Saturday Sports: NCAA Women's Basketball And The Denver Nuggets

12 hours ago
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And no matter what else happens in the world, time for sports.

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SIMON: NCAA women's basketball gets rough on Twitter. The Denver Nuggets are at the top of the NBA's Western Conference. Wait, wait, is that a misprint? And Washington, D.C.'s football team with the name I will not utter has signed a journeymen to play backup quarterback. (Laughter) What - they didn't want a quarterback who played in the Super Bowl? We're going to turn now to Tom Goldman. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: My pleasure, Scott.

SIMON: UConn and Notre Dame already have a great rivalry on court, but this is getting, like, really personal on Twitter, isn't it?

GOLDMAN: Ooh, yeah, it really is. Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw reportedly blocked on Twitter current WNBA star and former UConn star Breanna Stewart, who led the Huskies to four straight NCAA championships. And that action by McGraw prompted some Twitter zingers like, haha, Breanna, you blocked her from getting four titles, so it's only right that she blocks you back. But wait, Scott.

SIMON: Ooh, ooh, yeah.

GOLDMAN: There's more. There's more. You want to hear?

SIMON: Yeah, please.

GOLDMAN: OK. All right. So...

SIMON: Wait, children are listening. Go ahead. Yeah.

GOLDMAN: OK, cover their ears. So two teams - these two teams, top two in the nation, they played last weekend - the first time they'd met since Notre Dame stunned UConn at last season's final four. UConn got its revenge, pounded Notre Dame by 18, and the UConn official Twitter account posted, thank you, next. And there were technical fouls. There was trash talk. And I think...

SIMON: Ooh, I'm shaking like a leaf - yeah.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) I think this makes a great rivalry even greater. You know, we see this melodrama all the time in men's sports. And, yes, Scott, I'm promoting the further degradation of society. But, hey, WNBA star Chiney Ogwumike agrees with me. She tweeted, our game does not need to be proper or perfect all the time. We need the drama, the disses, the controversies. We need to be real.

SIMON: Tom, you and I often degrade society, but let me ask you about Denver Nuggets. They lost last night to Charlotte, but they've got the best record in the West. Are they just on a hot streak?

GOLDMAN: Well, they're more than that, I think. They're - and it's pretty cool what's happening in a city not known as a hoops mecca. In a star-driven league, the Nuggets are largely unknown to, you know, casual NBA fans, players like Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez, Monte Morris. They're really good, and they're playing well together. They're playing great defense. And the one emerging superstar, 7-foot center Nikola Jokic from Serbia, he's got a complete game, and he's a beautiful passer. I went on YouTube and watched a Jokic passing highlight video. I didn't have anything better to do, Scott. And I was oohing and aahing. I'd recommend it if you've got some free time.

SIMON: So Washington's football team - Alex Smith, Colt McCoy, out. They (laughter) had signed Mark Sanchez, quarterback probably best known for a fumble when he bumped into the backside of one of his own players.

GOLDMAN: The butt fumble.

SIMON: The butt fumble. Now as a substitute quarterback, Josh Johnson - why would they sign a guy who was playing for the Sacramento Mountain Lions in the USFL instead of Colin Kaepernick, who has been in the Super Bowl?

GOLDMAN: Well, they said they passed up Kaepernick because his skill set isn't similar to Mark Sanchez's, so it would have required...

SIMON: Oh, he hasn't bumped the ball into some player's butt.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) It would have required Washington to install a new offense. It's the latest excuse for keeping Kaepernick on the blacklist, and it doesn't look good. But hey, Scott, at least Washington's still alive for a playoff spot - barely.

SIMON: Oh, my gosh, I didn't know that. Well, they hardly deserve it, I don't mind saying. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman, thanks so much for being with us.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.