February 21, 2012 - Ally Jensen
“Time flies when you’re having fun!” Cliché, I know. But it’s so true! This season has come and gone so quickly! There is a lot of basketball left to be played, but it’s rather surreal that we finished up our last regular season home games of 2011-12. We have had so many great moments thus far, but I think last weekend was definitely a highlight for most of us. We started the weekend by defeating a very tough team in our league, Illinois State. Not only was this one of our biggest wins of the season, but we looked pretty dang good doing it in our new pink uniforms!! We were very grateful for the donations and efforts to make our PINK OUT a success! The fun continued to roll right on to Sunday. It was unbelievable to see all the love and support to celebrate our senior, DaNae Moore. Sokol Arena was full of alumni, family, friends, and fans to cheer DaNae and the Bluejays on in their last home game. Getting the weekend sweep over Indiana State was the perfect ending to a great weekend.
I would be remiss to not say a few words about how much DaNae means to our team and this university. I’m sure most of you heard her speech and were as impressed as I was. DaNae is an unbelievable example to all my teammates and I on how to work hard, be a good teammate, friend, and leader both on and off the court. I think it is clear how much she means to this team and how much she will be missed next year. She has had a wonderful career here thus far, but has just enough time to make some history down in St. Charles!
What I have on my mind that I really wanted to write about this week is the opportunity for a second chance... What I love most about competing in the Valley Conference is two things: 1) the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by winning the conference tournament and 2) the chance to play every team twice.
1) Although we most likely aren’t going to win the regular season conference title, we are going to feel very confident going into the conference tournament. Besides Missouri State and Drake, we have beaten every team in the league. (And we still have the opportunity to beat Drake in a couple weekends!) Coach Flan has prepared us and coached us to be in a position to win every game this year. (Maybe besides Notre Dame, but that is a different story.) I have confidence that he will continue to do so these last two regular season weekends and every opportunity we get to play in the tournament. I also have confidence that my teammates and I are going to give everything we have these last three games and when we lace up and take the court in St. Charles. Anything can happen, and the opportunity to keep your season alive by winning is very enticing. This team loves to dance, and what better place to have fun and show off your skills than the NCAA tournament.
We are super excited to head to St. Charles, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. Although we may be out of the race for a regular season championship, the Jays have three big games ahead. If you are like DaNae’s mom (and think we play perfect all the time), thank you! ;) But I’m assuming most of you know we don’t play the prettiest basketball at times. Every opportunity to practice and play a game is another chance for us to get better playing together and as individuals.
2) Playing a team twice in one season is very difficult. Most teams know everything about you the first time you play. They know all your plays, they know each players offensive tendencies, and they know how to pick apart your defense. If they don’t have it figured out the first time, they definitely know everything about you the second time! By this point in the season, you know what flavor bubble gum they chew, where their tattoos are, and what color nail polish they like. If you haven’t figured these things out about our team, let me fill you in on some of our team’s secrets:
Alexis: is usually found painting her finger nails bright pink just minutes before every game
Taylor/Sammy/Jordan: these three are in the running for #1 team nap taker
Riley: you will not find a more positive or prettier cheerleader in the league
Alyssa: is by far the best studier on the team!
Sarah: has taken more elbows to the face than 100 people should take in all their lifetimes combined
Carli: is our DJ, dancer, clown, vocalist.. all around team entertainer
McKenzie: from braids to cuts to coloring, she is responsible for many of our cute hairdos
Jasmin: she may be the littlest division 1 basketball player; but don’t be fooled by her size, she can eat with the best of them
DaNae: has more nicknames than anyone I know! (donna bear, duns, dwansky, donna the bluejay… a few of many!)
This past weekend, we knew everything about Illinois State and they knew everything about us. Beating Illinois State was sweet for many reasons, but a major reason I enjoyed the win was getting revenge from the first time we played them. And even though we got the “W” over UNI the first time we played them, I am very much looking forward to playing them again on Friday. Falling short one basket in the conference tournament my freshman year is something that is hard to forget. Every chance at revenge is very enjoyable, no matter when or to whom. That is also why we are excited to head to Des Moines in a few weekends to take down the Bulldogs. That loss at home to them in December was very tough and is one we would like to have back. Thanks to second chances, we get another opportunity to hand them a loss on their home court!
You can find
the Jays on FSN Friday night against UNI!
Also, we would love to see you all in Des Moines and St. Charles!
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. - Lamentations 3:22-23