The Write Stuff: Kala Bowers
The six Longhorns seniors (Jody Bell, Kala Bowers, Jamie Carey, Annissa Hastings, Heather Schreiber and Mercedes Williams) will take turns writing a weekly diary entry - The Write Stuff - from their own "Senior Slant" perspectives on topics galore!
This week, Bowers talks about the No. 13 Longhorns picking up two huge wins over Top 25 opponents Texas Tech and Kansas State, about the Horns showing a defensive toughness, and about making her final trip to her home state of Oklahoma this weekend while wearing the Burnt Orange and White.
Up next on The Write Stuff (week of Feb. 20-27): the "Senior Slant" from Mercedes Williams.
I am writing this on the plane ride coming back after our big win at Kansas State tonight.
We've beaten two Top 25 teams in a row and we have won seven of our last eight games. We are playing as a unit right now and our confidence is very good.
Sunday's game against Texas Tech was a turnaround game for us, defensively. We hadn't been playing that well on "D" and from the previous game that we played against Tech in Lubbock, we didn't do what we needed to do defensively to stop their penetration. That's what hurt us the first time we played them.
Going into the Sunday Tech game, we focused on making sure that we got penetration stopped and that we were talking constantly on defense. We held Tech to 43 points - and Coach (Conradt) told us that was their lowest scoring game of the year. It felt really good to have such a great defensive performance.
Through that game, we became even closer as a team and carried it onto the game at Kansas State tonight.
This was the first time we've won at K-State since the Big 12 started. We knew we had to stop their 3-point shooters. Our communication was good and it was really, really hard to stay connected in Bramlage Coliseum. Their fan support is always awesome and they are loud! It's hard to hear what 's going on. That's why it's important for us to communicate well to each other and get our messages to each other.
The game was very fun and exciting, but also very stressful. There were a couple of turning points at the end of the game that really could have given a different turnout if they went another way. If Laurie Koehn had hit her wide-open "three" with just a few seconds left, and if we hadn't gotten some of our steals, we wouldn't have won. It all came down to being tough down the stretch in a hostile arena - if we had not been tough, we wouldn't have won.
There was a four-way tie for second in the Big 12 before the game, and Texas and K-State were two of those teams. That gave us an extra motivation and push. We didn't want Kansas State to come back in the last minute of the game and have the opportunity to win the game.
For the first time after a game this year, we went into the locker room, turned on our music and started dancing! It was a rap song from Erneisha's (Bailey) iPod and her iPod speakers. All the players were dancing screaming and hollering with excitement. I think you can guess that the coaches had not yet come into the locker room!
Now, we are 9-3 in the Big 12 and in a tie for second-place with Iowa State and Texas Tech. We have our third game in a seven days on Saturday (Feb. 19) when we travel to Oklahoma State.
I am going back home to play Saturday for the last time as a Longhorn! I am excited to see my family and friends again who will watch me in my home state for the last time. It's actually kinda sad to think about it.
I spoke to a reporter from the Tulsa World the other day as she interviewed me about our upcoming game at Oklahoma State and asked me what it would be like for me to go back and play in Oklahoma for the last time as a Longhorn.
She asked me about how the crowds were to me at both OSU and Oklahoma. I told her that when I first got to Texas and I'd go home to play, there were a few people in the crowd I knew from high school who would yell "traitor" and boo me at both schools. But as each year goes by, I might still get booed, but I haven't been called traitor in a while! Most are excited for me and cheer for us, and over the years I think I've switched some serious OU fans over to being Longhorn fans!
That's all for now. We'll be back in Austin for our last two regular season home games next week against Colorado and Oklahoma. It means so much to us to play in front of a big, loud crowd. Please come out and watch us!