Austin: The First Round Begins

By Jean Neuberger - March 17, 2007

We are LIVE from the Lone Star Room here at the Erwin Center in downtown Austin, Texas, as the first round of the NCAA Women's Basketbal Tournament begins here in 45 minutes. It's a sea of Sooner red outside, as Oklahoma and SE Missouri State open things off for us.

All the media are inside the room, waiting for LSU to wrap things up so we can enter the arena and get things set to go. The fans outside are NOT happy either, as the gates were supposed to be open over 20 minutes ago, and so far, no one's been able to enter.

So far though, it's my first trip to Austin, and it's already been an interesting trip. The first thing I learned is this: every street in Austin is either a frontage road or an interstate, and they keep weaving in between each other! Needless to say, it's really sad when you see your hotel on the road and it takes 20 minutes and 2 U-turns to get to it. Secondly, when they say the Texas campus is in downtown, do they ever mean it. I'm about two blocks away from the state capital and a whole bunch of office buildings that seem to pop up in between campus dorms and athletic facilities. And before I move on, I have to give a big thanks to my friend (and former classmate) Shannon Hobbs and the Austin Razorback Club for inviting me to the UA-USC watch party last night (too bad the Hogs didn't show up). It's definitely nice to know people wherever you go...even if you haven't seen them for seven years!

Ok, let's get to game time.

Oklahoma seems very confident...a team on a mission. SEMO (which is what everyone calls SE Missouri State) is a team just happy to be here. John Ishee was given the reins following BJ Smith's abrupt resignation due to NCAA violations, and through all the turmoil at the start, Ishee guided the RedHawks to the Ohio Valley title. This game is a triumph of hard work and determination for SEMO. It's a bump in the road right now for Oklahoma.

Baylor. Eastern KY and Tulsa have both faced OU and SEMO this year. The results???

Tulsa: lost to Oklahoma 72-49, beat SEMO 67-54
EKU: lost to Oklahoma 92-79, lost to SEMO 64-62 and 73-72
Baylor: lost to Oklahoma 88-61 and 78-64 (Big XII tourney), beat SEMO 81-47

See what I mean by a bump in the road for the Sooners?

Granted, miracles can happen, but this has the makings of a blowout.

There is one interesting matchup though....SEMO's Lachelle Lyles leads the nation in rebounds, while OU's Courtney Paris is second. We'll definitely be keeping track of the board battle today in Austin.

Ok...time to get to my time is approaching!

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 11:18 AM on March 17, 2007

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