Nov. 15, 2005
Well, when we last "talked", we were on top of the world. A lot has happened since then and I'm sure you have heard about most of it. Some good, some bad, but it all brings us to where we are now. We started our 2005- 06 season off against a very talented Division II school, Arkansas-Monticello. Sophia had a special tie to this game, considering her best friend, Wendy Young, was playing against her for the first time ever. I had met Wendy before and was still a little excited about seeing her as well. The game was fun for the team because we got to get everyone a chance to play and get the nerves out. Wendy scared us a bit in the second half by getting injured but she was ultimately ok after the game.
With one exhibition game down, we still were concerned about our second one, but had to start concentrating on the upcoming Georgia game. We kept our focus on Georgia but at the same time we managed to run away with our second exhibition game against the Houston Jaguars. Everyone got to play again and our freshman played in the very impressive second game of their college debuts. They are definitely fun to watch and have won the hearts of our fans already. I have even heard the nickname Fresh Four thrown around a bit. That's pretty cute. They are coming along very well.
So Friday rolls around and it's time to hit the road. We made our way out to Lubbock early in the afternoon in order to practice that evening at a local high school. Ironically enough, we practiced at Trinity Christian High School, where Mike Snauffer, our last graduate assistant, now coaches. However we didn't get a chance to see him just yet. We practiced and got up and down the floor for a good while and went over plays and did a lot of drills. We worked on guarding Georgia and all that other good stuff before finally sitting down to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
We were all pretty wired that night, in a real silly mood during dinner. I think the excitement of the weekend was kind of sinking in. As usual, we have a group of girls who enjoy each other's company very much. It didn't take long for us to figure each other out and become the close knit team we usually are. The freshmen are not shy at all and their personalities just added to the chemistry of the returning players.
Saturday was going to be a long day for us. Being on the road doesn't give much freedom to be up and about. We had breakfast together in the morning and then had time to sit around before film. We watched some film and then made our way to practice at United Spirit Arena. We were trying to get a feel for the floor although we should know it pretty well. It is just really weird getting to used to different courts even though you have been there before. Figuring out where the clocks are, dead spots on the floor, types of rims, different balls. It's all important in the whole experience of being away from home.
After practice we had a few hours before we had to go to the State Farm Tip-Off Classic banquet. All four teams and coaches get together along with some members of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. This year there was a West Texas theme and everyone was given bandanas as they were welcomed to the dinner. The meal was a very appropriate barbeque assortment. We were all very excited to being eating real food at a banquet - that usually never happens. All the coaches made a small speech and introduced their teams, which was absolutely hilarious this year. Turns out when Georgia's coach Andy Landers got up to make his speech, he accidentally said All State instead of State Farm. When he finally realized it, he jumped up and made his correction and told his team to make sure to take lots of pictures because they may not be invited back again. He was very funny and covered up for his mistake very well.
Our guest speaker this year was the head coach form Tulane, Lisa Stockton, who was relocated with her team to Texas Tech's campus after Hurricane Katrina. She gave us the story of her struggles and all the people who helped her along the way. It was very inspiring and emotional and I think exactly what you need to hear right before a season when things often get taken for granted. She explained how there should be no reason her team should have had a season this year, but a lot of gracious people made it possible for them to overcome all their adversities thus far. It was a great story. We got to socialize a bit after the dinner with the other girls and that's always fun. Its not very often Tech and Baylor get to see eye-to-eye, and cheer for each other, trying to promote the Big 12 Conference. After the night was done, we watched more film and then got ready for the big day.
On a side note, Saturday was freshman Jessica Morrow's birthday. She is the third freshman to have a birthday since the year started. Jhasmin (Player) was first and instead of getting her a cake, we made her one, literally. We threw water on her, then some flour, and a few eggs and then lit some fireworks around her. It was hilarious. Then Tricia (Abbott) was next, we make her a cookie, literally. A little water, then flour again, and then a lot of skittles. Finally our little Jessica is growing up and so we decided that she has been on fire lately, in practice and in exhibition games, so we wanted to just cool her off. After an elaborate plan to get her out of her hotel room, we managed to cool her off with four buckets of water. She loved it. It was a good time but we knew we had to get our heads on straight for the game the next day so we all went to bed afterwards.
Game day dawns again. It was like we never stopped from last season, everything was routine as usual and went as smooth as possible. We ate breakfast and then had some down time before heading up to the arena. The fans for all four teams were piling in and I was starting to get all excited again. The clock counted down and we were finally being introduced. Turned out we got to shoot some premature free throws as Georgia was tagged with a technical foul, a coach forgot to mark the starters in the scorebook. Sorry about missing that first one, it won't happen again. So it was finally tip off. The game for me personally was moving in slow motion for the first minutes and for lack of better words, we all seemed very out of it. We were struggling to find a spark and to get a decent run to get us going. Consequently, we were down by 14 at the half. The halftime speech wasn't anything special, we realized what we had to do and we understood that we put ourselves in a bit of a hole. More importantly, we realized that we had done this before and there was no reason to panic or get rattled. So we did something else we had done before and we started chipping away at the lead Georgia had obtained. Well, we all picked up the pace a bit, things were moving a lot faster and the rest was history. We pulled out the big W and extended our winning streak to 21.
After the game everyone was very excited and we sat in the locker room for a while waiting for coach to come in. We did our after-game speech and closing and then we got to go out and watch the second half of our "lil" doubleheader. It was a good thing considering we would be playing both those teams at some point in the season.
Immediately afterwards, we made our way back to the airport and then back to Dallas and eventually wound up safe and sound in Waco. The next game is Friday against UCLA and will be quite the event, with the banner being dropped and everything. Be sure to come out, bring a friend, bring the family, but most of all bring your spirit cause there's nothing like playing in front of the home crowd. Until next time!