During the 2004-05 season, sophomore Kate Benz will chronicle her experiences with the Cougar basketball team. Visit wsucougars.com for future thoughts from Kate throughout the season.
The holidays - time for family, food, bowl games and more importantly, the beginning of basketball madness.
Tournaments and travel coincide with Thanksgiving and every year teams find themselves in different regions fitting in turkey and stuffing between significant games.
Last year we found ourselves celebrating Thanksgiving in Waco, Texas but this year we traveled south to Moraga, Calif., where we competed in the St. Mary's College tournament.
After failing to defeat the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers a few days prior, we were anxious to hit the court again and add another W to our record. With an executed game plan and the help of many Cougar fans to cheer us on, we achieved our goal.
The following night it seemed we took a step in the opposite direction and we came away with disbelief and a second place trophy. Lessons are most often learned the hard way and our loss to Tennessee-Chattanooga was that in a nutshell.
We sat as a team and watched them play the night before. To us, it didn't appear that they were anything we couldn't handle. We watched game film and listened to the scouting report. In our minds, we were prepared.
Here's where the lesson comes in: never underestimate any team. On any given night, basketball is most definitely anybody's game. I couldn't help looking up at the scoreboard and seeing their lead grow and grow. Before we knew it, we were down by 20 points.
What happened? In my opinion, we played our style of basketball in reverse. We didn't stick to our game plan and therefore a winnable game became a bit of a slaughtering and an eye-opener for the team.
I'm not going to lie. My head was down for the rest of the trip. I was worried and I'm sure our coaches were worried that this loss could be a possible sign of things to come.
After talking to a couple of my teammates, however, a light clicked on in my head. Our coaches ask a lot out of us players, but nothing we cannot handle. The two things coach Murrell stresses before every game are attitude and effort. It's kind of like our mantra for the team.
The answer to that question of what happened during our Tennessee-Chattanooga game lies purely in the fact that 100 percent of the team did not give 100 percent attitude and effort and we knew it.
It's a horrible feeling to know you could have done more. We are working as hard as we can to eliminate the possibility of feeling unfulfilled. Coach Lewis loves to preach the fact that we can get better everyday and as a young team, I think we're finally starting to grasp that concept and honor his words.
There's nothing better than coming off a loss and recording a win. The satisfaction of beating Portland State and seeing the confetti in Beasley fall gave us just that.
Always looking toward the future and forgetting the past. There's nothing but the Fresno State Bulldogs, whom we will play Dec. 9, on our brains. Go Cougs!
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