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|Elena Delle Donne face Kentucky in the Bridgeport regional in the Sweet 16.|
After Tuesday night’s game against North Carolina ended, I spoke to the media and celebrated with my teammates. Finally, I was able to sit down in my locker and check my cell phone. I had a lot of text messages and Twitter mentions from friends and family congratulating us on the win. As I read through the messages, I came across a text that truly summed up the atmosphere of the night. A friend of mine, who is a diehard Ohio State football fan, sent me a text that read, “You guys have, by far, the best fans in the country, it sounded just as loud as any of our OSU football games in that arena.” Hearing someone say that the 5,000 plus screaming Blue Hen fans packed into the Bob Carpenter Center were as loud as the 100,000-plus fans that attend OSU football games was incredible. We truly have the most dedicated, passionate, supportive fans an athlete could ever wish for.
It was these fans that played major part in filling me with all of the overwhelming, mixed emotions that I felt after the victory over UNC. My first and most prominent emotion was that of sheer excitement. The excitement that comes with pulling off an upset in March Madness and being a part of a team that is headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. The adrenaline that was pumping through my body was unlike anything I have ever felt before. Along with this excitement and adrenaline came an unbelievable amount of pride. Pride in my teammates, pride in my school, and finally pride in being able to call myself a Delawarean.
After processing these feelings, it hit me … I had just played my last game at the Bob Carpenter Center, a gym that I have been competing in for over a decade, a gym that I chose to call home after walking away from the game for an entire year. I immediately became aware of just how bittersweet the night was. The Bob has been an amazing place to call home for the past four years. During the second half of the game I told my teammates, “We deserve to win our last game on this court” and we did just that. The seven seniors finished our last home game in the best way possible in front of the best fans in the country.
Now, with our team mottos “no limits” and “not done yet” in mind, we will begin to prepare for our next game against Kentucky, in Bridgeport … and we’re bringing our fans with us!