It's nearly 11:00pm, and I just watched our first game back vs Rice University. After writing 2 pages of improvements in my notebook and losing our first game in overtime, I couldn't be more optimistic.
See, only four days ago we lost our starting point guard who also rotated at the post to a season ending ACL injury. As any coach or player can attest to, losing a member of your team for the year is hard, but you have to regroup, adapt, and have players step up.
The good news is that we get Ashley Albert back for three years, she didn't lose a year of eligibility, and we have the preseason to work out the kinks with our new rotation before we hit conference. Injuries are part of seasons, and as all teams know, very rarely does one day, let alone one game go exactly had you expected it to.
Winners focus and are consistent on what is in their control-attitude, effort, execution. The list can go on.
So that leads us to today. Ally Schmitt started for us at the point who is gritty, tough, and physical. We rotated a variety of lineups, some due to foul trouble and came back from a 16 point halftime deficit.
Down 2 wiith 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock freshman Emily Allen got a steal and was fouled in the process. As she gingerly got up off the floor the official thought she was hurt and asked if she was ok as she was walking to the freethrow line. Her reply. "No, I am just nervous."
She then steps to the line nails the first freethrow as the bench jumps up in a roar. Emily then looks over at the bench and rolls her eyes nervously again, steps up and then nails the second. Tie game. Rice inbounds and we go into overtime.
We didn't have the happy ending tonight with a victory as we fell short 86-83. However, I had a team respond with great character to adversity from an injury, a huge deficit, and two starters foul out with a perseverant fight that only comes from within.
Tomorrow we tip off with Baylor who is ranked #2 in the country with 6'8 Brittany Griner. I am anxious, excited, and can't wait for the opportunity our team has to compete with one of the best teams in the entire country.
I just hope Emily Allen doesn't tell the officials she's nervous again before she drives to the basket against Griner. Then again, maybe she'll get a 3 point conversion out of it.