Yesterday, I gave examples of overused, trite terms that have come into the American vernacular over the last decade or so.

And today, a couple of championship-level teams showed a tremendous amount of resilience in situations where they fell behind early.

First, in an interstate girls’ lacrosse game, Brooklandville St. Paul’s School for Girls (Md.), a team with 11 games already played this year, played defending CIAC champion Darien (Conn.). The Gators roared out of the box with the game’s first three goals, trying to erase memories of last year’s one-goal defeat at Tierney Field.

But Darien, a side which graduated a lineup-ful of seniors, did extremely well in its resilience. The Blue Wave came back by the interval and ran out 9-7 winners over St. Paul’s. The key juncture of the game was Sadie Stafford’s two quick goals in the final four minutes of the third quarter to give the hosts a 7-6 lead.

In similar fashion, it was the South Carolina women’s basketball team which had to show excellence of execution and grit as the Gamecocks fell behind to Iowa. Indeed, the 20-11 early deficit showed the spectacular play of guard Caitlin Clark.

However, I think the game turned on a play in the final 25 seconds of the first half. Clark was bringing the ball up the court and was matched up on Raven Johnson, a sophomore guard. Clark was caught in possession and Johnson took the ball up the court for what turned out to be an uncontested layup.

The half ended with South Carolina leading 49-46. But mentally, that turnover counted for more than just the two points Johnson scored. The bucket changed the team talk; Iowa could have been at the lead. Instead, South Carolina scored the first nine points of the third quarter in under two minutes, and never allowed Iowa to get back into the game.

The results of these two games makes you wonder one thing: is resilience something that can be coached?

I think so; Dawn Staley and Lisa Lindley are two women who aren’t just X’s and O’s types of coaches. They understand the kinds of players that they are coaching, how well they work together, and what is necessary for collective success.

Especially in situations when things may not have gone right in the early phases of a game.


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