Dec. 10, 2008
We were gone for a week over Thanksgiving break. We started with a game at Utah in Salt Lake City. We had a 6 am flight and we had to be at school at 4:15 to leave. Most of us didn't go to sleep the night before because we didn't want to oversleep. We flew to Salt Lake on two different flights, splitting into two groups. We gained two hours when we went to Salt Lake because they are in the Mountain Time Zone.
It was freshman Mary Jackson's first flight and she was very scared when we took off. She kept jumping from seat to seat because she wasn't sure who she should sit beside. She finally sat with Angel and put a blanket over her head. Once we took off she was fine because she fell asleep.
I was on the first flight so we got to the hotel first. We got something to eat and took a nap before practice. We had practice in their auxiliary gym and then in the main gym. We had to walk in a tunnel to get to the main gym from the auxiliary gym. And the tunnel was very long! After practice we had dinner at an Italian restaurant then went back to the hotel to sleep for the night.
On game day we got up and had a good breakfast in the hotel and then went to shoot around. We came back to the hotel to rest for the game. It was a good thing we had practice the night before because the altitude in Salt Lake City was really bad and it took us some time to adjust to it. We knew that would play a factor in the game. We had a tough game against Utah and it is a hard place to play. They jumped out to a six point lead early. Angel got into early foul trouble and we had to rely on the freshmen to play crucial minutes for us. The crowd got into the game in the second half and gave Utah a lift. They pulled within three points late in the game and then Des took over the game. She was able to get to the basket or to the foul line and help us win. It was a good win for us but unfortunately Laura Terry got hurt late in the game. It is a tough loss too because LT was starting to do a good job adjusting to her new role and was productive for us.
The next morning we were off to Reno! We got there and a lot of people went to eat in the hotel. We rested for a while before practice. When we got back from practice we showered and went to dinner at the steakhouse in the hotel. Our hotel was also a casino. Dinner was nice and before dinner Angel challenged Coach Walz that he couldn't eat four saltine crackers in one minute. He first took a drink of water and then she told him he couldn't do that and we had to state the rules up front. So Coach Walz cleaned out his water glass and crumbled the crackers in it so he could spoon them out. Both Coach Walz and Coach Norman were able to eat the four crackers in one minute. We are convinced that Angel had it wrong and it was suppose to be seven crackers in one minute.
After dinner we went to watch film in Coach Walz room. I don't think it was a good time to watch film because my stomach started hurting while we watched film. I had to leave several times during film so I don't remember much of what that film session was about.
The next day was Thanksgiving. We got up and ate breakfast and went to practice. We had practice times mixed up and only had 20 minutes in the main gym. So we had to finish our practice at the other gym. Then we went back to the hotel to rest before our banquet with the other teams. We had to sit with players from the other teams when we ate our dinner. There was a big buffet and lots of choices. The best part of the dinner was the dessert.
The next day was game day and we played Alabama. We started out slow against them but Angel had one of her better games of the year. They weren't able to stop her and we held them under 50 points to advance to the championship game. While we have won five straight games, I don't think we have played up to our potential yet. We had yet to have everyone clicking on all cylinders and that causes concern.
The next night we faced Nevada and they came out ready to play. We started out good and had a 10 point lead and then Angel had two early fouls and coach had to sit her because he couldn't take a chance that she would get a third foul. The way the officials were calling the game, we couldn't risk her getting the third foul. While Angel was on the bench they were able to get back into the game and we can't allow that anymore. They were able to build confidence and with that confidence they started to make shots they usually wouldn't make. We didn't play well on defense and in the end it cost us the game.
Coach Walz was disappointed in us afterwards. He had been telling us that if we don't come to play every night something like this we would happen and it did. He told us not to hang our heads.
The next day we were ready to leave, it had been a long week. We left in the afternoon and were suppose to be back at midnight. When we got to the airport they told us that there was bad weather in Chicago so we sat in the Reno airport for three hours. When we finally got to Chicago we had missed our flight. Everyone was tired and really wanted to get home. They couldn't find a bus for us so we rented five mini vans and drove home that night. It was good to be home too! But we wouldn't be home for too long, we left on Wednesday for a tough game against Middle Tennessee State.
We will finally return home on Sunday, Dec. 7 against Ball State for a noon tipoff. I am looking forward to seeing all of you in Freedom Hall. We will have plenty of games for you over the next month and we need you in the stands to help cheer us on at the games!