Duke: It's Elemental

By Jessica Garrison - February 26, 2007

In the wake of Duke's perfect regular season finish, an amusing development:

Ten bucks says when you hear the words "Earth, Wind and Fire", Duke women's basketball is about the last thing to come to mind. Their Sports Information staff is trying to make us think otherwise, with an end-of-season awards promotion blitz that's second only to some of the more creative Heisman campaigns. In the media's mailbox came three player cards titled "You Can't Control the Elements": rock-solid Alison Bales as Earth, speedy Lindsey Harding as Wind and scorching shooter Abby Waner as Fire. Harding is the most viable (and right now, most likely-looking) Player of the Year candidate, while anything more than a postseason flameout should earn Bales and Waner a few
postseason nods.

I'd like to see Duke extend this campaign a bit - why stop at flyers with such a genius concept? Let's get Bales, Harding and Waner to cover one of EW&F's hits and drop the single on unsuspecting opponents during ACC tournament pregame warmups. Or, consider the branding possibilities: t-shirts, character dolls, Underoos. I'd like to see the NBA's throwback/specialty jersey craze extended - how cool would Abby look with "Fire" on the back of
her jersey and flames on her sneakers...Wow.

In all seriousness, there's plenty to be said for this kind of promotion. Coach G took the "good for the women's game" approach to the hostile crowd of 18,000 at Maryland last week, and the same theory applies here: the more we treat these players and their game like a big deal, the more it will grow in that direction. Call it the pop culture principle - If you hype it, they will come - and players like Duke's this season deserve to be seen.

Posted by Jessica Garrison at 08:30 AM on February 26, 2007

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