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|In a game that went down to the wire, Duke beat North Carolina 66-61 in the ACC semifinals.|
It’s hard to believe March Madness is here. For anyone who cares about college basketball, it's one of the most exciting times of the year. Growing up a Kentucky girl, almost every year I would make a trip to the SEC tournament. It was always exciting just going to the tournaments; now it's even more surreal being a part of it.
Recently, I experienced my first ACC tournament. Although we did not win the championship, we played very well and proved a lot of people wrong.
We've struggled through some adversity with several injuries and have had to rely on other players to step up and fill in new roles, and it was those players who helped us win a tough game against North Carolina in the semifinals. Even though they beat us two times in the regular season, anything is possible in the postseason. It was an exciting game that came down to the wire and a great day for Duke, considering the men's team beat UNC on the same day.
The tournament was a challenge but a great learning experience. It was especially challenging for me because from my perspective -- bench view -- I wanted to be out there playing in that atmosphere. There's nothing like playing on the big stage. I can’t describe how much more it would mean to me now to be able to play and contribute to our success.
Right after the ACC tournament, we all received a short break to go home and recharge before heading back to Duke to prepare for the NCAA tournament. It was a much needed three-day break, and it was good to spend quality time with family and friends, eat some good home-cooked meals, watch some “Breaking Bad’’ and surprise my little sisters picking them up at school.
Duke is hosting first- and second-round games of the NCAA tournament, which should be to our advantage. This year the NCAA Final Four will be hosted in my favorite city, Nashville, Tenn. Nashville is only two hours from my hometown, and it would be an incredible experience to play so close to home and maybe even see a country music star or two.