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.
What if? What if we would have won three of those close games during pre-season? Well, then we'd be 7-2 going into the Pacific-10 Conference portion of the season. We didn't win and we're 4-5, but the past is behind us, and the regular season is here.
From now on, each game we play we will be considered the underdogs. I think playing this part puts us in a great position. Not many of the other teams in our conference think we can pull off an upset, but the important thing is that as a team, we know we are incredibly capable of doing just that.
It is, however, sometimes tough trying to convince people that we are so very much improved from even just last year. Teams look at our record and scout film on us and think they can pick apart our strengths and showcase our weaknesses.
After losing only a handful of games during my entire high school career, it was really difficult to accept only a handful of wins last year. It put many things into perspective for me. Every day was a new challenge, and relishing small victories became incredibly important.
At one point, I remember thinking that winning just one game in the Pac 10 would be enough. Then, something happened. Our team gradually became resilient.
The final game of the season, we beat Arizona State, a tournament-bound team.
That victory showed me exactly what being the underdog means. It means that each time we win; it is that much more special. It's not expected, but it's not a surprise either. It is a fire within each player and the will to show others that we know what we're made of. I know that we have that fire somewhere within our team, but I don't think it has fully ignited just yet. Once the glimpses of flames finally begin to merge, I honestly think we will be a blazing inferno ready to take on anyone in our path.
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