The trip to Minnesota didn’t go as planned in many ways.
It started off with our travel day on Thursday. Our flight was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. We arrived at the airport and checked in, just to find out that our plane was delayed. Way too excited for the trip, we didn’t let this affect our moods. Delta Airlines provided us with a lot of delicious snacks (Coach Mal made sure we only picked the healthy ones), which made the wait quite enjoyable.
Our first stop was New York, but because of ground stops at LaGuardia, our plane wasn’t able to receive permission to land. We had to make a quick stop at an airport in Connecticut until we were cleared for landing in LaGuardia. So far so good.
After we finally touched down in New York, we found out that there were no more flights going to Minneapolis for the day. The next one was scheduled to leave at 8 a.m. on the next day. It looked like we would have to spend the night in New York and catch the early morning flight to make it to our game in time.
On to the next problem. Have you ever tried to find hotel rooms for approximately 20 people? Not an easy thing to do, let me tell you. Our coaches emailed and talked to probably every hotel that was somewhat close to the airport, just to find out that literally every hotel was booked. By then it was around 10 p.m.
Our team is really good at turning negative situations into positive ones. Instead of complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves, we used the time to catch up on some homework and even came up with some very interesting games.
After a while, Coach Barron told us that it looked like we would have to spend the night at the airport. Slumber party at the airport with all of my favorite people? There are worse things I could think of. We already discussed which gate would be our home for the next six hours, when one of the ladies who worked at the airport informed us that the airport would be closing at midnight. No slumber party for us.
Our coaches tried again to find a hotel that was able to give us a place to stay until it was time to leave for our morning flight. Successful this time. A hotel in Queens had enough rooms for us and was more than happy to help us out.
We took multiple taxis to Queens and spent the night there.
After six hours it was time to get up and finally make our way to Minneapolis. The rest of the trip was managed without any problems.
We arrived at 10:30 a.m., grabbed our bags and went straight to shoot around. It was time to get our minds right. After all, it was game day against a really good Minnesota team.
We had a good shootaround. We were focused, we shot the ball well and we executed very well on offense and defense.
After shootaround we checked into the hotel, took a shower and went to have pregame meal at Applebee’s. We could chose between a shrimp salad, grilled chicken or chicken and shrimp. Coach Mal always makes sure we have the best possible pregame meals.
The two most important things we have to work on right now are how to start and how to finish a game. Too often it takes us a few positions to get our focus into the game, which often results in either our opponent scoring some easy baskets, or us turning the ball over on offense. Same with the way we finish the game.
The Minnesota game clearly showed this weakness. In the beginning of the game, we left their best player wide open multiple times and got punished with her scoring nine points on us in the first minutes of the game. While we played really good basketball in our second and third quarters, we weren’t able to stop their 18-0 run late, which put the game out of reach for us, as Minnesota captured a 91-64 victory.
Losing is always disappointing, but it also teaches you a lesson. There are so many things we can take away and learn from the game against Minnesota. Everyday is a new opportunity for us to grow and get better.