Men's college basketball coaches talk often about "toughness." These coaches use "tough" and "toughness" in different ways, to mean different things. Often, they mean determined or resilient. Because the men's coaches talk about toughness so often, sports reporters covering men's teams write often about toughness. They don't often write about women players being tough (or determined or resilient). But they are.
Sunday's Duke-Carolina women's game in Chapel Hill provided a good example. In the first half, Duke forward Haley Peters took an elbow in the mouth that took 16 stitches to close, inside and outside her mouth. You won't often seen a bloodier basketball player. This might have exceeded the Tyler Hansbrough and Eric Montross bloody incidents well known to long-time ACC men's fans.
Click here to read the game story about Duke's win Sunday. Click on "photo gallery" to see Peters bloodied and later on the bench with some of her stitches visible. Peters returned with 11:44 remaining in the game, hit a jump shot and later had a key rebound. She finished with nine points and seven rebounds. She helped her team win a close game. "I'm here to play," she said. "I'm not here to watch." Now that's tough. You won't see a more determined performance this season. --John Drescher