It's 10:30 pm and I know there is some green beer somewhere in this city calling my name, but before that, here are some non-rocket science final thoughts from the four games played at the Galen Center.
Jump out quick and get the momentum of the game going your way early on - Not only does it frustrate your opponents such as the case with BYU tonight, but if you go into your game as the underdog, an early lead gives you confidence. A team that is riding high on confidence can find things in themselves that they may not have known were possible which in turn can help you walk away with a win.
Take your opponents out of their game - There was almost an upset tonight here in the West because of how UC Riverside was able to take ASU out of their game from the get go. Yet once ASU found their mojo on the floor, ASU turned it around. By finding their game in time, coach Charli Turner Thorne was able to put it so eloquently when she described her team's win with "Whew!" after seeing her team find their way back in the final five minutes.
Relax and have fun, this is a dance and a game - Part of what can prevent a team from performing how they should is how tight they are coming into a game. Yes, this part of the season is a very big deal, but remember, this is a game, play yours and have fun with it. Otherwise, those precious 40 minutes of playing time will go by in a flash and you can find yourself not only going home early, but not having enjoyed the moment at hand.
Go support a team! - When the first game started today, I seriously thought that there were more people in the support staff and media than actually sitting in the stands at the Galen Center. Yes, all of the teams that made it here had to either drive or fly a great distance (hey, Riverside can be a long drive when traffic is bad), but regardless if your team is still playing or not, go out and support a team. You never know when you will be watching a team and see something in a new player that energizes your interest in the sport. If you don't get out to a second round game or see regional site action, you'll have to wait 12 more months to experience why the madness of March makes this a month-long holiday for college basketball fans.
The Galen Center is now quiet and just like the teams that are all back at their hotels resting up after tonight, it's time for me to do the same.
Sure the most important numbers in any game are in the final score, but while the 57-50 final leaned in ASU's favor, there are some other numbers from tonight's game that are worth mentioning.
33 and 41 - These are the shooting percentages from the field of ASU and UC Riverside respectively from the first half.
After being tied up for the third time in the first four minutes of the game at six, the Highlanders went on a 10-3 run over the next five minutes to give UC Riverside a cushy 16-9 lead. ASU's Jill Noe broke up the run with a three point basket to close the lead up to four.
Four minutes later the Sun Devils came within two at a score of 21-23, but the Highlanders used a quick first step and a scrappy style of play to keep building the lead until it was 32-25 heading into the half.
12 and 2 - The number of assists the Sun Devils and Highlanders finished with respectively.
Probably the biggest descrepancy in the final box, the Sun Devils were guarded so closely that they had to keep moving the ball around until they found someone with an open shot or had some room to create a shot.
86 and 68 - The free throw percentages of ASU and UC Riverside respectively.
In the last five minutes of the game, ASU went a perfect 10-10 and hit 14-15 for the second half from the free throw line to prove once again that games can be won or lost on the easiest points to collect.
Leading the way in the numbers game for ASU was Briann January with 15, followed by Danielle Orsillo with 13 and Aubree Johnson with 11. The big woman on the boards for the Sun Devils was Johnson who was the only Sun Devil to finish with a double-double on the night.
On the UC Riverside side of the floor it was Kemie Nkele with 16 points followed by Seyram Gbewonyo, Chanel Foster and Brittany Waddel with nine points a piece. The Highlander's presence on the board was from Amber Cox who finished with a team-leading 10 boards.
The win helps ASU live another day and will face Louisville on Monday night after the Texas A&M vs. George Washington match-up at 5 pm PT.
Hold onto your hats because the next 2:28 of play here in LA could be the most interesting final minutes of the entire tournament.
ASU is currently on top with a 53-50 lead thanks to Emily Westerberg and Briann January both sinking their free throws. The free throws down the stretch have made ASU look like a completely different team. Then again, UC Riverside is also looking completely different without the leadership of Nkele on the floor.
Now in my third weekend of covering post-season games, I have found the end-all to the school bands courtesey of UC Riverside.
The Highlanders actually have a small group of eight bagpipers and one gentleman on a drum that come and support the team.
They are called the Riverside Pipe Band and yes, each member is dressed in a traditional kilt and beret.
Between seeing UC Riverside up 23-18 and the sight of the pipe band, I would like to think I am delirious on a sugar high from the almond cheesecake I had for dessert, but I really can't claim a twinkie defense right now.
All good things must come to an end and for BYU tonight, that's definately the case in their 80-54 loss to Louisville.
The Cougars were riding high on winning their conference, but for the second week in a row, finished the game with an 'L' instead of a 'W.'
This week BYU ran up against a quicker and more athletic Louisville team tonight that put the Cougars second round dreams to rest.
"They outplayed us totally," BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. "It was our worst game all year and they just seemed like they wanted it more."
The Cardinal wanted it more from the moment they got the tip-off and scored in their first possession. While there was a brief moment where BYU had cut the lead down to six, the Cardinal controlled the game.
Leading the Cardinal effort was Angel McCoughtry with 24 points and nine rebounds. Following behind her was Jazz Covington with 14 points and seven rebounds.
In addition, Louisville had all but one player on their roster put some points on the board, they shot 42% from the field compared to BYU's 38% shooting, controlled the boards 43-31 and shut out the Cougars with points off turnovers 23-0.
"We came out and didn't expect their strength or athleticism," said Judkins. "They are a lot more athletic in person than on tape."
BYU's moments of brilliance came from Dani Wright with 12 points and seven rebounds and Mallary Gillespie with 10 points.
Stay tuned, one more game from the Galen Center tonight.
We're almost halfway through the second half and with as anxious as BYU was to come into this game after losing in the finals of the Mountain West Conference tournament a week ago, the Cougars look to be one and done here tonight.
Louisville is just a better team and their execution is proving it.
The theme for the Louisville Cardinal this season has been "All that jazz" and coach Tom Collen's vision to mold 13 different talents into one sound on the court.
While in the media guide it is propaganda, right now with Louisville being up 18-7, that may not be so far fetched.
Louisville is not only taking care to run their offense, but some tough defense has taken BYU out of their game a bit and the Cougars are trying to find their game before they get taken out of this one.
The Galen Center has been cleared, the fans have returned, I've got the Louisville Cardinal pacing back and forth in front of me and the starting line-ups have been introduced, so the only thing left to do is get game No. 3 for the day started.
George Washington vs. Boise State: George Washington is upset!
George Washington just finished taking care of Boise State, 76-67.
Give the Broncos credit for only losing by nine considering at one point they were flirting with being down by 30, but a George Washington 19-0 run at the beginning of the game followed by a late game surge by Boise State that was just little bit too much, too late sealed the fate of the Broncos.
"We were like deer in the headlights at the beginning, but I am proud of how we battled back," Bosie State coach Gordy Presnell said.
Leading the way for George Washington was Kenan Cole with 16 points. Yet it was Jessica Adair with 15 points and 21, yes 21 rebounds, that was too much for the Broncos. Other notible performances for the Colonials were from Kimberly Beck and Sara-Jo Lawrence with 14 points a piece.
"We came out and wanted to show people what we were about," said Adair.
George Washington controlled the boards 57-32, thanks in large part to Adair's career-high night.
The big performances for the night from Boise State came from Nadia Begay with 26 points (which was two points short of her career-high of 28 points) and Tasha Harris with 11 points and a team-leading nine rebounds.
The Colonials will face off against the Aggies on Monday.
Stay tuned, the second half of the day begins at 5:15 pm with a BYU-Louisville match-up.
The look on George Washington's Kenan Cole as she sank her last three-pointer just said it all - dead-on intensity.
She had such beautiful focus on her shot that there was no way she was going to get nothing but net. Not only did she get the swoosh, but her team continues to pummel Boise State 59-32 with 12:35 left in the game.
You've got to hand it to Boise State, whose players are still duking it out as The Broncos No. 20 Jenna Galassi just got subbed out and looks like she is being treated for a dislocated shoulder. Yet it makes me wonder about the rest of the Western Athletic Conference.
With USC not making it into the tournament this year, the first and second rounds at the Galen Center on the USC campus, may be the worst attended event next to a Clipper game. Yet even with the poor attendance figures, there are some die-hards that have made it out.
For instance, Janice and Don "Diddy" Murphy from Atlanta who came out to cheer on their daughter Robin Murphy are wearing super-sized colonial hats. I'm working on getting the picture up.
Usually I think you could get shot, or at least get pulled over by the fashion police in LA, for wearing hats like this, but hey, their team traveled the furthest, so I think they get a break today.
Stay tuned. More fashionalble news from LA coming soon...
George Washington vs. Boise State: Experience the difference
We're halfway through the first half and with every made shot by George Washington and missed shot by Boise State, I think it's safe to officially call the game ugly at this point.
Sure the Colonial's are making their shots which is not helping the Broncos' cause, but it is their skill, athleticism, ability to run their plays, defense (is there anything else a team needs to win?) and their experience that may be the difference for today's second game.
The Colonials are here in their fifth consecutive and 14th overall tournament appearance while this is appearance No. 2 for Boise State.
Unfortunately for Boise State, this is going to be a painful experience in LA.
No. 5 seed George Washington is shutting out No. 12 seed Boise State early on.
We are at 14:49 in the first half and the Colonials have a 15-0 lead. Yes, Boise State did show up today, but with George Washington having a 6-foot-4 center, the Boise State Broncos may have to resort to shooting from the outside if they are going to make this a game.
Texas A&M vs. Texas-Arlington: One and done for the Mavericks
The 2007 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament is not big enough for two teams that bear the name of Texas as the Texas A&M Aggies just outsted the Texas-Arlington Mavericks with a final score of 58-50.
It definately wasn't a pretty game to watch and even Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said best in the post-game press conference that he was "proud of how you can not play your best, but still find a way to win."
The Aggies were out-reabounded 45-32, a beating on the boards that the Aggies last saw against Tennessee 12 years ago, but leading all scores for Texas A&M was Danielle Gant with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Follwoing her was teammate Takia Starks with 10 points.
Texas-Arlington, who shot a sad 22% from the field, was led by Terra Wallace with 18 points and Ashley Bobb with 10 points and a team-leading 15 rebounds.
Stay tuned, Boise State faces off against George Washington next...
There's nothing spectacular about this first, first round match-up of the day.
No promotions, no t-shirts being thrown out, a stingy crowd that will probably not get significantly better as the day goes on, but the Aggies do have some serious defense to write home about.
The Aggies are forcing the Mavs to take bad shots, I think I just witnessed airball number four from Texas-Arlington today, the Mavs are having their passes either picked-off or stolen and with less than a minute, you can see some frustration on the Texas-Arlington player's faces that they could have had this game.
Stay tuned...we'll have a Texas winner here in a minute...
Texas A&M is trying to make sure that their current six point lead will stick through the end of the game, but with the rebounding picture the way it is, I am not going to be terribly surprised to see the Aggies go home today.
Heading into halftime, the Mavs owned the boards 20-12. Yes, the Aggies have woken up a bit to the fact that they were out-rebounded during the first half, but as the Mavs just pulled down another defensive board, it may come down to whomever is stronger on the boards.
Forget that Texas A&M leads the all-time series against Texas-Arlington 7-3 (overall) and 3-2 (neutral), right now the No. 13 seed Mavericks are hoping to start off the day with an upset of No. 4 seed Aggies.