The week in review
Hottest Team in Hoops: The Washington Wizards continue to defy expectations as they extend their winning streak to four games with their best season start in 30 years. Washington's 95-88 victory over the Chicago Bulls December 5 moves the team to 10-5 on the year and within a half game of first place in the NBA's Southeast Division. "We don't have the same team as last year– or the year before," Gilbert Arenas tells the AP after ignoring back and calf cramps to score 34 points in the win. "It's a different team. We got a different attitude, and we want to win."
Tragedies Come in Threes: The UVA men's soccer team bows out of the NCAA quarterfinals with a 3-0 setback at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils on a chilly night at Klöckner Stadium, Saturday, December 4. The Cavs had enjoyed two thrilling triumphs over the Blue Devils earlier in the season, but the third proved the charm for Duke. "We can't play any better than we did [tonight]," Duke coach John Rennie tells the Daily Progress.
Better Late than Never: It may have taken until Week 13, but the Redskins finally conquer three months of woeful offensive play against the division rival New York Giants (5-7) December 5. The Skins (4-8)– who had not broken 20 points all season– explode to put a 21 on the halftime scoreboard while cruising to a 31-7 victory and snapping their three-game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Skins' reliable defense finally is rewarded as they dominate yet another game, allowing only a New York kickoff return to prevent a perfect shutout. "At halftime [ahead 21-0], we told them they better not blow the game for us," Redskins' halfback Clinton Portis tells the AP.
Cardiac Cavalier Basketball: With the regular football season over, basketball takes center stage, and both the men's and women's squads experience early season drama. The men (6-1) pull out hard-fought victories on the road against Northwestern (48-44 December 1), and Auburn in Richmond (89-87 December 3). UVA's late rally to maintain a perfect record falls short in Ames, Iowa, though, as the Hoos suffer a heartbreaking first loss, 81-79, December 6. The ladies (5-3), meanwhile, spend their weekend outside Chicago and also dropped a nail-biter on a buzzer-beating three-point shot to No. 24 Houston 67-64. Debbie Ryan's crew quickly regroups the following day to dominate the home favorite Northwestern Wildcats 76-55 Sunday, December 5.
Strongest Revenge Statement: Three months ago the Monticello Mustangs pranced up to Albemarle's gridiron and shut down the Patriots to win local bragging rights for the fall season. But when winter athletics kicked off Friday, December 3, the AHS boy's basketball team (2-0) exacted revenge, taming the Mustangs 69-48 in their home gym. The Lady Patriots (1-1) also took care of business the same evening by throttling their cross-town rivals, 59-27.
The Week Ahead:
UVA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS. OLD DOMINION
Friday, December 10 @ 7pm
Watch as the ladies battle their in-state foe, ODU. $6 Adults, $4 Youth.
High School Boy's Basketball
CHARLOTTESVILLE VS. ALBEMARLE
Friday, December 10 @ 7:45pm
ALBEMARLE VS. WESTERN ALBEMARLE
Tuesday, December 14 @ 7:30pm
Another chapter will be added to some of the oldest rivalries in Central Virginia.
VS NEW YORK
Friday, December 10 @ 7pm
VS NEW ORLEANS
Sunday, December 12 @ 1pm
Wednesday, December 15 @ 7pm
Plenty of action at the MCI Center as the red-hot Wizards look to continue their historic start.
REDSKINS VS. PHILADELPHIA
Sunday, December 12 @ 8:30pm
The Skins will find out if last week's offensive breakthrough is truly an improvement or a fluke in an overall disappointing season. Coach Joe Gibbs hopes to prove his legitimacy when the hated and incredibly powerful Eagles (11-1) enter Fed Ex Field. Better hope for an early Christmas present if you want to score these tickets.