March 23, 2010
Hey Wildcat Fans!
I am happily writing this blog on the bus on our way back to our hotel in Buffalo because ... we won!!! We are now 2-0 in the WNIT! It is a great feeling to know that we are headed into the round of sixteen and I can tell you everybody is psyched :). In our first-round game we played Duquesne, where we won by a slim margin, 79-72. After our win, we learned that our next opponent would be another Atlantic 10 team, St. Bonaventure.
St. Bonaventure is located in Olean, N.Y.... a.k.a. not the easiest place to get to from Evanston. Fortunately, a few people worked hard to get us to charter a flight that would land in a town close by. We landed in the mountains in an "airport" that had a single landing strip. Everything about our trip from then on was nice and charming. For starters, we stayed in a quaint hotel. The best part about it was there were a bunch of rocking chairs on the outside porch. Of course, I would head for the bus a few minutes early so I could rock back and forth in the chair. Then all our meals were at classic places that I have not visited since the last time I traveled to towns like this for summer basketball. For dinner the night before the game, we ate at Applebees (Eatin' good in the neighborhood:). For breakfast on game day, we headed to Perkins, and our pregame meal was catered to the hotel from a local Italian restaurant.
In our second round game against the Bonnies, the atmosphere was electric. The gym was smaller than what we are used to playing in with a capacity around 5,000 people. So with the gym about 2/3 full everything seemed to be magnified. The fans were right on top of the court screaming and yelling for all 40 minutes of the game. Although everyone was cheering against us, it was still a fun environment to play in. Overall, most of the game was back and forth, one team would make a shot and then other team would come right back and score. If one team made a run, the other team would make a run right back. In the end what was most important was we came out with the win, 66-62. Coach McKeown's motto for this tournament is "win by one." All we need to do is "win by one" point and we advance to the next round. However, his disclaimer was that he would always like to win by more because then he would keep a few years from falling off his life expectancy.
Today (Tuesday), we are flying back to Chicago where we will spend the night at home. Then we will quickly get back on the road Wednesday to and head to Michigan to play the Wolverines Thursday for the fourth time this season! At this point, both teams know everything there is to know about each other and now it is just about going out and executing. All we need to do is win three more games and we will be WNIT champs!
Keep cheering us on!