Dec. 18, 2003
Pepperdine basketball players will take Waves fans behind the scenes as the orange and blue of Malibu plays its 2003-04 women's basketball schedule. We've also added a link so you can submit your own questions for players to respond in their next entry. Being a collegiate basketball player creates an interesting journal, but being a collegiate basketball player at perhaps the most beautiful school in the country that is flocked with celebrities is a whole other story. Enjoy...
These past seven days has been one of the toughest weeks a student-athlete has to go through, for it was finals-week. Although finals signify the ending of our semester classes, basketball is beginning to pick up more and more steam. We are headed to Illinois this week to battle the Illini and to say that this past week of practice has been difficult would be an understatement. I personally had a pretty easy schedule compared to my fellow teammates. I only had three finals and heard stories of some people having five or more. You could see it on everyone's faces this past week of practice-the minimal sleep, the stress over upcoming exams, and ultimately class grades. Because of finals week Coach Trakh gave us Wednesday off to let us get some rest and study. Thursday's practice was entirely different from the days before. I saw people laughing and smiling. A huge weight had been lifted off people's shoulders, but not the one with the word "basketball" on it. That weight doesn't get lifted until the end of March. We have a lot of preparation and hard work ahead of us, starting with our first long road trip-Illinois.
Friday: We left the warm Pepperdine campus at 5 a.m. and headed to the airport to catch a flight to Champagne, Illinois via Chicago. The day was basically spent traveling and waiting around in the airport. The highlight of the day was when we almost missed our connecting flight not once, but twice! Luckily though we made it to Champaign only about thirty minutes late. When we arrived at our hotel we quickly changed clothes for practice. We shot around at the Illinois "practice gym" that was strictly reserved for team practices. Friday was a preparation day for our game on Sunday. In practice we went over our offenses and defenses and began to get more familiar with the personnel on Illinois. After practice we went back to our hotel and got some much needed sleep.
Saturday: Today we again had practice, but this time it was in the main arena. The Illinois arena can hold 16,000 people and we were all impressed by its size. Practice again started with us reviewing the Illinois offense and defense and their personnel. After practice we headed to Panera Bread to get some food and then went back to the hotel. Since we had the rest of the day off, we met as a team and watched our last game against UCONN. We all took notes about what we needed to work on and how we could improve for Sunday's game. The coaches were not around for our film session, they went to the Chicago Bull's game. After film we went to T.G.I. Friday's for dinner and then went back to the hotel to get some rest. Tomorrow we play Illinois!
Sunday: On Sunday we woke up to a light snow and a pre-game shoot-around and meal. After our shoot-around we went back to the hotel and changed for the game. We also packed all of our luggage and left for our game. When we took the court against Illinois the arena was alive with people and noise. I personally was happy to see my dad who flew in and a few of my relatives who live in Illinois. I was glad that they got a chance to see at least one of my games this year.
The game started out with the Illini having the advantage from tip-off. Within four minutes we were down by ten points and never recovered from our poor start. Illinois was very athletic and ran their offense the best they had all year against us. The game was very frustrating, with nobody on our entire team having their "A" game. We ended up losing by more than we lost to UCONN, which was a huge disappointment. As a team we have a lot to work on, and I individually know that I have to improve my game in many areas. Although we were all embarrassed from this game, we have learned many things about each other and our team. We can only get better from our mistakes.
We left behind the 20 degree weather and snow and headed back home to California, where we will strive to correct our individual and team mistakes. Luckily, we have three full days to prepare for our next game, Michigan State.
Kelly Greathouse # 42