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J.J.'s Journal. . .Feb. 24

Senior guard Jessika Stratton shares this week's entry in "J.J.'s Journal."

Senior guard Jessika Stratton shares this week's entry in "J.J.'s Journal."

Feb. 24, 2004

It was the week of the Waco land run, both Oklahoma teams looking to steal a piece of our home and a victory. We had a desire to win and did not want to be denied what was rightfully ours. The very muscular fella on the UnderArmor commercial says it best, "We must protect this house!"

The Cowgirls had every intention to capitalize after our frustrating loss against Iowa State. Their hawk-like defense rattled our fluidity and caused us to turn the ball over numerous times. It was like our feet were stuck in mud and we quickly found ourselves stuck in a double-digit deficit. One thing that I truly love about our team is that being down doesn't always mean out. I find that it is in times of struggle or frustration, there is still no doubt that we will fight. There have been a number of games this season where all seems to be lost, faith dissipated, and the hurdle too high, but we come back, time and time again. Don??t get me wrong, building an early lead is much easier on the nervous system, but there is just something about us. It may be a simple belief where ??you are not falling behind. I will pull you, place you on my back if I have to" type attitude. We will not be denied. And we weren't, not against those pesky Cowgirls.

We responded simple as that. A previous loss, a deficit, a little bit of foul trouble, but we clawed back into the game. So often people look at the numbers, how many points you score or how many rebounds you grab. But there are people on this team that are so valuable because of their heart. I could go down the list one-by-one, but on Wednesday night Chameka (Scott) and Chelsea (Whitaker) displayed pure grit and heart. They guarded gals, hustled, rebounded, got deflections, and were put to the test. Those two were challenged and they took it upon themselves to make a statement. And I believe they did.

One down, one more Oklahoma team to go. And I am sure the Sooners wanted to repay us one. We understood the implications of this game and the importance that it held for our future. But personally, it was a bit more than that. Up until this year the Sooners were my Achilles heal. One victory eluded me every season. But this year we got one, but one is just not enough. You see, I am kind of greedy when it comes to wins, the more the better. I wanted to break out the broom, and so did the rest of the team.

This was a pretty game, unlike our victory over Oklahoma State. Not pretty like, oh that dress is pretty, but more that is good basketball. For the first time in awhile, due to some foul trouble. Man, I am such a hacker! :). I watched as every player performed every piece of our game plan. Execution was tremendous and our defense superb. I am sure that by the end of the game Erin Higgins knew what type of toothpaste Chelsea and Monique (Jones) used, because they played so tight. I am so thankful that Abi (Wabara) and Chameka wear the same color jersey as I do because their long wingspans can cause serious frustration. Steffanie (Blackmon) played incredible. She had that intense look in her eye that said, "We will win." Our land was secure!

For just a moment you can celebrate, but then a piece of paper knocks you right upside the head. The schedule reminds you that have the Lady Longhorns up next. But why not? So, stop reading this right now, pick up the phone and get tickets to the game. Come watch it first hand! Call your friends and their friends, ok...stop reading and go!




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