Zapruder Analysis of a Women's Basketball Sucker Punch for the Ages

I'm not a big women's basketball guy.

That statement is not meant as a slight toward women. I love women! I'm just not a huge fan of their brand of basketball, which is built around a seemingly stronger gravitational pull than the men's game and a false veil of "fundamental superiority" over their male counterparts (despite the fact that women shoot the ball worse and turn the ball over more than men).

(NOTE: The "fundamental superiority" narrative, as best I can recall, was fostered by none other than the late John Wooden, the greatest men's college basketball coach of all time. It might have been his only bad take.)

So if women's hoops finds its way onto this blog in a post authored by me, assume it has nothing to do with dribbling, shooting, passing, or any intrinsic basketball activity.

And certainly this post has almost none of those things.

Dateline, Finnish Basketball League, a game between something called "Honka" and something called "ToPo," which are two names where, if there were a drinking game called "Fraggle Rock characters or Finnish basketball team names?", I would have gotten destroyed.

If you watch the video clip below, at the very beginning you'll see a player in white (that's Team Honka, or on Twitter #TeamHonka) wearing number 33 run into a player in blue (by process of elimination that's Team ToPo, or #TeamToPo, you get it), and crash hard onto the floor.

The player in white is named Shanel Harrison, an American player who played college ball at La Salle and Virginia Tech. The player in blue is named Niina Laakso. Needless to say, this video does not end well....

WOW. I mean...ok, time for some Zapruder action on this footage:

0:00 -- Keep an eye on the left hand side of the screen, as Harrison makes her way up the floor and runs toward Laakso. Laakso sets a hard pick on Harrison. Only one problem. Laakso's team is on defense, so she can't be setting a pick. So what the offense would call a hard pick, the defense would call a stiff belly bump that sends Harrison to the floor (also, it should have been a foul).

0:04 -- Honestly, Harrison's bump that she takes looks slightly phony. If this were a wrestling match in ECW back in the late 90's, the crowd would be shitting all over Harrison for her bumps not looking real. But since Laakso shouldn't have even been bumping her in the first place, I'll assume it's real. Also, Harrison might have clunked her noggin on the floor on the way down, so she gets the benefit of the doubt there.

0:10 -- Honka runs their play and gets a decent look at a finger roll, but the ball comes off and Laakso gets the rebound, and if you notice, in the process she destroys another Honka player with a hip check. For someone who is about to get her cranium rotated like a set of bald tires by Harrison in about eight seconds, Laakso does not evoke much sympathy from me. She's a bit of a menace.

0:15 -- The players jog back down the floor, because Finnish women's basketball is exciting.

0:16 -- And then....

0:17 --- ....oh no.....

0:18 -- ...GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY!! GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY!!! THEY KILLED HER!!!.....GOD AS MY WITNESS, SHE IS BROKEN IN HALF!!! Laakso goes down in a crash landing, and somewhere Rudy Tomjanovich just had an "Obi Wan when Alderaan blows up" moment, where he felt one singular voice cry out in terror....and in this case, cry and cry some more.

0:24 -- Ok, what is the referee doing? Dude was right there, saw the punch, and as Laakso's oversized carcass tumbles to the hardwood, he's more worried about the clock being stopped than tossing Harrison out of the game. I mean, say what you will about Joey Crawford, but if he were on the floor, Harrison would have had a heaping helping of Crawford up in her grill. Joey would have totally made it about Joey, but at least Harrison would have been tossed right away. This ref was jogging over there like Harrison just reached in on Laakso (which technically I guess she did, she just used a fist and reached in on Laakso's face).

0:35 -- Clearly, the crowd is concerned there is no crowd because the silence in the arena allows us to clearly hear the guttural wailing from Laakso, like a wounded animal or mythical creature who has been partially vanquished. (Staying with the Star Wars theme, she sounds like Walrus Man after Obi Wan sliced his arm off in the bar fight when the dude was bullying Li'l Lukey.)

0:42 -- The referee finally calls something and every fan in attendance begins to clap and cheer. (NOTE: There was one person clapping and cheering.)

Seriously, how has this footage not been "Jim Ross'd" yet? Step your game up, internet.


Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

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