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Thursday, November 29, 2012
Our season is in our hands this year

By Chiney Ogwumike

Stanford in Hawaii
Beating Baylor was a special accomplishment for the Stanford women and propelled them to the No. 1 ranking.

Aloha! I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving. One of the most obvious and expected things I am thankful for is my team. My last expectation for this early in the year was to make headlines, but we did: We beat Hawaii, Tennessee-Martin, and last but not least, Baylor. And we did it in Hawaii, of all places. Talk about sensory overload!

Here's a brief rundown of some of the memorable moments in Hawaii for me.

After a long flight over the Pacific, we finally touched down in Honolulu. If you didn't already know, Coach Tara is a Hall of Fame coach, most deservedly, which means basketball is her business! She has -- and always will -- set the tone for any Stanford women's basketball endeavor.

We knew we were in for some luck when she got off the plane saying, "Aloha! Aren't we so fortunate to be in Hawaii. This is going to be fun. Can't wait to see the beach!"

Our team hoped to have some time to slip away, without the pressure of the games, and enjoy beautiful Hawaii. And thanks to Coach, we definitely did. That first night we all walked the beachside, and the next few days people would go on mini-adventures, most notably Amber Orrange and her dad paddle-boarding.

Our first game was against Baylor. Before the game I told my teammates, "Fear no one!" We knew that playing against Brittney Griner, it is nearly impossible to completely stop her. Instead, our collective goal was to contain her; that is achievable.

Stanford in Hawaii
There was much anticipation for the trip to Hawaii and, in addition to hoops, some relaxing time at the beach.

We had so many big contributions that night, from Mikaela Ruef's stellar defense to Taylor Greenfield's shooting. When it was all said and done, we knew we accomplished something special as a team.

After losing my sister, a quintessential All-American, doubt seemingly loomed over us as a team. Will we step up? I am proud to say that we did. But we all know our season is not defined by one game, or one moment. We must replicate that every day -- that is our challenge at Stanford.

Right now we are preparing for our big road trip against UC Davis and Gonzaga, but before I go, here are some final tidbits I took away from the Hawaii trip:

1. Our season is in our hands this year. We can compete with the best. We must build upon our success, never taking any day for granted.

2. It is possible to be “frenemies.” Brittney, Odyssey Sims and I go way back. Yup, back all the way to Texas. Even though they were disappointed about the loss, they were still the same ol’ goofy people I have come to cherish as friends. It's more than a game.

3. My twitter followers are amazing! Since the game was not televised, it was awesome to get feedback from all those who stayed connected online. You can tweet me @Chiney321!

4. The pineapple in Hawaii is ridiculously amazing.

5. Stanford football is the bomb. Our momentum spread over to Eugene as they beat No. 2 Oregon and are fighting to be Pac-12 champs this Friday.

6. Coach Tara, along with our team, loves the song, “Girl on Fire,” by Alicia Keys.

7. We are the No. 1 team in the nation.

Mahalo (thanks).