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If you know Cherise Daniel, then you know she’s the kind of person who loves the spotlight and is never at a loss for words. So throughout the NCAA Tournament, the junior guard from Columbus agreed to give fans an inside perspective on the daily activities of the Buckeyes through their Tournament run. 

Saturday, March 28: GAMEDAY vs. Stanford!!!!!
Once again breakfast was at 9:30am so we all woke up and walked what seemed like a journey over to the lobby of the hotel and into our separate room where breakfast was held. Speaking of journey, it is funny how athletes get lazy off of the court. We can run up and down the floor relentlessly, practice six days a week, lift weights and do everything that is required of us. But in our down time, some of us will take the elevator up one floor or complain about walking around campus (though our campus is huge) and all the other small things that don’t even compare to our workouts. Just thought I would throw that out there.

We arrived at the gym for shootaround later that morning and were checked in by all the friendly staff and security at Cal University and then headed up to the gym for our 11:50-12:50 practice. Practice went pretty well again as everyone seemed focused and ready to go. We tightened up some last minute things and went through Stanford’s triangle offense and out-of-bounds plays, not to mention getting a lot of shots up and then we brought it in.

We headed back to the hotel with our next event on the itinerary not being until 4:30 which was our pregame meal. So there was 3+ hours of down time, which is always a good thing, especially before a game so that all the players can get focused and rest up. So everyone came back and showered and then we either sat back and relaxed or took a nap. I use to HATE taking naps before I came to college, it just seemed like I would miss something in the world that was going on and I would rather sleep when it was time for bed, but now I think I speak for ALL college athletes when I say naps are great and a must. Most of the girls on the team will sleep any chance they get and I have plenty of pictures to prove it. That down time was great. It allowed us to get focused in whatever way each individual player gets focused and we all woke up refreshed. Pregame meal always consists of chicken breast, baked potatoes, salad, fruit, a vegetable mix, pasta with sauce and meat sauce with iced tea and lemonade. But on this day we had chicken breast, rice, zucchini type mix, pasta with meat sauce and salad with lemonade and apple juice which was a little different than normal but still good.

Now it was back to the hotel room to get mentally prepared for the game. Most people didn’t go back to sleep so that they would not be too sluggish on the big stage later. Now it was 6:30 and time to board the bus. Everyone came out with their roommates at various times close to our 6:30 departure time as the band and cheerleaders played and did cheers for us outside of the hotel. They played “Hang on Sloopy” and other songs for us as we walked out. It was exciting and very nice of them to do that. Next we were off to the gym for the biggest game of the season because as you all know once you lose it is all over. We arrive to see an ESPN camera right outside our bus waiting to tape us as we stepped off. This is the moment that we all live for growing up as a young girl … wanting to play basketball. The chance to play in the NCAA tournament and advance on as you attempt to get to the national championship game in which we all believed that this could be our year. We stop into the locker room briefly and then head out to the arena to watch some of the second half of the Michigan State-Iowa State game. Stanford had already been out there watching and left soon after we sat down. No one really cared who won we just wanted to be the ones to play on Monday in the Elite Eight. We left at the 10-minute mark of that game and went back into the locker room to get dressed and ready to play!!

Soon after the game we heard the news of Michigan State losing which got us pumped to go out there and win and represent for the Big Ten. We walked down the hall and up the stairs to the gym as we run out cheering and slapping hands and getting ready to play. The whistle blows and it is now GAMETIME! The game goes up and down through the first half. The bench cheered loud and everyone was staying ready and keeping each other up as we all needed and wanted to win this game. As a competitor you just hate to lose, especially with an opportunity like this that seems so close to you that you can reach out and touch it. We went into halftime down two (37-35) and ready to come out and finish on top.

Sadly, we came up short and besides all the other bad things that can happen in life, losing to end the season is the worst feeling ever. You prepare ALL year long for this, in the spring, summer and fall. We lift, run, have open gym, summer league, hours and hours of practice games and then you have to study and we still have lives on top of that and after balancing all of that, to see it all end just does not sit well. Everyone was in shock and reality hit us as the time went out and that final buzzer sounded. Stanford played a great 40 minutes of basketball, so hats off goes to them and I wish them the best of luck as they continue on in the tourney.

We had a really good season this year finishing up as Big Ten regular season Champs, Big Ten Tournament Champs, with a record of 29-6 and I can pretty much say that although the score of this last game looks bad from the outside (we were only down 66-62 with 5 minutes left) we were pretty much in every single game we played this year without any bad losses.

I had a great time this season and I know that the other girls would agree with me. I loved hanging out with everyone. Another thing that was nice to see was the coaching staff having so much faith and trust in us. They treated us as young adults and worked together as a family would. I am happy that I have been given a chance to be a part of this Ohio State family.

In closing I would like to say how much I am going to miss our seniors. Ashlee: I am going to miss your sarcastic ways, being the voice of the team as far as talking to Coach Foster, smelling like chlorine coming to practice after your pool workouts, your cheapness, me playing defense on you and falling for your up and under move, though I caught on eventually (haha), your sister Whit Whit and your little brother Colt and him giving us kisses on the cheek and your overall presence … you have been a cool friend and fun person to be around. Star: I am going to miss you grabbing rebounds over everyone and how strong you are, your hair sweating and splashing everyone as we run up and down the floor, your soft voice saying “I’m here” as you flash to the high post, how crazy you drive with you music blasting as we fear for our lives (especially when we were freshmen and school was cancelled on Valentine’s Day and you picked us up for practice still driving crazy as if there was no snow on the ground, though you did get us there safely), our hand clap thing we do as we warm up and you being in the middle as we huddle up before the game. You have been a great friend since our AAU days and I am going to miss you bunches. I wish both of you guys the best in the future though I know we will be in touch and it has been great playing with you guys for three years.

I hope you the fans have enjoyed my blog and I would like to thank you so much for the supporting our team ALL season long. And thank you Adam for allowing me to do this. It has been a pleasure. Goodnight everyone!

California Day 2!!!!!!!! (Friday)
So, we wake up, get dressed and walk through and around the building for breakfast in the morning which is at 9:30am. At breakfast, we have fresh fruit, yogurt, bacon, sausage, french toast, eggs, hash browns, the biggest donuts and bagels that I’ve ever seen, orange and apple juice, etc. (no I didn’t eat all that) Breakfast was delicious; we ate and talked about how excited we were for the day ahead of us as we prepare for the game the following day. As we walked back to our rooms some of us walked the back way where there are boats all around the marina which is a pretty sight. There were flowers all over, making it quite peaceful.  So then I went back to my room to take a nap as our next event is practice at 2:10, but we had to report to the bus at 12:30. I got a nice little nap in as did everyone else I am sure then we loaded the bus off to the University of California for an hour-long practice. We arrive; go through security and all of that, then sit in the locker room for during the always exciting media segment. During this time, as I have mentioned over and over, we’re not allowed to use any electronics which includes cell phones, iPods, laptops, portable DVD players and whatever other gadgets we have to help us pass the time. Once again there were lots of snacks in the locker room, fruits, vitamin and smart water and things like granola, peanuts and Chex Mix and afterwards there were sandwiches for us. So those of us who were not busy decided to play hangman in the locker room. It was fun, some of us are better spellers than others, but that is just life. I am basically the smartest person on the team (just kidding) and when I went up and someone guessed “n,” I completely forgot that there was an “n” in my word. So then we finished that up, got dressed and headed upstairs to practice. The first day of practice is open to the public as I noticed some Stanford fans in the crowd to check us out. Practice was good, we got loose, did our drills, guards and post, played some 5 on 5 man and zone … all-in-all, it was a pretty productive practice. We are all focused as NO one is ready for all of this to end … opportunities like making it to the Sweet 16 do not roll around every day and we are determined to keep it rolling.

So now practice is over and we head back to the hotel for showers and some down time until we meet at the charter bus for dinner. After I get out the shower our phone rings and Amber hands it to me someone says, “Is this Joe’s Crab Shack?” Sammy does this every trip to all of the players so I say “Byeeeee lame” and hang up. (side note- Jazmine, Jantel’s twin sister and one of our team managers, was not aware of this and was completely confused to why someone would call her room asking for Joe’s Crab Shack as she later shared this with us on the bus, hahaha). We go in and out of each other’s rooms, Andrea paints my toes, Alison tries on my cute boxer shorts, Andrea also washes her hair and some of us watch the Syracuse-Oklahoma men’s game. I love watching March Madness … everyone plays so hungry, it’s great! So time goes by and it is now time to leave for dinner in San Francisco. We pass a lot of interesting stuff on the way as many of us take pictures. Then our media personnel, Adam and Kendra, give me a video camera and microphone on the bus so I can tape all of us and get some all-access inside scoop on what we do on the charter bus (don’t worry, I was very careful with it). So we arrived at Pier 39 with a bunch of tourist shops, nice restaurants, clothing, jewelry and candy shops … basically a really nice tourist area where people go to hang out and shop. It is also surrounded by water as some of the girls saw seals making noise, rolling around and playing with one another on the docks.

 

Stores were all down the street and people were everywhere so it was cool that they let us have some down time to explore. We split up and groups for an hour until our 7:30 dinner reservations and bought things and walked around admiring the atmosphere. Then it was time to eat at the Crab House of San Francisco.  It started getting a little chilly as the restaurant had all the windows open, but we had brought jackets. We ate calamari, bruschetta bread (Shavelle loves the bread) soups and salads as appetizers, I almost got full before we even got our meal, as usual. Then out comes the food, I ordered shrimp and a steak and had a Shirley Temple with light ice (all the girls laugh at me because when I order my beverage I always say for example, “Can I have a Shirley Temple, light ice, I’m talking 3-4 cubes max”). I like light ice because I do not like my drink being too watery, plus it’s a joke, the waiter always laughs. Star had huge crab legs and everyone else’s meal varied, a lot of people got pasta.  So anyways, we finished up as we all tasted and sample each other’s food and then headed off for about 30 more minutes of shopping. Once again Adam and Kendra gave me the camera with the microphone to tape us as we shopped and talked and did our thing. I taped us in the stores and walking around and doing all the wild and crazy stuff that we do (I believe that they may post that footage and the one from on the bus earlier on the web site so look out for that).  Then it was time to head back to the bus at 9, but before we boarded there was a man playing jazz so of course we had to stop and dance as his music was quite catchy. We did our infamous electric slide to his music and all our own made-up dances, took a team picture then headed back to Berkeley. On the way back our bus driver got on his headset (with his romantic accent … Allan, he’s quite handsome) and gave us descriptions of everything that we passed. We went through San Francisco’s China Town and many other interesting sites.

Now we are back at the hotel to relax. As usual, Andrea, Maria, Ashlee and I watch a movie. We started this ritual at the Big Ten Tourney, no one else is allowed to come — just kidding — but I do not know why no one else watches them with us, they either go to sleep,  just chill in their rooms, hang out and whatever else. We decide to watch “The Unborn,” which was pretty good. Andrea was scared the whole time and clinched Maria’s arm as we watched poor thing. So after the movie it was time for bed and time to dream about us winning Saturday night. I know that it is going to be a tough, tough battle against a very good Stanford team, but we are up for the challenge.  So until next time Buckeye fans, goodnight! P.S. tune in to ESPN2 @ 11:30 Eastern Time, if you are not there in person, please cheer very loud to the TV. Thanks and Go  Bucks!!

Thursday 10 a.m.
Off to Cali!!!!!!!!

We met at the Schott at 8 am to head off to the airport so we load our luggage and ate our Panera that we ordered as we drove to the airport. There, will we be taking off from our huge charter airplane along with the band and cheerleaders. So we go through security and then run out in the rain to board the spacious plane. We learned that the flight will be 4 and a half hours, but well worth it as we are in hopes to continue our season. Everyone boards and takes their seats on the plane. Brittany and I sit in a 3 row seat with many of the other girls nearby so when I get bored I can go talk to them. The band and cheerleaders are towards the middle and the back. So some of the girls go to sleep and some stay up to mingle and chat or listen to music or watch movies on their laptops. I began to watch Blood Diamond on my portable DVD player, which was very good until my DVD player died about an hour and a half into the movie (darn!). Later, the flight attendants passed out ham, turkey and roast beef sandwiches along with oranges, chips and Gatorade on the flight. The sandwiches were good as everyone was hungry by this time. So finally we hear that we will be landing soon and so everyone opens their window to peak out at the scenery. We saw many mountains and the Golden Gate Bridge from the plane! We also saw Alcatraz and downtown Oakland as we landed. This was good because Coach Foster told us earlier in the week that we would not be doing much as we are not there for a vacation, so we got our 10 minutes of sight-seeing as we landed.

So finally we land!!!!  It was about 12:30 p.m. when we landed, which was cool because it seemed as though we still had a full day ahead of us, but the jet lag and time difference was sure to hit everyone later.  Everyone gets off the plane, excited and ready for the next move. Next stop was the University of San Francisco for practice. So we drove as our bus driver gave us some facts and what not on his headset and microphone as we drove across the bridge and through downtown San Francisco. We drove over some big bridges and saw a lot of cool sites. At practice, we got loose and went through some things that we needed to tighten up on. It was a good practice! Then it was to the hotel in Berkeley for showers and a little down time before dinner. We get in the lobby of the hotel and everyone is always anxious to know who they are roommates with. Amber Stokes and I are roommates and Jantel and Star were roommates everyone else flipped and flopped roommates because some people like the room warm while others like it cold, which is key because these hotels are our homes so being comfortable is a must. In the end it was Andrea and Alison then Sarah and Brittany then Shavelle and Sammy and Maria and Ashlee. Now once all of that was sorted out the hard part was finding our hotel rooms. No one had ever been in a hotel like this there are 5 buildings and then multiple floors on each building, so it was confusing and a struggle as we searched for our building and carried all of our bags. All of us were lost, coaches included but then we finally reached our building and found the right elevator to use and everyone went into their rooms.
 
Next was dinner so we met back on the bus at 6 p.m. to head back to San Francisco for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. San Francisco is a nice city! Downtown has a lot of fancy stores very different than Columbus. There is more traffic, the street s are shaped different while we saw some buses connected to wires and trolleys as well. Downtown they had stores like Niketown, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany’s and many other nice stores. The Cheesecake Factory was located at the top of a Macy’s store on the eighth floor. Dinner was good as we talked and laughed as usual and of course ate some great food. We also ordered desert and then they let us go walk around on the town for 30 minutes if you chose to. Sammy, Alison, Shavelle, Andrea and I left as we all wanted to go to Niketown. Unfortunately we were 10 minutes late, closing time was apparently at 8 p.m. who knew!?  Anyhow, from there we walked around a little, took a few pictures and met a few interesting people. We met a lady named LaReese who was homeless, but had a great spirit! She sung to us and told us a little about herself and where she was from. Some of the girls gave their leftover food to some of the homeless people as they took it with open arms. It was then time to go back to the hotel and relax. So some of us went to the hot tub, some watched a movie and some people just chilled in their rooms. Then it was lights out!

Monday, March 23
Gameday!
Once again I got to sleep in, yessssss!!! So everyone arrived at the Schott at 1 p.m. to take off for shootaround at Nationwide. It was a nice day outside and everyone was happy and in a good mood which was great! We arrived at Nationwide, checked in, got dressed (as Chalisa, our wonderful trainer said “hurry up” because she’s usually the one aware of the time and what not) and then we watched film and headed out to the court. We watch did our normal drills, our 7 spots that I previously told you about, went through Mississippi State’s plays and our game plan, and got some shots up. Then it was back to the lockerroom to get dressed to head back to the Schott for our pregame meal.

So we get to the Schott, turn in our dirty practice bags and get on the elevator to go upstairs. Shavelle has on her headphones and as I can hear her music as we both start dancing. It’s funny how loud our music gets when you are listening to an iPod, it’s like you’re listening to it, but it’s so loud that everyone can hear it. Sammy is famous for this. On a side note, I really think that a lot of players on this team are addicted to their iPod’s and cell phones too for that matter. I will name a few for you….Andrea (phone, she loves texting everyone and listening to her iPod), Sammy (iPod, pretty much all she does besides basketball), Jantel (phone and iPod), Shavelle (phone by far and iPod), Star (phone), Alison (phone) and myself (phone, I will admit I love my sidekick and my iPod as well) and everyone else is safe. They don’t have an addiction to either. But we are a focused group of girls on and off the court and I am sure all of you Buckeye fans out there will be proud to know that we had a really good winter quarter as far as grades go, the best since Coach Foster has been here I believe.

So pregame is at 3 and we walk in to our usually buffet of food which includes salad, fruit, baked potatoes, a vegetable mix, lasagna, chicken breast … and I feel like I am forgetting something … and then we have unsweetened iced tea and lemonade. I love iced tea and I wish that they would sweeten it for us. So we all sit down, usually at the same seat and enjoy our meal along with laughter as we are all ready to nap and relax a bit before the game. Brittany and I are usually always the last ones eating and we always wait for each other because I do not think that the other girls chew their food properly, so shout out to Brit! Besides me eating slow, I am also kind of messy as far as the organization of my plate goes. In fact Jantel makes fun of me about how sloppy my plates are … she’s like an annoying little sister (just kidding Jantel). And another funny thing, Andrea hates when people eat with their silverware and unknowingly scrape it on their teeth as they pull it out their mouth. It’s so funny, she covers her ears and says “ouch” as they do it (I sometimes annoy her and do it on purpose). So as I am almost done, Shavelle starts rushing me and I am like, “no” because Brittany is not done yet so her and Andrea leave and me and Brit leave soon after that.

So some people head to the dorms to do some stuff and all of us apartment people stay at the Schott on our new leather couches to nap. Instead of falling asleep, we get caught up in an episode of “Wife Swap” and then we take off for Nationwide at 5. We arrive, go to the lockerroom, get dressed and plug in Tangy’s iPod speakers so that we can get loose and hear our songs before the game. We do our famous “electric slide” (Jantel, Andrea, Star and I) once again Sarah, Brit and Maria refuse to participate with us, Amber dances over to the side in her own world and then we start to settle down to get focused. Sarah leads us in prayer and then we run out to the court to our ELECTRIC crowd!

 

It was so exciting to run out and see all the support and Buckeye fans here for us, we love it and we really appreciate you all so much!! So from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU, the crowd was amazing Monday as always! The game was very exciting as you all know. Mississippi State was a really good team and never let up a bit, the game was pretty close all the way through which was fun to watch at first, but hard to watch towards the end. Everyone played very well and as a team which was great. All of us on the bench couldn’t bear to watch the end, I was extremely nervous. Coach Kelley as well as Shavelle often squeezed my hand and as shots went up and on our press breaker as some passes seemed to be within reach of the long Mississippi State players. But in the end everyone came through on our team and did what they needed to do to secure a great win! It was a fun game!!!!! The buzzer sounded and we briefly celebrated before we shook the hands of the opposing team. So back to the lockerroom we went to continue cheering and complementing each other on a well-fought game. The media soon came in and we all grabbed drinks, snacks and sandwiches that the tournament provides for us and caught our breath. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to leave the lockerroom to go see our family after the game during this media time because it is a rule, in fact I had to get off the phone as my cousin Kim (one of my biggest fans) called me as she was waiting for me to come out but then I was rushed off the phone (by Adam) and he told me to complain about it in my blog, so I am! Once Adam finally released us, we went out to see some of our families who decided to stay and wait, Andrea’s parents, Jantel’s mom and aunt and Sammy parents were all still there so they all came out to see them as well as Shavelle and I. Then back to the Schott on the charter bus we go, still overjoyed by our win!!!!! At the Schott some family is awaiting there for us again. The Schulze’s and my cousin Steve, who was also Shavelle’s high school basketball coach, came to meet us to say CONGRATS! So that was the day, CALI here we come and thanks everyone for the support of my blog, please continue to read as well as follow us as we continue on in this NCAA tourney. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 22
2 p.m. Practice Day

This is when we had to be at the Schott to leave for Nationwide which was great because I love sleeping in. Though, I still woke up pretty early. I stormed into my roomie Andrea’s room at about 11:30 to jump on her bed and wake her up but she just looked up at me and turned right back around to sleep. So anyways we left the house at 1:40 for the Schott as we plugged in my ipod and danced in the car to the Schott. After everyone arrived we left at 2 and then headed towards Nationwide. Today as we checked in our bags and got our wristbands, a couple of the girls noticed a cute guy which you normally do not see because all the security guys are usually a lot older then us — just thought that I would throw that in there. We then went to the lockerroom to watch film on Mississippi State and got dressed for a great practice ahead of us. We got shots up, did drills and our everyday guard and post routines and went over our plays and did some defensive drills as we prepared for Monday’s big game!!!

After practice I usually like to jump right in the shower but it was time for our 30 minute media session that everyone loves. Clay Hall from Channel 6 came in and asked a lot of us questions as well as ONN and other networks and newspapers. Then it was shower time. This is always pretty interesting because the showers in this lockerroom are wide open but somehow we make it work. So then everyone got dressed in their nice dress clothes, did their hair, makeup as we were leaving to go straight to dinner.

Dinner was at G. Michaels, a fancy restaurant in German Village that I am sure Coach Foster picked out for us (we hear he eats there 2-3 times a week!). It was a nice place. In fact, they usually take recruits there on their official visit. As usual, everyone was hungry, so as soon as they put the first appetizer on the table everyone reached for it in unison as if we were starving cavewomen. The calamari is always a favorite of ours and it was on point! I started out with a lot on my plate and as I kept turning my head in conversation it was disappearing faster then I was eating it, as Shavelle was sitting next to me and kept eating it. We also had this bread with apple butter spread on it, shrimp and grits, muscles and other stuff. So the dinner conversation was random as it always is, ranging from basketball to funny stuff to a little bit of singing. And speaking of singing, there is this thing that me and my friends use to do in high school where we would sing a song and unknowingly the person next to you will start singing it as well. So when that happens we say, GOTTT CHUUUU!! It is so annoying because lets say for instance Ashlee is singing, I don’t know maybe a Rihanna song and then two seconds later Jantel will start singing it in which Ashlee can say, GOT CHUUU!! I know it is kind of corny but its all fun. We also watched the end of the Louisville-Siena game and the Michigan State-USC game on Alison’s phone. It was a nice clear picture, she is always watching cartoons and television shows on her phone and I see why.

Our meal took longer than all of our grumbling stomachs expected. So when dinner came there was less talking as everyone dove right into their plates. Most people ordered ribs, linguine, steak, Mahi Mahi and Sarah got lamb. I tried a little of everyones food because my steak was a little smaller than I expected (you know how those expensive restaurants are) but it was really good. We also got to order desert, which has been a theme since we have been in the tournament — they usually don’t let us order desert because, well, actually I do not know why. On the bus ride back to the Schott Star had her phone playing music, Shavelle sung as if she wanted everyone to hear her, Jantel put on her headphones and listened to her slow music, Brittany, Maria and Sarah danced — okay, no they didn’t, but I wish that they would more often and everyone else just sat back and relaxed. So then we got to the Schott everyone left to go home and get focused for our big day tomorrow. I cannot wait. We all are very excited and ready to go especially against a good, physical, athletic team like Mississippi State. I hope that everyone reading this will either be there or tune in, so until next time. Goodnight!!

Saturday, March 21
9 a.m. GAME DAY!!!!
Everyone arrived at the Schott at 9:00 am so that we could make the trip across the freeway to Nationwide for game day shootaround and, of course, the BIG game at 2:30! It feels so good to be home for the 1st and 2nd rounds because of the opportunity of having so much great support from the fans and I know that the atmosphere will be great! At shootaround we went through our normal routine and drills as well as the scouting report so that we know what to expect from some of their plays and out of bounds plays. One of my favorites, I guess you can call is a game that we do on every gameday called 7 spots. It is the first thing that we do so most of us are not warmed up yet and it is a shooting game. There are two teams, the first team consists of Sam, Amber, Brittany, Ashlee, Andrea and Maria and my team is Jantel, Sarah, Star, Shavelle, Alison and I. We shoot 2-pointers around the court hitting all 7 spots and the first team to 10 yells “10” really loud and then each team has to move to the next spot. Then after hitting all 7 spots at one end we race down to the other end and do it again and whoever has won the most spots wins. It gets so competitive and has turned into a game of bragging rights. We often have to watch the managers such as Jazmine and Amber Henderson who sometimes forget how to count and mess up the score or when we call it at the same time and plead our cases to get the point as we are still shooting. And I hate to admit it but the other team has been kicking our butt in 7 spots this year, we will get them tomorrow though!

So now shootaround is over and we head over across the street to Rise and Dine for breakfast which was perfect timing because we were all so hungry. As we walk in we see a restaurant FULL of OSU fans that were there before the game eating. They immediately started clapping and cheering for us, that was great! I did not expect to see so many fans in there. So we walk through waving and saying hello and of course I had to go through and give a few high fives on the way! We had a buffet breakfast of eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage links, sausage patties, fruit, toast, grits, oatmeal, and orange, apple and cranberry juice waiting for us. It was delicious and everyone ate and ate then we walked back through the restaurant to cheers and greeted a few fans as we went outside for a team picture then back to Nationwide to rest and watch the Texas vs. Mississippi State game before us.

We were able to watch the 1st half of the game and get a chance to evaluate one of these teams that we hoped to be playing on Monday. It was a battle both teams looked aggressive and physical but we watched in hopes of matching up with one of them in the near future. At halftime it was time to go back to the locker room to get prepared for the game. This consists of getting taped, wrapped and whatever treatment you may need as well as getting dressed and we watched the game film of Sacred Heart one last time. After prayer it was GAME TIME!!!! Everyone was pumped and ready to go out there and win a NCAA tourney game, something we have not did since I have been here.

As we ran out the atmosphere was crazy we had so many fans there cheering for us. It was very cool!! I really believe that playing at home was a nice advantage for us because of our great fan base!! So the game started out a bit slow and had its moments of ups and downs for us but we picked it up enough and when we needed to so that we could secure the win!!! Sam had a great game and did her normal hand clapping to get her pumped. Jantel played hard getting a doubled double, Star got some nice baskets and Shavelle hustled and pressured the ball as usual. Maria stepped up big for us hitting some nice three’s and others like Andrea and Alison came in and did good. I would go through the whole team but I am sure everyone reading this saw the game so you guys know what happened. And not to leave anyone out because I was proud of the whole team and I know that some who didn’t play up to their full potential will be ready on Monday so please tune in!!! As the buzzer sounded everyone was overjoyed that we won and had overcome a great run by Sacred Heart who never gave up.

Back to the locker room for our end of the game speech from Coach Foster and a 30 minute media session, interviews, press conferences and etc. So finally we load the bus and head back to the Schott as that everyone could meet up with their families or go home and rest and all that good stuff. It was a great day and win for us and I hope that this can continue for as long as we want through hard work and playing as a team. None of us did too much later that day. A lot of people went out to eat with their family and besides that just chilled and rested. I usually go out to eat with my family after big games as my parents attend all of my home games as well as my aunts, little sister, grandmother’s and friends at times, but I insisted that they go without me because I was not hungry at the time. Around 8 pm Andrea and I went to go see our OSU gymnast friend Tai at his gymnastics meet which is a very interesting sport and then on my way home Shavelle told me that she was at Eddie George’s with her family, so I went to say hi and I watched the end of an exciting men’s NCAA matchup of Duke and Texas. I then texted Jantel who was in her dorm tired and resting. And then back home I went to watch a movie with Andrea and our friend from the track team, Saryna and then straight to bed!

Friday, March 20
6:00 p.m.

It is now time to meet back at the Schott so we can go to dinner at Morton’s which is a fancy restaurant downtown that we all had to dress up for. Everyone looked so nice!! I love seeing my teammates outside of our basketball clothes because it seemed like we are in them 51.24% (Andrea and my jersey numbers) of the day. The restaurant was dark and very nice inside with nice waiters. I actually kept calling one of them “handsome” because I could not pronounce his name. The meal was great, I love team meals! We get to sit around the table, eat, talk, eat, laugh, eat and just have an overall good time! Sometimes at team dinners it seems as though all the talkative people are seated by each other and the not as talkative people are at one end (not to be confused with a clique) but that’s just how it ends up. Though we all love each other.

But this time was different. Sam was down at one end running on and on and then towards my end, Shavelle and I had our normal battle about random stuff as two sisters do. Jantel, as well as many others were a little tired, which is understandable because we have a lot on our plate as finals week just ended on Thursday (what a relief!!!!!).  Also Alison was going through her phone on some website going through jokes, they were funny!

Here’s one: So Bob went to the doctor. The doc said that he had some bad news and some worse news. So Bob said give me the worst news first. The doc said, “Ok you have 24 hrs to live.” And Bob replied, “Wow what could be worse then that?”  Then the doc replied, “I meant to call and tell you this yesterday.” Lol!  We all thought that was pretty funny! Of course one or two people didn’t get the joke but I am NOT going to say any names.

So all together everyone had a variety of salad, steak, salmon, HUGE jumbo shrimp, scallops, baked potatoes, HUGE broccoli, crab cakes, other vegetables topped off with dessert in which afterwards we were all stuffed. It was an excellent meal!!  So we wrapped dinner up with a team photo and headed back on the charter bus to the Schott. Ashlee, Brittany, Maria, Andrea and I all gathered over Ashlee’s to watch the men take on Siena (GO BUCKS!!!!!) and then everyone parted there ways for bed. Goodnight!!  See everyone tomorrow at Nationwide Arena!

12:45 p.m.
So this was the time that we were to report to the Schott to load the charter bus to head to practice at Nationwide Arena. My roomie (Andrea Walker) and I decide to drive together and got there at about 12:30. When we arrived, everyone was either in the training room receiving treatment and chit-chatting, or in the locker room watching all these exciting NCAA games. So after a little bit, we load the bus, which was not our normal OSU charter bus, but oh well. We head over the freeway and into Nationwide to our nice, spacious, new locker room for these tourney games. As we all get settled in by about 1pm, it is now time for media and then we finally got on the floor at 2:10 for an hour-long practice.

Soooo, we all immediately (especially Andrea) head to the food and beverage table to get some snacks because we are always hungry. Then Jantel (aka Gentle), Shavelle (aka Chevy) and Star (aka SUPERstar) head to a press conference and the rest of us are left to chill and meet with some media in the lockerroom. Brittany and Amber met with Channel 10, I believe, and some nice ladies from a website called palestra.net interview Andrea and I as we babble on about on and off the court stuff … it was actually hilarious. She asked us the normal interview questions as well as some fun questions like “what is each of our bad habits? Who has better style? And whose position is harder, a post or guard?” In which we immediately go back and forth trying to prove our cases. Sarah and Amber were to my right cracking up as we debated.

Then because I am a marketing major and just love talking, the lady from Palestra let me go around with the microphone and camera to interview other team members. Jantel was my first victim as I asked her questions and wrapped it up with her showing the camera her favorite dance move!  Next was Star as she answered some questions as well, next I was going to Coach Black who is ALWAYS full of energy and then Shavelle, but media time was then up. Sorry Chevy. 

Next it was time to practice. It was great to go out there and get a feel for the court and the setup of everything!!  It was great that we had the Ohio State floor on the court (same one used at Value City Arena) and some fans there to watch as we prepare for a tough game against Sacred Heart at 2:30 Saturday (BE THERE!!!). Practice is always enjoyable to me because I really enjoy this team and feel as though since we won the Big Ten regular season and tournament we have and some very good practices.  Another note, we didn’t have our practice players there which winded a few of us at times but we’re young and bounced back! So then practice was over so we headed back to the locker room, got dressed and grabbed more food then headed back to the Schott.