Dec. 29, 2009
Hey Wildcat Fans,
In case you were wondering, the last time Northwestern started 2-0 in the Big Ten was in the 1995-96 season. Not only did our 63-59 victory over Michigan Monday night mark the first time in thirteen years that NU has gone 2-0 in conference play, but it was our sixth-straight win, which matched the longest winning streak since that same year.
Of course, we had to make it another one of those nail-biting games. We were able to extend the lead after half to a nice 12-point cushion. However it was almost not a big enough lead, especially since the Wolverines refused to give up. With 2:12 on the clock they, were able to pull the game to within six points by making back-to-back three pointers. Luckily, we were able to convert 4-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes allowing us to secure the win. Our two earlier road games at Kansas State and at Toledo helped prepare us to play in an arena full of opposing fans. There were over 3,000 people at the game and when Michigan pulled the game with in six, their fans were going nuts. Every single one of them was standing up yelling, "defense, defense." Due to our previous experiences on the road, we were able to maintain our composure and walk away with a win, retaining an unblemished record of 3-0 away from Welsh-Ryan. Since the students were still on winter break, the alumni band performed, which added to the lively atmosphere of the game.
Typically, as the visiting team, you get crammed into a very small, old, dingy locker room. We were housed in something completely the opposite of that--the Michigan football game day locker room. It was sweet to be in their locker room because of their rich history and also because it was HUGE. We had 13 girls in a locker room meant for 100-plus football players, so needless to say it was more than spacious! The only down side was that it was about a three-minute jog to and from the court.
Our team had a three-day break for Christmas and, although it was way too short, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I spent a lot of it doing absolutely nothing except taking naps and watching different movies with my family. Of course we did the traditional dinner at my aunt's house on Christmas Eve and with my grandparents on Christmas Day. The most active thing I did was play in our annual family three-on-three basketball game. My cousin Ellen (who was on the NU team last year) her husband and brother and then my brother and father split into two teams and played to 15. I was very frustrated in the end because I went 0-4. Being a D-I basketball player playing against people who at best played on their high school basketball team--if that--gave me a false sense of confidence. My brother and I guarded each other as we always do, solely because he likes to talk trash to me (it gets very entertaining). My favorite corny quote he said after he made a move and sunk a shot was "I have more moves than a U-Haul truck!" The most frustrating part is that he doesn't have the best form when he shoots (the ball literally goes behind the back of his head before he releases the ball) and yet somehow it always goes in! I wouldn't say he dominates, but I would say that it somehow, and I have no idea how, ends up being a very even match up when we go head-to-head. Hopefully I will be more successful in Big Ten play then I was in the annual Jaeschke family game!
We have two more games this week against Ohio State (Dec. 31st) and Penn State (Jan 3rd). Ohio State is going to be one of our toughest game this season. The Buckeyes are currently ranked sixth in the nation, and for a good reason. Jantel Lavender, their post player who is an All-American, is averaging 22 points a game. They also have a point guard (Samantha Prahalis) who was Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season and is averaging 12 points and nine assist a game. They have many talented players on their squad and we are really going to have to come out strong to knock off this team. After that, we start the New Year at home against Penn State on Sunday at 2 p.m. They are another tough challenge, as they just they just beat Iowa in overtime.
Hopefully we will see some of you at these games!
Have a safe and Happy New Year!