atlantic Coast. I talked to Lindsey Hack on Sunday and she was PISSED about the schedule and the format and the bid allocations...wow! But it all worked out. UNC's finishes elsewhere in the season prevented a total collapse ala UCLA and UVA's nice results propelled the Atlantic Coast to 3 bids. Wahoowa!
4. All in all, despite some weirdness in the actual placement of teams (like UW being 2nd despite not making semis in any tournaments this year) I think the bids were allocated fairly. If I'm wrong for any reason, I'd love to know.
The Regular Season
Here's my problem with the USAU's system. Now is the time we should be ramping up. Now is the time I should be getting freaked about the games within my Region. UW. UBC. Western. But those games don't really matter until regionals. A month and a half in the heart of the season will pass without a meaningful game. It doesn't make sense that we are all stressing about games in February and then not about the games in April. In every other sport, the regular season is against the teams in your division/conference/region that matter most...here, not so much. I spent a lot of time this year talking with Danny (UW), Tasi(UBC) and Jinny(Western) about other teams and scouting reports and whatnot. Can you imagine Les Miles co-scouting with Nick Saban? Or Gino comparing notes with Muffet?