Around the (March Madness) rim: March 22
Here are the pre-tournament thoughts from Texas co-captains Earnesia Williams and Brittainey Raven as they reflected on their first day at the NCAA Championship first- and second-rounds site in Bridgeport, Conn.
Hi Longhorn fans!
It's definitely a big deal for us to be here in (chilly and windy!) Bridgeport, Conn. We arrived from Austin late last night on our charter flight and were met at the hotel by the staff who gave us a great welcome. They really have welcomed us here. The reception at the hotel was awesome -- they decorated the lobby with burnt orange and white balloons and signs, and had popcorn and big New York style pretzels for us, along with some great cookies! And, they had a CD of "The Eyes of Texas" playing as well as they cheered and clapped for us when we came in. We really appreciated the support from the people here, in addition to our fans at home. A bunch of our most loyal fans came to the charter airport location in Austin for a big sendoff for us when we left last night. THANKS, everyone!
Today, we had a mid-morning breakfast that we all woke up for, then had lunch and study hall before we went over to the arena for a late afternoon press conference and practice which was open to the public. This arena (Arena at Harbor Yard) is really impressive. It's new and bright and we cannot wait to get going tomorrow night!
We're going to see some really good competition from Minnesota. It's also great for our program to be back in the NCAA Tournament. Our coaches have talked a little about the tournament to us, telling us that if we worked hard and executed our game plans we'd get here this year. And we have! Our coaches have so much experience in the NCAAs, with Coach G, GV (assistant coach Gale Valley) and Coach D-Moss (assistant coach Mickie DeMoss) knowing what it's like to be playing in the national championship game. Right now, we've gone over the game plan and scouting report and they just want us to go out and play hard and play Texas Basketball.
Hope you all have a chance to either watch us on ESPN2 or ESPNU tomorrow night, or listen to us on the radio (KVET Radio 1300 AM) back home in Central Texas!
I echo what Britt says about being in the NCAA Tournament and on the local support for our team.
It feels really good to be here for the first time. This is what I've was hoping for when I came to Texas -- to represent our school and our program in the NCAA Tournament. It's good to get the experience right now and make the best of it while we're here in Bridgeport. We have a lot of momentum going our way now, especially since we've committed ourselves over the last two weeks to doing all the little things and do all the hustle plays for the full 40 minutes of each game. It's really paying off for us right now. I know that my role as one of the leaders on this team is to do all the little things that might go unnoticed, but that are really important to our success -- get all the hustle plays, like tips, steals, diving for loose balls, getting offensive rebounds, taking a charge -- things like that. That's my role and I know that I can help spark us and give us energy when I can get those hustle plays.
Right now, we are going to go to a team dinner at a local restaurant where we hear that there are lots of TVs so that we can watch all the other NCAA Tournament games going on. After that, it's back to the hotel, for rest, maybe a massage, and get prepared for tomorrow night's game against a really strong Minnesota team.
Everyone has been very supportive and very cheery. At our hotel -- the DoubleTree (in Norwalk, Conn.) -- everyone was very helpful and is making us feel like they are cheering for us to win! That's a great feeling when you are 2,000 miles away from your campus and playing for respect and to pursue a championship.
Hope you will watch our game or listen to it tomorrow (Sunday) night. Happy Easter to all our fans, friends and families!