Sunday, April 21, 2024

Gentle Giant Keke Carrier's Auburn Giant Underdog vs. SC 2024 Champs

 The 2024 National Champs from South Carolina debut in the Value Add Basketball Game against a team I know too well, the Auburn 2009 women's team.

The biggest upset ever in a Value Add Basketball Game was the 17-point underdog 2019 Auburn men shocking the 2012 Kentucky team with Anthony Davis. Auburn will actually be an 18-point underdog in this came but they were the greatest Auburn team since the multiple National Runners-up in the late 1980s (we don't have enough stats for those teams or the undefeated Texas team from back then, but hope to add one day). 

I actually had season tickets to see this Auburn team, and was able to watch them finally beat Pat Summitt and #10 Tennessee in a packed arena of more than 11,000 at a time the Auburn men were drawing much smaller crowds. That was one of four wins against ranked teams (#17 Ohio State, #18 Florida and Tennessee again in the SEC championship as future WNBA players Whitney Boddie and DeWanna Bonner let them to a 30-4 mark and opening round win in March Madness against Lehigh.

During the season their 6-foot-7 Keke Carrier came to our house and I remember her ducking to get through a doorway at a semester end students get together my professor wife hosted that drew more than 100 students each time. Keke was a back-up that season, before starting the next year in a great inside-outside combo with sharp shooter Alli Smalley.

Late in this season 18th ranked Vanderbilt beat them, and then Vandy beat them again in the SEC tournament. After the one March Madness win, their season ended like all but one men's and women's teams season ends - with an emotional loss. 

I'm still not quite clear why 7-seed Rutgers had home court advantage against 2-seed Auburn, but unlike the Auburn roster that had not won a tournament game until the win over 15-seed TCU, the Rutgers roster was full of women who had been to a national title game followed by an Elite 8, and the home court advantage was huge as they rattled Auburn 80-52 to end the season of the best Auburn women's team of the past 30 years.

That being said, we all just watched how dominant Dawn Staley's 2024 undefeated South Carolina team was, so this game may be as tough as that Rutgers game so fellow Auburn fans may want to stop reading here. 

The result of the game is posted here.

The first screenshot below is the one we actually used against Auburn, with Raven Johnson in the game early to disrupt with steals. However, we then adjusted the team sheet to the second one below since normally you will want Raven as a  key starter to be finishing close games.

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