Ready for the next challenge in Norfolk
Well, we've made it to Game 3 and Norfolk, Va. We are so excited to take two of our players Elizabeth Williams and Ka'lia Johnson back to their home state! This is an exciting time for our program. Our veterans have been here before and understand the process while our freshmen are gaining valuable experience in what this postseason is all about.
A few nights ago we had a tough battle against a very good Oklahoma State team. It truly was a story of two halves. In the first, I felt we tried too hard to take Elizabeth home and we found ourselves down 13 at the half. In the second half, we came together, Elizabeth played her best basketball at key moments, Haley Peters was all over the place being the best screener on the floor, playing defense, hitting some shots, and Chloe Wells was a game changer defensively. It wasn't great but it was gutsy. Great lessons for all involved, everyone contributed as we displayed strong resolve in our come back.
Since we weren't playing until Sunday, we gave the players the next day off. They needed to take a day off, rest their legs, and to prepare themselves for a great week of practice.
On Thursday and Friday we went over game film before practice. During Thursday's film session we went over our game against Oklahoma State. We watched footage of areas we are looking to improve on and will help us play better and move forward. Friday's film session was about our opponent, watching their tendencies, going over personnel and our game plan.
Our practices on both days were a bit shorter than usual, yet intense and to the point. There is good amount of information that is given so it's important to make sure they have enough time to process everything.
After practice on Friday I ran into Susan Sabistan at the store. For the last six years, Susan and her husband Jim have been unbelievable friends to me and our players. Jim has been very ill for some time but his fight and determination has been a true inspiration for us. I would receive text messages from him -- often with words of encouragement or advice for the team. Susan and Jim are more than just friends to our program, they are two people who I admire and care so deeply about. I wear a wristband honoring them and their fight every single day and they are with us through this journey.
Friday afternoon we loaded up our team bus and headed north to Norfolk, Va. We play on Sunday, so we were able to visit with Elizabeth Williams' family on Friday night, who invited us over for a big dinner with their friends and extended family. It was an unbelievable time! “E” comes from a wonderful family, her parents and her sister and brother are just great people, so warm and welcoming.
The whole neighborhood came out to greet us and the celebration began. We heard stories and looked at pictures of E as a child and her growing up in the house. We dined on traditional Nigerian food, such as Jolof Rice, Puff Puffs and Do Do -- all of which was so delicious! It was an amazing time and I am so glad that we had the opportunity.
One of the most memorable moments was visiting E's room and jumping on the bed laughing just like E would have done years ago when she was a little girl!