Sports Blog: Sam Quigley Checks in with Women's Basketball Fans After the Reims Game
Aug. 17, 2010
Hi all! Sam Q. here. I just want to start by "blogging" that I LOVE FRANCE. I also LOVE that we have been given the opportunity to even be here. How many people and teams can say they have traveled overseas to sightsee and play the game they love? Not many. The people have been great, the food so good and the sightseeing is amazing. I am even considering moving here - just kidding! Joliet, Illinois is the center of the universe in case you did not know!
This morning we had the opportunity to walk around Paris and we did a little sightseeing and shopping. We had no map and knew very little French -- let's just say we walked pretty far. There were tons of great stores so we just kept walking and exploring. We were out for about two hours and came back to the hotel to rest up before our first game.
Tonight, we got down to business and played basketball! We came here to do many things, and one of the most important was to play as a team on the court. This trip has given us a chance to really get to know each other -- on and off the court. I am so excited about this team! We have chemistry off the court and I really looked forward to seeing us mesh on the floor as well. With basketball on our minds, we put on our "focused faces" and ate a lovely pregame meal. Following the meal, we got on the bus and headed to Reims for our first game of the trip. Reims was about two hours from our hotel which gave us a chance to relax and get ready for the game.
When we first walked into the gym, I was surprised and excited. The gym was very nice and had stadium seating. The people were so welcoming and polite to us foreigners as we walked into their gym. They helped us communicate and get ready for our warm up. It took a little time to get used to the floor and the ball - the floor was a little slicker and the ball bouncier. We managed to squeeze in a quick warm up and get a lot of shots up before we tipped.
The game began and I think a few people were a little surprised at how good Reims was. They were a quick team and really challenged us on the defensive glass. They came out ready to play and we did not have our brightest of first half (a little foul trouble, and I think a ball may have ricocheted off Katherine Harry's head via a Taylor Pikes pass -- but I could be wrong). Another memorable play was when Coach Bruno used his famous "Coach Mac whistle" and everyone stopped; we thought the referee blew the whistle. Sadly, the Reims got the ball, went down the court and we committed a fouled. The language made it a little difficult to communicate with the referees, but with everyone's contributions, we focused on our own game and managed to pull out a tough, 75-70 victory.
Following the game we took a team picture with the Reims women's basketball team. They were all so friendly and we even snapped some pictures with the girls on our own. We then ordered some pizzas and watched Deanna (Ortiz) moon walk and entertain us before we headed back on the bus and to our hotel in Paris.
The important thing about this trip is that we are getting to know each other better everyday. After playing one game we already understand some things we need to focus and work on. Everyone contributed in this game and that is something that will continue to benefit us throughout the year.
We are heading to Normandy tomorrow and then our next game, tomorrow night!
Until next time, hope you're all having a grand old time back in the States and we will see you soon!