2016 FBA Season/15.12.06/[email protected]/Capsule

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Preseason games traditionally do not draw the same sort of attendance numbers as regular season competitions, but last night’s game at Crawdad Stadium was a notable exception.

An optimist might chalk it up to a fan base starved for basketball after a strike-prolonged offseason, but the truth may have had more to do with the Biloxi Voodoo’s opponent and, more specifically, their starting power forward. Analysts might be quick to point out that officially last night’s game, the last of the preseason, means nothing in the standings, but to the thousands on Mississippians present last night it wasn’t about the standings; it was a matter of pride.

Last night marked Rosalie Smoot (American Bison, F/C)’s first game as a visitor to the stadium that had been her home since she was drafted in 2013. Many diehard Voodoo fans view the bison’s decision to accept an offer from rival Tallahassee Typhoons as a betrayal of the highest order. When the Typhoons stepped out onto the court, Smoot received as many boos as Biloxi hero Lucas Dupre (Red Fox, G) received cheers. Miniature bison voodoo dolls, though not officially condoned by Biloxi management, were present in abundance. So were pins.

The chilly reception did nothing to slow Smoot down; if anything, it energized her. The bison matched the Voodoo’s own starting power forward Lee Evans (Great Dane, F) rebound-for-rebound and then proceeded to outscore him 15 to 10. Dupre delivered a 22-point performance in the second game of the prodigal Guarantee’s triumphal return to Biloxi, but ultimately the Voodoo proved no match for the Typhoons’ depth. The remaining Dawg Pack of Klaus Korber (Doberman, G) and Jake Velox (Swift Fox, G) put up 16 points each, but the forward pairing of Smoot and Amelia Odessa Springer (Goat, F) put forth a convincing argument for deserving a catchy nickname of their own. Hoof Pack, maybe? We’ll work on it.

An offhand comment by Tallahassee head coach Hildegard Tetreault in the offseason has lead the squad to adopt “Unstoppable” as both hashtag and motto, and last night was a clear demonstration of why the word is more than just an idle boast. The Typhoons seem ready to settle for nothing less than the Healey Davis.

When Smoot was asked about the crowd’s reaction after the game, the Player of the Game had this to say: “Really, I didn’t even hear it. My two biggest fans were there and they were louder to me than the whole stadium.” The bison was of course referring to her husband and daughter, who were seated courtside.

-S. St. James

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