These four squads have plenty of ties
To get ready for Sunday's State Farm Tip-Off Classic -- Texas vs. Duke and Purdue vs. Kansas State -- we can do some six-degrees-of-separation stuff with these four teams:
Curry doesn't need to worry about Beard this weekend, but she will have to the next week at the Jimmy V Classic when the Boilermakers meet the Blue Devils.
"Having the chance to watch Alana grow up in Louisiana,'' said Curry, a former assistant at Louisiana Tech, "and to see her become the player she is and the impact she's had on the game has been special.''
"I'm really excited -- I worked their elite camp not long after I got to Duke, but other than that I haven't been back there,'' Goestenkors said. "The fans were always wonderful there; it's grown so much. There were maybe 400 people in the stands my first year.''
But in 1990, the Boilermakers came close to selling out Mackey for a game with Iowa, drawing 13,498.
"I remember when we walked out for that game, it was an unbelievable feeling,'' she said. "We had pumped up that game all summer and fall leading up to that season.
"We talked about it with the players, but you couldn't prepare for it. You just had to experience it. It was sort of like us (at Duke) selling out for UConn last season. That was a new experience for us.''
K-State coach Deb Patterson said, "By and large, you can go into the game knowing what to expect from the first five players both teams put on the floor. The difference-makers may actually be the young players.''
Here's a "Was it predestination?'' fun fact: Ohlde was born on the very day the Kansas State women's program played its first NCAA Tournament game.
So there they are ... four teams that all have dreams of ending the season in New Orleans. Duke and Texas are among the front-runners for that trip, of course, having made the Final Four last season.
Purdue as a program has showed very recently (1999, 2001) that it can go that far. Kansas State justifiably faces far more skeptics, but -- other than in their freeze-up, freak-out loss to Notre Dame last March -- few would ever say the Wildcats aren't a blast to watch.
"We're excited just to be a part of this event,'' Patterson said. "Everyone who loves women's basketball will be tuning into these two games.''Mechelle Voepel is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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