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First Week in the BIG EAST

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At the end of the first week of competition for the women's basketball team in the BIG EAST, there are some bright spots, despite the 0-2 record. And there's certainly more than enough to build upon in the weeks to come in conference play.

First, Sunday's game against Villanova was one of the best-played games I've seen the Bearcats involved in, and I'm in my seventh year of working home games. Their defense was outstanding and they went toe to toe against a Villanova team that had height, and bench advantages. The only time they trailed was at the end of the game. As Coach Jamelle Elliott said later in the week, they need to learn how to close it out. That will come. Still, it was a win that got away.

Wednesday's game against Seton Hall, well, I think the players will admit that it wasn't the best showing from the Bearcats. A sluggish first half came back to bite them in the second, despite Dayeesha Hollins' three-point barrage that gave UC the lead midway in the second. The defense wasn't the same, but again, it's a chance for the team to learn and improve next time.

Injuries again have taken their toll--Coach Elliott has had to use eight different starters (so far) because of the injury bug. But out of injuries come opportunities. And it's an opportunity that Alexis Durley has taken complete advantage of.  As I like to say, she's like Archie Bell and the Drells--from Houston, Texas (Google it if you don't get the musical reference)--and while she may be a freshman, she doesn't play like one. The game is not too big for her and she has stepped up big, on the big stage. She's a great back court partner to Hollins.

So now, it's on the road for the Bearcats, first facing a South Florida team that just took Notre Dame to overtime this past week. They won't be back home until January 22 against DePaul, but next Friday, January 18, they'll be playing Louisville at the Yum! Center. I'm planning to travel there to cheer on the 'Cats--you should think about it too.

And just a personal note, thanks to the staff and crew at Fox Sports Ohio and to my broadcast partner, @Tommy_G, for televising the UC-Seton Hall game Wednesday. I love the fact that women's basketball gets regular television exposure from Fox Sports Ohio, and it's always fun working with Tom Gelehrter. Looking forward to our next game!   

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