March 8, 2006
Well after we got home from the Oklahoma trip, it was a matter of hours before we packed back up and headed down the road to A&M. We were a little emotionally drained from the OT decision and we knew that the battle in College Station wouldn't be much easier. The Aggies were playing really well and had broken into the AP polls not long before we matched up with them. With the momentum on their side and their first opportunity at another ranked team since breaking into the rankings, the importance of the game became very evident.
We had a very focused practice and worked on all the little things we needed to get the job done. It was a long day before we finally tipped off and the game was underway. It was a battle from start to finish. They brought out their record breaking crowd for us, which was almost routine now, and the atmosphere was pure intensity. It was the kind of intensity that trickled down to the court and into everyone on the floor. We played our hearts out as did they and in the end, we took care of business and got out on top of the Aggies. Thinking of all the years playing there, I always loved the competition and athleticism that came along with playing in College Station, just sad to think it was for the last time.
So now we are doing a lot of things for the last time and next on the list was getting after the Lady Raiders for the last time. We had a little incentive beyond just winning the game; we had a little sour taste from our last match-up. So we hit the ground running, I think somewhat from the momentum of the A&M game. Our freshmen stepped up big and made a huge impact for us. With Sophia being double-teamed, it really opened up the back side for Rachel. And with all the attention inside, the perimeter was a playground for Jessica. The team itself went perfect from the charity stripe and almost beat the Big 12 record for our free throw shooting display. It was a great team effort and we came out on top for the last time.
We rested ourselves enough to get ready for the next contest against Colorado. It was bound to an emotional night as we wrapped up our home season and for a few of us, our home careers. This game was ending the glorious college basketball road for Sophia, Jordan and me and the emotions were building as the time came closer and closer.
We did a few interviews talking about the whole situation and it was still kind of funny and we really didn't know what we were in for yet. Even that morning, I went to class (wishing I was doing that for the last time) and went about my day as though it was any other game. I drove up to the Ferrell Center and walked down that tunnel for the last time. We walked into the locker room and to our surprise; the freshman had a little trick up their sleeves to make sure our senior night was perfect.
Along with their presents and a few other notes and thank yous from fans, the night was off to a great start. As we ran out the tunnel and watched each others videos, we still managed to hold back the tears. It was fun to see the videos and watch mini highlights of the past years. It was fun to be in front of a huge crowd of appreciative fans, friends and family. We wrapped up the whole ceremony and then got straight to tip-off. The game was perfect, everyone contributed, everyone enjoyed it and everyone left it out there on the floor. It couldn't have happened any better. The after game festivities were the icing on the cake... and literally I walked out with like three cakes, a million cookies and enough soda to keep Skinny's in business. It was all a senior could ask for. I really do appreciate all everyone has ever done to contribute to the four short years I spent at Baylor. I speak for all the seniors when I say, you guys made it real hard to adjust to the real world next year. You have always been there for us to make sure we were taken care of and felt at home in Waco at all times. It was amazing.
Even though we put an end to one part of our season, we still had to finish off our road schedule and we headed north to Kansas State. With all the changes in the past four years, it's funny to see how opposing teams change as well. This K-State team is no longer the three-point specialist they used to be, and they didn't have the perfect zone. They were a lot more athletic and post oriented than in years past. So we got there and got up and down the floor enough times to call it a night and get ready for our afternoon match-up.
The fans in Kansas love their women's basketball and they came out and enjoyed the game. There was a lot of bumping and banging, running off screens, fast breaks and all that other good stuff going on. Sophia grabbed her 300th steal that night so that was really cool. It's always the innocent looking ones who are the real thieves. As a team, we won our first game in Manhattan in Big 12 history, so that was cool as well. I think its fun that after all we have done, there are still things to be done and records to break and firsts to achieve... makes the game a little more fun. After hanging around for our plane to get in we finally made it back to Waco and rested up a bit for our last conference road challenge.
The catch this time was that the senior class had never won in Austin. Not even when we played LSU there. It was just what we needed to fuel the run we were on. We got in a practice Tuesday night before heading back to dinner and the hotel. We knew the game would be pretty intense since it was going to be their senior night, and no one wants to lose senior night. The game was very physical and back and forth for a while. Their seniors played very well and we responded to their attack as best we could. It was a total team effort and in the end we walked out of there with another first, well kind of. It was the first time I ever walked out of that gym smiling.
So here we are counting down the time until the Big 12 Tournament and our next part of the season. We are very excited to have a bye in the first round in hopes that we will be there for a while. The tournament is conveniently located in Dallas this year, which is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to come out and cheer us on to hopefully defending that title from last year. The tournament experience in itself is fun for anyone who is a basketball lover and I guarantee it will be worth the while. Our first game is Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday night's match-up between Kansas and Kansas State. Now I know how good and committed our fans are so I don't have to persuade you at all to be in attendance, with that said, see you guys soon. Until next time...