Friday, February 24, 2012

Senior Night and Hitting the Road

By Amanda Ottawa

February 20, 2012

Just wanted to thank everyone who came out on Saturday for our game against Appalachian State. It was the most fun I’ve had playing in Belk Arena probably in my whole career. The men had a great atmosphere for their game vs. #24 Wichita State, and more fans than we expected stuck around for our half of the doubleheader. It was a competitive game in front of an awesome crowd, and with the win, we moved into first place in the Southern Conference!

Tonight was Senior Night. We played Wofford, which beat us in January, so we were eager for revenge. The fire worked in our favor as we pulled out the win, 63-39. Before the game, our freshmen decorated the locker room for KJ (Kristen Johnsen) and me, and I’m convinced that they should all go into careers in interior design. It looked SO good! They got tons of red balloons, black and white streamers, and made us posters. After all that, how could we not play well? Postgame, we had a little reception in the Hall of Fame room for our families, friends, and loyal fans from The Pines retirement community. President Quillen, Jim Murphy, and Katy McNay were there, and so was almost everyone who has taken care of us these four years. There was also cake. Lots and lots of cake – my roommates and I have been eating it all week…

Neither KJ nor I did very much crying that night. Okay, okay – KJ didn’t cry at all. (I may or may not have burst into tears when my teammates gave me their present, pictures in a frame with the “I Will Always Love You” lyrics printed on top.) Both of us feel the same way – mostly, it simply hasn’t hit us yet that this was our last game in Belk Arena. We’ve been playing there for so long; why should we expect it to end now? “It’s very surreal,” says KJ. “I can’t believe I’m a senior!” Also, we both figure that our season is far from over at this point. We want to go deep into postseason play; KJ says she thinks we’ll be playing for a long time. “I’m excited to see where that takes us.”

All in all, it was a very special night. Thank you to everyone who made it so wonderful! We’re traveling this weekend, so we’ll spend the week preparing for Chattanooga and Samford, our last two regular-season games. More later!

February 24, 2012


It’s 1:21 PM Friday. We’re on the bus to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Just drove through Asheville, where we stopped for lunch at a Texas Roadhouse – and where we’ll be in a week for the SoCon tournament!!!!! We can’t wait – but we’ve got a couple things to take care of before we go: UT-Chattanooga, at 5 pm ET Saturday, and Samford (Birmingham, Ala.), at 8 pm ET Monday. Both games are on the road. Both are huge in terms of seeding for the tournament. If we win both, we’ll get the #1 seed. If we don’t win both – and depending on how a couple other top teams do this weekend – we could get a #2, behind Appalachian State. Obviously we want the top seed, because that would make us regular-season conference champions. Also, if we get a 2 seed, we’ll play at the same time as the men in our first game of the tournament – no fun for anyone if we have to split the fans!

Because it’s a long drive to Tennessee (5 hours and 33 minutes, according to our itinerary), and because we wanted to practice on Chatt’s court today, we missed classes and left at 10 am. We’ll miss class on Monday, too. Most of our professors are really accommodating when this happens. Our administrative assistant, Terry Gilliland, gives us letters to hand them at the beginning of the semester, specifying which class days we’ll be out of town. As long as we hand in our assignments ahead of time or e-mail them from the road, we can usually stay on top of things. Plus, my teammates are all such good students that everyone plans ahead and gets all their work done. J Lots of people are working on the bus. Some are playing games on their phones – everyone’s really into “Scramble with Friends” right now. Others are napping or watching Moneyball, which someone must have brought. I’ve never seen it, and I’ve got headphones in, but it’s been enjoyable just watching Brad Pitt move around the screen.

Speaking of staying on top of homework, I’d better do that. Wish us luck this weekend! I’ll update again next week.

Peace, Whitney Houston, and the beginning of a good road trip –

Otto

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