Several factors make this final play from the Stetson vs Belmont game of March 04, 2011 the greatest college basketball play ever...
The greatness of the final play from the Stetson vs Belmont game is not just the shot, it was the absolute perfect execution that preceded the game winning shot with no time out to even plan it, and only 1.4 seconds (actually 1.3 seconds) to perform it.
This game ending, buzzer beating play is analyzed below in pictures, please note that all aspects of the game of baseketball were on display in the final 1.4 seconds of this game.Spontaneity, (no times out left), defensive pursuit (many times buzzer beaters feature a player who at least has a spot on the court from which to take the game winning shot), an inbounds pass, a 90 degree change in direction, a dribble, and a shot from 55 feet, all happening in 1.3 official seconds, wow.
At the beginning of the final play of the Stetson vs Belmont college basketball game McGowan is literally under her own basket running parallel to the baseline so she can receive the inbounds pass.
McGowan instinctively realizes that if she doesn't start running towards the other basket, the odds of making such a long shot while her momentum is taking her sideways is probably zero....
....so as McGowan runs at full speed while maintaining eye contact with her teammate that is inbounding the ball to her, (below)
the inbound teammate has to quickly get both feet out of bounds before throwing the ball in perfect lock step with McGowan (below). It is important to realize that if the inbounder had not properly timed her super fast feet shuffling so that both feet were out of bounds when she threw the ball to McGowan as she was passing by, the two would have been out of sync from the get go with disastrous results,
McGowan is also being pursued by a defender whose only job is to distract McGowan just long enough for time to expire. (below) Even as McGowan is anticipating the ball, she still pivots her legs and feet for a tremendous boost of upcourt speed. (below)
McGowan also keeps her right arm extended (below) as both a guide for the inbounder to focus on where to throw the ball. McGowan's extended arm also shortens the passing distance between her and her teammate, this also helps prevents the pursuing player from trying to slap the ball away as defender would instead be slapping McGowan's arm, resulting in a foul.
That simple arm extension created three positive results! McGowan also uses the extended arm to maintain optimal balance as she runs (make that FOUR positive things).
McGowan now begins to turn her head up court (below) to maximize her up court speed. This is a moment in time when ballplayers, trying to shave milliseconds off the task at hand, look away from the passer and the ball just a moment too soon and end up bobbling the ball. The "look away too soon" moment happens in football when a wide receiver is trying to turn and run just before the football has actually arrived.
The inbounder leads McGowan perfectly (below) thanks in part to the extended arm, and McGowan manages to turn her head at the earliest possible moment without missing the pass.
The countdown game clock does not not start until McGowan actually touches the ball, which only happens after McGowan is already in a full sprint upcourt. The result is a perfectly thrown inbound short pass caught in the best possible manner to ensure the fastest speed up the court has just occurred. (below)
But now McGowan faces a new problem. If McGowan does not dribble the ball at least once, she will be charged with traveling and the shot won't count even if it goes in. (below)
The clock has already started running down from 1.4 seconds the moment McGowan touched the ball. The defender is unable to make up any ground on McGowan! (below)
This ultra critical dribble requires the ball hitting the ground and then bouncing back up.
Are you kidding me?
How can McGowan afford the luxury of letting the ball hit the ground (below) with the clock just one tick away from zero seconds when McGowan should actually be lining up for her game winning shot???
Perfect execution up to this point has resulted in the pursuing defender unable to gain any ground on McGowan, who has to both run and dribble at the same time. (below)
Now look at McGowan's hands in the picture below. Even with the dribbled ball barely having begun its ascent from the hardwood floor, McGowan has already parallel positioned her hands to take the final, game winning shot!
McGowan is preparing to shoot the ball, without the ball!!!
This is the very definition of fluidity in motion. As the dribbled ball bounces forward and upward in perfect synchronicity with McGowan's forward running speed, McGowan has already begun to prepare for the game winning shot, even as the ball is still in front and untouched by her. (below)
The perfectly dribbled advancing ball bounces precisely into the hands of McGowan, hands that are already in their shooting position! (below) If you just showed the picture below to a basket expert, they would naturally assume that McGowan recoiled the ball to her chest, then threw it, but that is not what happened, nor could it have happened as the clock would have run down to zero before McGowan could get the shot off!
Notice also that at ALL TIMES McGowan is RAPIDLY MOVING up the court towards the basket. McGowan literally ran up to the ball that was moving forward rather than grab the ball and pull it towards her, which would have wasted precious time that truly did not exist. (below)
All McGowan has to do now is release the ball with at least 0.1 seconds left, and make the shot from 55 to 60 feet away, ha ha ha. (below)
Shooting from 55 to 50 feet away is an easier task than taking the shot from the baseline where McGowan was just a scant few moments earlier, but the risk of running out of time before the shot is released has escalated. Gaining momentum, distance, focus and accuracy all becomes a moot point if the buzzer goes off before the ball has left McGowan's hand. (below)
This absolute textbook sequence of last second time management allows McGowan to take that one extra millisecond of time and put a bit of force behind the ball, and with that force comes a bit more accuracy as well. McGowan has taken that one final moment to aim the ball at the basket that sits 60 feet away and 10 feet off the ground. (below)
If you gauge where the ball is in the picture above, and the picture below, you can clearly see that both McGowan and the ball were always moving forwards up the floor, eating up valuable distance before attempting the shot. Remember that that one key dribble prevented a traveling charge from being called while allowing McGowan to travel anywhere from 10 to 20 feet closer to the basket before shooting.
Notice that the defender never did make up any ground. (below) Notice a second defender in front has raised their hands to try and distract the throw.
After viewing the "after the shot" form in the image below, doesn't it just seem like the shot is going to go in? You can watch the youtube clip at the top of this article to see the shot and the final bit of walk off magic. One wonders if the second defender had charged harder and jumped up rather than stay on her heels, if that might have been enough of a distraction to force a miss. Or, could the defender have ended up making contact with McGowan, resulting in foul shots. (below)
Now just imagine for a moment if the shot had rimmed out.
The greatest college basketball play ever made would have never existed, even though it is pretty evident that missing the shot was only the final act in a complex sequence of actions that got McGowan to the point where she could actually take the winning shot.
Even more amazing to me was that the opposing team (Belmont), had just made a very fine play to take the lead with 1.4 seconds left, and which probably also took the wind out of Stetson's sails. Stetson had no timeouts and literally had to wing this play!
Most importantly, no one gave up and this gave Stetson their best chance at executing such fluid final play movement which allowed the shot to be taken from a more advantageous place on the court.
Congratulations to Stetson, the player who inbounded the ball so perfectly, and Victoria McGowan for making the shot.
Thanks to ESPN for sharing the greatest college basketball play ever with their audience.
And now I'll let you all in on why I took a few hours out of my day to capture all of the frames and create the commentary and order of the frames for this article (it was more time consuming than you might imagine).
Two days ago I viewed the crazy ending to the 2011 NCAA March Madness tournament game between Butler and Pittsburgh.
The final 8 seconds of that Butler vs Pittsburgh 2011 game took approximately 10 minutes to play and there were several errors made, plus an additional tactical error was made after everyone thought no more errors would be made. Even then, the very final play had a huge tactical error made that was not even noticed or discussed.
Yet millions probably saw the Butler vs Pittsburgh game and probably thought that it was a great basketball game with an amazing emotional ending.
Do you see the irony? The men play an exciting game that features error after error in the final 8 seconds, and they are oohed and awed and talked about at the water cooler the next day.Stetson wins a basketball game on an incredible, skill laden final play that was preceded by a very skillful play by Belmont as well, yet at the time this article was first written less than 6,000 people had viewed the ESPN video clip that occurred TWO WEEKS AGO.
Is it any wonder that Hillary Clinton cannot win the democratic nomination when women in general have their amazing exploits downplayed, trivialized and ignored while the men can make stupid play after stupid play and it is called incredible, memorable, exciting basketball.
If you would like to read another example of how the media de-emphasizes the role of media in any situation where men are involved, you may want to read the Daily PUMA article about the 2009 Harvard College Professor Intruder Story, Once again, BARACK OBAMA EXCLUDES the FEMALES as he POUNDS DOWN a COUPLE of WHITE HOUSE BEERS with his MATES, CROWLEY and GATES.