On March 8 at 10p.m., the second episode of UConn: The March to Madness premiered on HBO. The episode reflected on the end of the regular season and gave a snapshot of the American Athletic Tournament. Although the episode has some funny moments and lots of “Geno-isms,” the episode glances over the games like they are second nature even though it is a documentary about the women’s basketball team.
The 28-minute episode spends half the time looking at the student-athletes off the court and at practice, and the tournament coverage does not begin until halfway through. Don’t get me wrong, seeing the team as students is one of the best parts of the show, but the viewer does not want to see more shots of Mohegan Sun than sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson going 10 for 10 from behind the arc. The championship game where Samuelson made 10 straight threes and scored 40 points in 28 minutes is glossed over in one to two sentences and they do not announce that she was the tournament most valuable player, or that sophomore Napheesa Collier and junior Gabby Williams were selected to the All-Conference Team.
Hopefully, in the upcoming episodes, there will be a little more emphasis on the games and hearing the coaches and players’ mic’d up rather than having the games seem like a footnote on the bottom of the page. Despite the last paragraph, the episode as a whole was enjoyable yet again, as there are some great interviews with assistant coach Chris Daley, freshman Crystal Dangerfield’s parents and Samuelson’s father. HBO does a very good job of bringing both the student and the athlete out of the players, showing the juxtaposition between the two.
Another highlight of the episode was that the fans were able to see junior Kia Nurse’s rehabilitation treatments and learn more about her injury. It was interesting to see how technology has evolved and what the new methods and apparatus used for recovery are.
Lastly, another great highlight of the episode was the trip to the farm with Samuelson and senior Tierney Lawlor, as Lawlor might be the least known player on the team, due to the fact that she is a walk-on. Although Lawlor was briefly mentioned in the first episode in regards to senior day, it was good to learn more about her and her future ambitions. The trip to the farm also provided another funny moment with Samuelson that was equal to the first episode with her and Williams in the kitchen.
The episode ended with the conclusion of the American Athletic Conference Tournament. Episode three, premiering at 10 p.m. on March 15, seems like it will be about the team and coaches during their week off, as UConn students will start their Spring Break this upcoming weekend. With selection Monday, March 13, I am excited to see how the players react to their opening opponent and how they will game plan for the NCAA tournament.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.