Leavin' On A Jet Plane: Allison Jaskowiak Packs Up And Preps For NCAA Action|
March 17, 2006
March 16, 2006
The team leaves tomorrow for Norfolk, VA. I just finished packing- which is quite a surprise considering I usually finish packing for road trips at approximately 1:00am the morning of the day that we leave. Spring Break has allowed me to have a lot more free time than I am used to. Before I decided to be productive and pack for tomorrow, I was keeping myself busy by using Post-it notes to mark selected poetry in my Robert Frost and Wallace Stevens books. Oh, and let's not forget yesterday, when I spent my afternoon reorganizing all my papers just to come to the conclusion that I needed a better filing system. I also would have made the trip to Office Depot to purchase new filing cabinets had it not been for my roommate and teammate, Meghan Gnekow, coming home and distracting me. (Thank you Meghan - without you some people might consider me a nerd.)
Most SC students are spending their Spring Break catching some waves and relaxing on the beach. We're headed to the beach as well, but with different intentions. For the past two weeks, we have been in the gym preparing for our first round match-up in the NCAA tournament. The team was a little nervous whether our victory over Washington would be enough to get us a bid after our less-than-stellar performance versus ranked Stanford in the Pac-10 tournament. With that loss behind us, we have enjoyed quite a few days off to rest our bodies and get mentally and physically prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.
The team, along with friends, family, fans and administrators joined together in the Galen Center Cafeteria on "Selection Monday" to watch as the brackets were revealed. Of course, I was anxious to find out where we were slotted, but I was also anticipating the placement of the University of Tulsa - my sister's basketball team. While the team was getting taped for our match-up against Stanford in San Jose, I was able to watch Tulsa beat Rice on national television for the Conference USA championship. My sister, a redshirt senior, hasn't been able to experience the thrill of getting to the NCAA Tournament; so, seeing her team's name appear was almost more satisfying than seeing SC appear. I was hoping, for my parents' sake, that we would be placed in the same region, but she was sent to Chicago and we will be in Norfolk. Understandably, my parents and grandparents will be making the six-hour drive from Chesterfield to Chicago to watch my sister in her final performance(s) on the hardwood.
My sister has had a great year, which is well-deserved. Emily is two years older than me. She has always set the bar high in terms of work ethic and attitude. There is no doubt in my mind that without her I wouldn't be half the person I am today. She is such a hard worker and has faced more adversity in her five years of college than I could ever imagine. All the while she has remained strong, both for her team as captain and for her sister as a role model. Without her sending me Cinderella cheer-up cards in the mail, I probably wouldn't have survived my freshman year of basketball. I am so thankful that all of her pain and hard work is paying off. I'll be watching them in hopes that they upset NC State Saturday night and move on to the second round.
With the selections behind us, we have had an intense week of preparation to beat the South Florida Bulls. Unfortunately, during the last drill in practice on Tuesday, Markisha came down wrong on her right arm and broke her ulna. This was a difficult injury to swallow for multiple reasons: 1) Markisha is by far the funniest and most free-spirited person ever created. The entire team is obsessed with her, her crossword puzzle book that she brings out of town, her alphabetically arranged, Blockbuster-equivalent movie collection, and her hilarious impressions of "Hi Jada" on the bus microphone. 2) Markisha was having, possibly, the best practice ever. She was at the peak of her game. She was dominating the boards, finishing all of her putbacks, and shutting down everyone on defense. Everyone knew she was ready for this weekend. Finally, 3) With Markisha out, that knocks our "playable" roster down to eight people. Jamie Funn, Simone Jelks, and Markisha will be doing their part from the bench keeping us motivated and our energy up. Brynn Cameron, sadly, won't be able to travel to Virginia because of her recent hip surgery. She has been battling with injury this entire season and I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to have to go through the rehab cycle again. Her persistence through so much pain is admirable - I honestly don't know how she has done it. Her presence, along with J Funn, Simone, and Markisha's will be missed when we take the floor to battle USF.
Everyone is beginning to show their excitement to compete in the NCAA tournament. Thursday morning in the Galen Cafeteria (while we were eating the most amazing breakfast in the world) we watched as Pacific almost upset Boston College. That nostalgic, gut-wrenching feeling of an "almost upset" surfaced in our minds... those last few seconds when we were so close to glory... but defeated. Last year, our team played at a different level against Louisville and Michigan State. This year, I know our effort will be the same. Whether we win or lose, we will go out giving our best effort.... fighting like true Trojans. (Wow... I'm getting myself pretty excited. I can just picture the guy from "Conquest" reading that last line in his deep voice and then they play the fight song remix.) I digress...
Before I close my entry, I want to thank everyone who has been supporting us this entire season. We truly do appreciate your attendance and support at our games. I can't explain how much of a difference it makes when the seats are filled when the tip-off is tossed. As we begin our postseason play, I wanted to let you know that we're not only playing for ourselves and our wonderful university, but for all of our loyal fans. Hopefully, we will see you all again next year in the new Galen Center! Thanks so much!
Well... I suppose now that I have finished this journal, I will get out some green construction paper and make a shamrock craft for Darcy's filing cabinets. Darcy - if you don't already know - is the team's sports information representative. Basically, she's "pretty rad." The team loves her and her sarcastic humor. She's also quite the talented competitor - my advice - don't challenge her to a game of "Quarters" in the airport. Just take my word for it!