Dave Leno, Sportscaster with Booming Voice and Engaging Personality
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Dave Leno's Blog
- Written by Dave Leno
- Published on Friday January 03rd, 2014
After Louisville stunned the women's basketball world by knocking off Brittany Griner and #1 Baylor at last year's NCAA Sweet 16, the nation really bought into Cardinals. And rightfully so. UL advanced to its second national championship game losing to UCONN for the second time on that stage (the other being 2009). Under head coach Jeff Walz, the Cardinals are 15-5 in tournament play. The club is 19-16 overall in postseason competition. The former Maryland assistant really has orchestrated one of the most potent offenses - they're the #7 scoring team in the country - and have attracted fans from both sides of the Mississippi. So, when I prepared for Louisville's matchup at Temple on New Year's Day, realizing the Owls only had 9 active players, I knew it would be a daunting task for Tonya Cardoza's squad to pull off the upset.
The Owls had a brief 3-1 lead for 11 seconds, but that was quickly evaporated thanks to the size advantage in the post. Despite foul trouble, Sara Hammond and Asia Taylor were sparkplugs for the Cardinals without Shoni Schimmel being herself early on. I remember Schimmel just had 2 pts for the majority of the first half until she scored 3 straight baskets. But that's Shoni in a nutshell. She is very streaky and certainly fun to watch. Along with her younger sister Jude, Shoni makes announcing basketball so great because you never know what she is going to do next. Hoist a 3, coast in for a reverse, make a no-look pass, Shoni is the flashy one whereas Jude, the point guard, is the blue-collar player. Both forced Temple to commit over 20 turnovers in the game (UL had >20 as well) and helped hinder TU freshman sensation Feyonda Fitzgerald, who didn't score a point. With Temple losing its returning leading scorers the last two years, having a gem like Fitzgerald means everything to the Owls. As she goes, so do the Owls. In her absense on Wednesday, Natasha Thames, the lone forward in the 4-guard starting lineup stepped up and made it somewhat of a ballgame without the defiicit getting blown wide open. In the end, Louisville won by 9, lifting its record to 2-0 in the AAC; Temple was dealt its first lost in conference action. It wasn't the prettiest of games with the total turnovers eclipising 50, but my partner Julianne Viani and I did a great job dissecitng the trends and weaved in some cool nuggets. Here are some highlights:
- Written by Dave Leno
- Published on Thursday December 26th, 2013
Alongside the New Years Day festivities, there will be tons of sports on TV Jan. 1 highlighted by plush bowl games, and of course college basketball. I'm shifting gears from men to women's hoops at Temple for a American Athletic Conference clash against #7 Louisville. (UCONN is the only other AAC team ahead of UL in the top-25 at the #1 spot.) The Cardinals are beginning AAC action with SMU on Sunday at 3pm on ESPNU. Meanwhile, the Owls visit Memphis later this weekend. I look forward to watching Louisville star Shoni Schimmel who averages over 16ppg. Her squad also tallies nearly 89 points per contest. Impressive! Sara Hammond is the second leading scorer on the team with 10ppg.
Temple started off its season with a bang winning its first 3, but since it's been back and forth in the win-loss column. The Owls are 3-3 at home led by Feyonda Fitzgerald who is cashing in 16ppg. While the team only averages 69ppg, it has 3 different players in double figures to Louisville's two. I look forward to working with former Marist player Julianne Viani. We are announcing the game from historic McGonigle Hall on the Temple campus, a small, 3,000 seat gym next to The Liacouras Center. Join us New Years Day at 4pm ET on ESPN3!
- Written by Dave Leno
- Published on Sunday December 22nd, 2013
It was the most thrilling broadcast week of my TV career. The magic started on Wednesday night as Temple welcomed Texas Southern. It was the first meeting between the AAC-SWAC schools, so the teams only could refer to video from their opponent's prior games. There were many Philly connections, but none no bigger than Aaric Murray coming home to play amid his family and friends. See, Murray went to Glen Mills HS in the Philly area and started his collegiate career at LaSalle. But, due to some off-the-court issues, Murray parted ways with the Explorers and took his talents to West Virginia. Unfortunetly, the problems persisted; Murray and coach Bob Huggins didn't see eye-to-eye, and just like that he was off to his third school in Texas Southern. TSU coach Mike Davis, along with the help of fmr NBA coach John Lucas, are mentoring Murray. By the looks of it on Wed, the tutoring is certainly working! Murray went off for 48 pts, the most scored this year in college basketball. What's even more shocking is his 20-28 field goals! Usually when kids go for 48, they're taking 40 shots, but not Murray who lite it up from the paint and the perimeter. He should be an NBA player if he keeps his off-the-court record clean. Temple get climbing back despite Murray's domiance and even took its first lead late in the contest. Sportscenter carried the final possessions LIVE on ESPNNews, which was thrilling for me, personally! Here's the stomach-turning finish:
To continue this theme, we had a barnburner yesterday as Rutgers competed against Army. Both teams have sufferred losing streaks early in their respective seasons. I was fortunate to call a Rutgers game, the first this year, when the Scarlet Knights topped Florida A&M. So, it was my first time seeing the Black Knights in person, and boy does Zach Spiker use a lot of personnel. Maybe 12 or 13 guys got into the game yesterday! Certainly was tough keeping track but I held my own. I give a lot of credit to Army storming out to a 8-0 lead at the RAC. The two programs were meeting for the first time since 1978 with Rutgers taking the last 4 games. But in the teams' 24th meeting yesterday, it seemed from the start the Black Knights were trying to prove that they are for real. I'll tell ya, we had 10 ties and 10 lead changes. Despite Rutgers' Myles Mack hitting the game-winning shot with 3.5 seconds left, Army certainly delievered amid a national viewing audience. It was another game where I was standing at the end, I couldn't sit down! Announcing back-to-back games that came down to the final possession was the icing on the cake! It's everything a broadcast wants. We don't root for the teams, we root for a good game! Here's the last 2 minutes: