March 14, 2017

Tournament Fantasies Fantastique

By Warren Grimes

Most fantasies don’t work out.

Actually, that’s an understatement. Almost all fantasies don’t happen, at least in the form we envision them.

Still, fantasies are for having.

Only one team’s fans may have a legitimate expectation of winning the women’s national championship. U Conn fans have been spoiled, and, someday, they may have fantasies about reliving the past. For now, and for the rest of us, it’s still a good thing that we can fantasize about our team’s chances. And the team and the coaches should join in the fantasizing.

Fantasies make people work hard, strive, and do good things. The French composer Hector Berlioz pined for an Irish actress. He even wrote a symphony for her. I don’t think she was sufficiently impressed. But Berlioz wrote Symphonie Fantastique. That’s a good thing.

So if the Stanford players and coaches are fantasizing about a national championship, I say go for it. They will play harder, they will be more focused, and, win or lose, they will do good things.

This year’s team has already done some amazing things in Seattle. Was it a fantasy that Stanford could defeat UW at home, especially after digging themselves into an 18 point first half hole? Was it a fantasy that Stanford, again in Seattle, could win the Pac-12 tournament final with only 48 total points, especially after allowing Oregon State to score 22 points in the first quarter alone?

Well, been there. Done that.

Now the magic of Seattle has to play out in other venues, starting with Kansas. Listen, if Dorothy can get from Kansas to Oz and back, Stanford should be able get from Kansas to Lexington to Dallas.

Well, here are some fantasies for this Stanford team.

Win six more games. Long odds for that, but fantasies aren’t bound by odds.

Meet another Pac-12 team in the tournament. There are no other Pac12 teams in Stanford’s half of the bracket, so making the final four is the only way this fantasy can happen.

Meet California, Oregon, UCLA or Washington in the tournament. Those teams are in the other bracket, so this can only happen if Stanford makes the final game.

Have at least two Stanford players have career games. Stanford’s best tournament runs have frequently been accompanied by individual career games (I recall Jayne Appel, Candice Wiggins, JJ Hones and Taylor Greenfield doing this). It would be nice to have each of the seniors do this, but heck, I’ll cheer for any and all.

Play their Hearts Out - If Stanford does this, win or lose, the season will end on a high note.

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