One of the seven elements of news value — what makes something newsworthy — is “oddity/novelty,” I tell my beginning News Writing students.
I saw a good example in Wingate University’s home women’s basketball game against Tusculum on Saturday as we sent another team from Sports Reporting class to provide coverage. The visiting Pioneers must have the biggest disparity between their shortest and tallest players of just about any college basketball team in the country — a fact which a colleague of mine who teaches psychology pointed out would make a good example for a statistics class in central tendency.
Their starting point guard is 4-foot-11 Jasmine Gunn, a speedy player who has a low, crouching style of dribbling that makes her difficult to guard by any living creature with two legs. At the other extreme is 6-foot-8 junior center Catherine Hintz, a formidable-looking young lady who doesn’t have much of a vertical jump, but doesn’t seem to much need it.
It gave Wingate fans the unusual experience of seeing someone who towered over the Bulldogs’ own able and vastly-improving post woman, 6-foot-4 Stacie Rhodes. As a matter of fact, one of the more amusing sights in the game was the diminutive Gunn trying in vain to climb up Rhodes’ back for a rebound early in the second half of the game, a 67-60 Tusculum victory.
My second straight — and thankfully last — three-game Saturday of the season finished at Belmont Abbey, always a favorite road destination for me. Go to this blog’s entry of Feb. 21, 2009, for an account I wrote of a visit to this little Catholic school in Gaston County, N.C, where the legendary Al McGuire started his college basketball coaching career.
The Crusaders defeated Queens 83-76 in a Conference Carolinas’ men’s game at the Wheeler Center, a facility which provides a nice home court atmosphere. I’m not sure whether this nickname is new, but the student cheering section is called the “Red Sea,” appropriate for a church-related school, I suppose. And I enjoyed their full-throated version of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer,” which they struck up towards the end of the game.
Senior guard Patrick Kuhlman’s late three-pointer answered it for them, giving Belmont Abbey some game-turning cushion to the 74-73 lead it held at the time, and giving Queens a tough loss in a road game the Royals had played pretty well.