Saturday, March 7, 2009

After wrestling I headed down to the media room and prepared for the women's basketball game between the Terps and Duke.

I had a special interest in this game after Duke's performance in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Up by 24 with under 40 seconds to play Duke Head Coach Joanne P McCallie, still less than a year old on the Duke Coaching Staff, encouraged her squad to continue the full court press, drawing the ire of the mixed Maryland and Murray State crowd. In the post-game press conference she was unaware of the cause of the booing that ensued. After having it explained to her by a reporter she opined on the Maryland crowd "They're just great coaches aren't they. ... Clever. That must be the turtle IQ."

The put-down was noticed by others in the media and Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese tangentially remarked on it during her Maryland Madness address and again at a subsequent game at Comcast where she encouraged Maryland faithful to "show Duke Maryland's IQ." I don't think many people connected the reference but it struck a cord with me on a personal level. Pummeling an opponent with your starting lineup with a 24 point lead with 40 seconds remaining is pretty low, but doing it with a full-court press is poor judgment from a coaching standpoint. Little is learned or gained from leadership like that.

As media you are supposed to maintain a certain predisposed disposition to the events you witness while on the job but it's impossible to be completely impartial. Experience lends itself to biasness no matter how open minded you are. And with Coach McCallie's comments fresh in mind from less than 12 months ago I was extremely open to a solid Maryland throttling of the Blue Devils. And if Maryland happened to lead by 24 with 40 seconds remaining and Coach Frese decided to put all 5 starters in play and apply full court pressure that might just be poetic justice...

Truth be told Maryland throttled the Blue Devils and soundly sent them back to Durham 77-59 losers in the contest. Interestingly enough as the game came down to the final minutes Maryland protected an 18 point advantage over the Blue Devils. Coach Frese sub'ed out starters Demauria Liles with 1:35 remaining, Marissa Coleman with 1:42 remaining, Kristi Toliver with 1:42 remaining, and Lynetta Kizer with 2:24 remaining. As the final seconds ticked off the clock and the 77-59 (18 point) upset of No. 7 ranked Duke by No 9 ranked Maryland went into the record books the lone starter on the hardwood was Marah Strickland. There was no full-court press by all 5 starting Terrapins. There wasn't any running-up of the score. It was undeniably 180 degrees in the opposite direction that Duke Head Coach Joanne McCallie led her squad last year in her NCAA Tournament win.

I think that's quite interesting.

This game was also special from a photographic standpoint. A few weeks ago I picked up a Manfrotto 2929 swing arm in addition to a super-clamp. I've been purchasing used Pocket Wizard MultiMax units off of the Buy/Sell forums at and the opportunity to place a remote camera at events has opened my mind to new angles I could use to capture different perspectives of an event. I've gotten Greg's permission to attach my camera to the stantion on the hoop support structure. That gives me a much higher perspective on the players.

A few games ago I used my 14-24mm lens because I wanted to capture as much of the action as possible. After reviewing the photos I realized that a lot of the space in the paint under the net is behind the backboard and there isn't much action there. As a result I changed my approach for this game and I used a 24-70mm lens zoomed in around 35mm. I practiced my framing with the help of Emery Wallace from the Terps prior to the game.

I set my f/stop to f/5.6 so that I could have a wide depth of field when shooting. When you're up high there is a lot more light you can capture reflecting off the players and as a result an ISO of 2500 at f/5.6 with 1/500th was a good enough exposure setting. It was slightly dark but the colors were properly captured and I could increase the exposure a stop or two in post-production.

The shots from the stantion were incredible! I would love the chance to use that angle for a men's game because the presence in the paint is so significant. However, with 2 bodies I don't want to sacrifice myself and go down to a single body while on the baseline. Fortunately for me Al lent me his D3 tonight so I had 3 bodies to work with. However, if I wanted to do this on a more regular basis I'd have to invest in a third body. That might not be a problem though with Julie's growing interest in sports writing and photography.

All in all the game was an exciting one and I'm glad the Terps gave the Blue Devils a throttle. I'm sure they'll meet again this season in the ACC Tournament or in the NCAA playoffs.


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