Jan. 19, 2010
Phew! We won on Sunday ☺. We beat Minnesota by one point (61-60) off a free throw from Brittany Orban with four seconds remaining on the clock. It was a close game the entire time, including the last seven minutes where neither team held a lead larger than three points. This was a big victory for us because it ended a four-game losing streak and also evened our season record with the Gophers at 1-1.
We are back on the road again this week playing at Indiana and then at Iowa. Indiana is also 3-4 in conference but there is personal motivation to beat them outside of just having the same record in Big Ten action. Both my mother and sister are Hoosier alums, and in my career I have yet to beat them. Trust me, I need to change that last statement ASAP so I can take some ownership of bragging rights in our household! After Indiana we go to Iowa City to play Iowa who is 1-6 in league action. Four of their seven conference games have been decided by six points or less, including one overtime loss, which means we cannot under estimate this team. They play teams very close but if we take care of what we need to we should return home with another victory.
There are many great things about Northwestern (and yes I understand I am very biased). In all seriousness though, the amount of support that the athletic department gives to one another is truly incredible. Last week Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern's head football coach and former NU football player, talked to our team. He talked about a lot of different things that seemed to apply to our team, including a speech about the days back when he played in college. One year his team beat Notre Dame, obviously a huge win for their program. In their next game, they lost to Miami--a team they definitely should have defeated. He said at the moment they lost, their team had to decide if they were going to be known as the team that beat Notre Dame and that was it or, if they would be a team that accomplished a lot more over the course of the rest of the season. Well, they decided to do the latter, and that same year they went 8-0 in conference and made it to the Rose Bowl.
This story applies to our team because we could be known as the team that went 11-2 (the best start to a season since 1995-96), or we could decide to be the team that accomplished a lot more than just a good start. I think our win over the Gophers helped us get back on track toward being something better than just the team that had a great start. I loved listening to him talk and hear all the different stories and lessons he shared with us. Last year, Coach McKeown had Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern's women's lacrosse coach, come and talk to us. For those of you who don't know, she has led her team to five-straight national championships. The coaches at Northwestern all really support one another and are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to talk to each other's teams, or attend each other's sporting events. Beyond the coaches, we have even more support from the University, too. Northwestern President, Morton Schapiro, attended our game on Sunday. I think it says a lot about the support we receive in athletics because I do not know how many school presidents attend women's basketball games (and it was his second one this year)! As always, our Athletic Director, Jim Phillips, was at our game. He is one of our biggest fans as he comes to every one of our home games. The amount of support that surrounds our team speaks volumes about the family of Northwestern's athletic department.
I hope everyone had a chance to watch our men's team knock off sixth-ranked Purdue this past weekend. I was fortunate enough to watch the game live at Welsh-Ryan Arena, and I must say, it was the best game I have seen our men play. It was also by far the most exciting atmosphere I have seen with a sold out crowd that had both student sections standing. The student sections even rushed the court after the win! The half time act was nearly as entertaining as the game. It was a lady on a 10-foot unicycle that flipped bowls on top of her head. She got up to five bowls at one time. It was insane! I just wanted to say congratulations to our men's team on their great win and excellent start to their season. It was a fantastic weekend to be a Wildcat basketball fan:).
Until next time,