Wednesday, January 25, 2012

After the Whistle - Jan. 23-24

By Amanda Ottaway

January 23
Chatt day! After a bitter home loss (our first this year in Belk Arena) to Samford on Saturday afternoon, we did the one-day-turnaround thing again to face then-first-place Chattanooga, tops in the SoCon standings, Monday night. The day we lost to Samford, Chatt lost to App (Appalachian State) – so on Monday, both the Wildcats and the Mocs were tired and itchy for a win. The game was anything but pretty. They’d scouted the heck out of us – they really keyed in on our two top scorers, Laura (Murray, sophomore guard) and Soph(ia Aleksandravicius, junior forward), and played some great defense on them. Being the steady, complete players that they are, though, both Laura and Soph contributed in ways that don’t always show up on the stat sheet – Laura flew through passing lanes like a butterfly dodging semi-trucks on I-77, and got her hands on plenty of passes. With her height and wingspan, Soph was a huge presence underneath, blocking and altering Chatt shot after Chatt shot. Kat (Chiemeka) crashed the offensive glass like the ball was a slice of vegetarian pizza, and eventually hit the foul shot that sealed the win with thirteen seconds left. (Excuse the excessive metaphor use.) Peaches (Sarah Davis, junior forward) added a lot to our on-court dynamic too. It was the first game in awhile in which she’s seen significant minutes – she’s rehabbing a foot injury, and hasn’t been able to practice much lately – but it was great to have her back! She’s such a reliable player. Oh, and in case you were wondering, we call her Peaches because 1) in her words, she “just really likes peaches”, and 2) she bruises super easily. Jazz (Jasmine Calin, junior guard/forward/one of those identity-confused swing player positions) bestowed the nickname upon her initially, but we all picked it up and have become quite fond of it. (But you’ll have to ask Peaches how SHE feels about her new name!)

Anyways, back to the game. Yeah, that important one. The first half was not our best work, offensively speaking – we only shot 29% from the floor. But we played good defense and were only down two at halftime, 27-25. Then our home court advantage kicked in. Laura, Barb, and Kat all hit some big buckets and, with some good hustle and some crowd and bench encouragement, we pulled out a 56-52 win! We especially loved the support of the practice team. It’s made up of a group of super-great guys who pretty much come to every practice, dutifully play with a girls’ ball, and provide us with bigger, stronger, and faster competition than we can physically give each other. They are so good-natured, especially on scout days, where they work with the scout coach to learn the other team’s plays and run them against our defensive sets. (The best part is when they wear the other team’s jersey numbers and pretend to be specific girls on opposing teams, and they don’t complain when we call them by the opponents’ first names!) They come to all our games too, and yesterday they all sat together at halfcourt and brought umbrellas, which they whipped out and popped up every time one of us made a long shot. It was the cutest thing EVER!!!! (Hint: keep up the good work, guys!)

January 24
Today is a crucial day for the Davidson women’s basketball team. Today is an off day.

We generally get off days once a week – no practice, no lifting, no mandatory gym time – and as much as we love our sport, they’re SUPER important. These are days when we sleep in, occasionally don clothes other than sweatpants (also known as: “real clothes”), get minor medical treatment on various body parts (explanation coming soon in: “A Day In The Training Room,” a future post), get our homework done (or at least pretend to make a somewhat concerted effort to do so), and hang out with friends. Our bodies and minds need the break. We return from off day refreshed and already missing basketball, and ready to go back at it. Let’s find out what DCWBB does on their off days…

Here’s what Mason (Jeffries, freshman guard) did on her off day: Woke up at 7:35 to get ready for 8:15 class: “because,” Mason says, “despite stereotypes – (presumably those that imply that female student-athletes never wear ‘real clothes’) – “I love to look good in class.” Did some homework. Went to lunch with Laura. 12:15 class. Drove home to Charlotte to watch The Bachelor with her mother.

Here’s what Shneeka (Center, sophomore guard) did today: Got up at 11. Took an hour to get ready. Went to the Union. Played Scramble with friends (including Seth, one of our practice players). Lost “against everyone.” Sat in dorm lounge and “read.” Dinner. Friend time. Roommate time (she lives with Laura). Bedtime.

Jazz’s day: Woke up at 8am. Ate breakfast. Showered. Got dressed in real clothes. 9:40 class. 11:00 meeting with a Campus Outreach advisor about summer plans. Worked in Career Services office 11:30-2:30. Worked out with Coach Rowan (our strength and conditioning coach) at 3 (good for you, Jazz, getting in a workout on an off day!). Ice bath with Lil(lian McCabe, freshman guard). Lil’s first experience in the cold tub. (49.6 degrees F, submerged to the waist, 10-15 minutes. More details in the Training Room episode.) Dinner. Dessert at Red Mango with a friend.

The Tuesday of Hannah (Early, freshman guard): Class. Watched Gilmore Girls. Did homework. Went to watch a high school basketball game at Hopewell, where she graduated last year.

Peaches’ Busy Day: Class. Clorox-cleaned her dorm room. Did laundry. Opened birthday presents from her family (she turns 21 tomorrow!). Homework. Target. Dinner. Homework. Shower. Bedtime.

Okay, I’ve gotta run – (not literally, of course, not on off day). We’ve got a busy week of practice getting ready for the Furman game, so there’s lots to do. Stay tuned for more fun with the ‘Cats!!

Peace, big wins, and off days,

Otto

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