Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gearlds Blog: EuroCup Season Ends

Hey y'all! Man, I can't believe it's March already - time is really flying by.

A lot has happened since my last blog both back home and in Greece. Back home, we've had a few signings that I am sure have everyone giddy with anticipation to get the season started. But of course the whole world of women's basketball is waiting on just the one person, right? I am sure you all have your opinions just like we have our opinions, too. In the end, though, we really just want her to be happy. But, come to think of it, won't she be the happiest in Seattle?!?! No, seriously, we all know she'll make the best decision - she owes it to herself.

In my Greek world, my team was able to slide right by the Israeli team without any problems. We were one of the final eight teams in Eurocup contention and had the opportunity to play a Russian team - the trip there was miserable. We left here pretty early in the morning for a three hour flight to Moscow, had an eight-hour layover and then an eight-hour train ride to Kursk. The layover wasn't horrible, but of course we couldn’t do any sightseeing - it was too cold in Moscow for my Greek buddies to be outside. We arrived relatively early in the day, drove around, ate lunch and then watched the opening game of the Spartak vs. Ros Casares match. We stayed until midway through the third period before having to leave to catch the train. I wasn't able to speak to Sue or Lauren, but it was nice being able to watch them play. My teammates were amazed with Sylvia Fowles because of the six blocks she collected in just the first quarter!

The train ride back to Kursk was long, but relatively smooth. We passed the time with a few card games - I recommend Phase 10. The other Americans and I also taught a few of our Greek teammates to play B.S. (don't think I’ll spell that out) and Spoons. We had a great time, but now that seems to be the only game they want to play!

The game in Kursk was awful. The only thing I remember is us turning the ball over on our first five possessions. Before we could catch our breath in the first quarter, they were up by 15 points. No question about it, that was our worst game of the year by far! We ended up losing by 25 points, but honestly felt confident that we could beat them in Athens by 26 to advance to the Final Four. Well, we sure did give a run for the money! We were up by 23 and had the ball with 35 seconds to go, but unfortunately we turned the ball over. There went our chance to advance - it was definitely heart-breaking. We are a little team from Athens (I think I’m the tallest player on the team) going up against a Russian team stacked with players over 6-4 and we nearly pulled it off. Yeah, of course it was great for us to make it to the final eight because no one expected us to even come close, but we knew we were better than them and it hurt. In the end, I think we made a strong statement for Greek basketball and I hope that it will continue.

In the Greek league, we are undefeated with only four games left. I’m confident we’ll be able to take care of business. Even though we only have four game there is about a month and a half of the season left. This weekend is the Greek Cup, but my team didn't qualify after losing the qualifying game early in the season. The game was my second and we were matched-up against the second-best team in Greece. Things hadn’t clicked yet, and even though I was 9-of-12 from three-point range that game, but we could have used a few more - we lost by seven on the our opponent’s court. That was the game that set the tone for the rest of our season - we knew we wanted to go undefeated the rest of the way.

So, with a month and a half left and just four games left I'll be doing a lot of extra work in the weight room and on the court. My plan to is have my body ready for training camp. My mom and brother arrive next week, which will help pass the time. And, of course, it's March which means tone of college basketball!



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