Women's Basketball

 
2006-07 Marnie Dacko Season Blog




March 12

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

I just finished watching the Women's Selection Show and it dawned on me that I never wrote a final blog entry for the year. Let me start out by saying I never really thought people would read this. When Seth and those guys came to me with this idea to say I was a little reluctant is an understatement. Thanks to all you guys for making me feel cool! Hopefully, you were able to see into my world a little bit. I'm really fortunate to have good kids and to only have to worry about them try to do a chest bump with me!

It's been a week or so since we lost in the A10 tournament. I walked around for a few days almost in a fog. I really can't believe we lost and after explaining the game to people, I really really can't believe that we lost. If it means that we will come back next year better and more determined then I'll take it. We will actually take our first step towards next season tomorrow. We will begin our end of the year meetings where we talk with each player individually to discuss the season and strategize for the upcoming year.

I look forward to listening to the kids talk about their thoughts and aspirations. It's actually very enlightening. Well, March Madness is officially underway. I will be glued to the TV. First, I'm going to root for the men as they host Alabama. NCAA rules prohibit us from participating in office pools and other gambling type activities. So, I will just listen to the commentators and watch y'all go crazy over your brackets.

Thanks again for following us throughout the season. I know that I'm in trouble next year because Seth already has ideas about how to make the blog better. This really wasn't that bad. I may write periodically to let you know how the off season is going. Now that I think about it...there really is no off season for me. There is always work to be done. See you soon!

Thanks for your support!

February 26

 

 

Good Morning Women's Basketball Fans,

We concluded the regular season with a road win over Fordham. It wasn't pretty at all but I will take it. I was a little worried that the kids would look at Fordham's record and not take them seriously. I don't think that was the reason that we shot so poorly in the first half. It's funny how the emotion of the game can make you think that you are playing much worse or better than you actually are. I felt like we were shooting 10% percent in the first half. We missed a lot of bunnies.

We went to one of half court traps to change the flow of the game. It gave us more confidence and energy. We had several great defensive stances in the second half that helped us build a lead. There were a few moments when I thought we would open up the game. The Fordham guards must have heard my silent thoughts and used it as motivation to step up and hit some timely 3 point baskets. I will try not to have those thought again!

The ride home was fairly uneventful. Seth spent most of the trip trying to figure out who we will play in the first round of the A10 tournament. Having to think about all the tie breaker rules and scenarios gave me a headache. Boy am I glad that Seth enjoys these types of things.

I had to focus my attention on completing the All-Conference ballots. I don't really enjoy doing this. I think it's especially difficult to vote this year because of the conference game format. For example, we played every team in the A10 once except for Rhode Island. There are some players who put up good numbers overall but did not play particularly well against us. How do you rank this player with maybe a player who has solid numbers but played very well against us? Who is better? Then, factors such as team standings come into play.

My favorite debate is about good players on bad teams. Basketball is a team sport. It's difficult to win with one good player and a limited supporting cast. In this scenario, should the one good player receive a higher ranking than a good player with a better supporting cast? Just food for thought!

The girls will get to enjoy a day off tomorrow and then it's back to work. I hope the girls will look back on the regular season and feel a sense of accomplishment with the improvements the team has made. I know that we have not had a winning record in some time. This year we have accomplished that and have a chance to be considered for a post season tournament.

I will check back in before the A10 tournament.

February 24

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Well, I'm back at the airport. Wouldn't you know it...our first flight is delayed. We are coming off of a tough loss to Xavier. We had them on the ropes but we couldn't deliver the knockout punch. The Xavier game also concluded our home games for the season. We honored Tamara Tatham for senior day.

As I stood at center court listening to the announcer read off Tamara's list of accomplishments, I couldn't believe that four years have come and gone. I remember sitting with Tamara in my office and talking about the academic and athletic opportunities available at U Mass. Tamara didn't talk much during the conversation she just sat there and looked at me with those puppy dog eyes.

Tamara has really come out of her shell in 4 years. Here's my best Tamara story....It's the spring semester of Tamara's sophomore year. She was registering for a summer school course and I did not approve of her taking an online music course. Let me set the table so you understand...we had several kids take online courses and not do as well as I would like. The classes weren't terribly difficult...the kids had to manage the workload on their own. Most of the kids wanted to take online courses because they loved the idea of not going to class. They didn't realize that online courses are often more work...back to the story...so; I told Tamara that I didn't approve of the online course. She wasn't very happy about it. The next day she comes into my office wanting to talk. She's going on and on about this "not being fair." She wasn't like everyone else; she was going to do well, the online course worked better with her schedule. If you know Tamara, she is saying all this in her whiny voice. After our hour long conversation, I decided to let her take the course. Well, the first week into the course she comes in and says that she doesn't want to take anymore online courses. The music course was more challenging than she thought.

I'm just thinking to myself. That's what I was trying to tell you! You try to advise the kids on what you think is best but sometimes you must let them find out on their own. I'm very proud of the person and basketball player that Tamara has evolved into.

We have finally arrived in Dayton. It has been a very long day. All anyone is thinking about is eating and going to bed...

Its game day now and I haven't been able to sleep. I have read the entire USA today and watched CNN for several hours. Isn't it sad about the Anna Nicole Smith situation? Dayton has been on my mind all night. They are ahead of us in the standings and are coming off a win over St. Joe's. We will need to be ready from the tap. It's finally time for breakfast so I will write more in a few...

At breakfast, I learned that the new dating craze for young people is group dating. I keep forgetting that this generation of young people grew up with computers and other mediated forms of communication. One on one interpersonal communication is not something that they look forward to. A few kids said that they would text someone to see if they want to go out on a date. This is completely foreign to me. Boy am I losing touch!

Our Dayton game is now over. The Dayton game staff was really hospitable. I think the one lady that works the scorers table has been waiting to see us since two years ago. We had a little incident where she was going nuts because we didn't give her our starters for the second half. The official rule is that we must have our starters in by 10:00 before the game starts. It's not required that we report starters for the second half. It's a courtesy. Well, she set Kia off when she was putting our starters for the game.

After saying hello, she proceeded to tell Kia that she received an official interpretation from the officials and if we didn't report the starters for the second half then the five players that ended the first half must start. She must have been waiting two years to say that!

The game finally started and we were a little sluggish. We could not hold on to the ball. You would have thought someone placed oil on the ball whenever we had possession! We eventually settled down and go into halftime with a lead. We used one of our half court traps to really break the game open in the second half. I thought we played well defensively. The girls are starting to buy into finishing the season strong. We have a short turnaround for a final regular season game against Fordham.

February 17

Good Morning Women's Basketball Fans,

It's early in the morning on Saturday and I have just finished watching the Duquesne film for the third time. We started the game a little sluggish...actually very sluggish. We had to delay the game a few minutes because one of the officials was stuck in traffic. I just had a crazy thought! What if we made the official run a suicide for being late? That would have been funny! Ok, I'm focused now!

Anyways, back to the game. I think I tried every defense to slow Duquesne down in about a 5 minute span. Did you see the shots that #21 Carmen Bruce knocked down? She was sizzling in the first half. She was shooting over top of us like we weren't even there. Boy was I glad when the half time break arrived. I think we were down 14 points in the first half and then we made a comeback. We were fortunate to only be in the hole a few points at the half.

After our half time chat, the kids picked it up! A few minutes into the second half, I decided to use one of our press defenses just to see how Duquesne would respond. Well, we forced a few quick turnovers right away and scored in transition. We kept the pressure on and it seemed to really take the air out of Duquesne's team.

Well, I get to celebrate to win for about 1 more hour and then my attention must go to Xavier. Hang on for a second...potty break...too many frapps early in the morning! Xavier is currently in fourth place, I think. We will need to ready to play 40 minutes of basketball. Xavier is a team that likes to get out in transition. Last year Xavier jumped all over us because we weren't ready when the game started. I will need to reach down into my bag of tricks to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Sunday, will be senior night. We get to honor our lone senior Tamara Tatham. I will chat more about Tamara in my blog after the Xavier game. Tamara is a member of my first recruiting class at U Mass so I have four years worth of things to talk about. See you after the game...my dogs are looking at me with sad eyes because they know it's time for their walk!

February 14

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! Well, we officially have the first snow storm of 2007. Everyone was predicting a huge amount of snow. I heard we could see anywhere from 4 inches to 18 inches of snow. The last time I checked it was still sleeting. I cranked out the snow blower early to clear the drive way. I will need to go out a second time after practice.

While I was pushing the snow blower, my mind wandered back to my college days. Whenever it snowed my teammates and I would borrow food trays from the cafe and use them as sleds. It was a lot of fun...stupid, but fun! Oh, if any of my current players read this and get any ideas... I will get you tomorrow in practice! Remember, I know everything!

The girls are playing well right now. We had a good practice today. The guys are really helping us work on our defense. We had a very good second half versus Rhode Island on Sunday. Last week we had five days to prepare for Rhode Island. We decided to show the team about 10 minutes of film each day to help them see the opportunities we had and missed in our first game. Honestly, I think they were sick of hearing about Rhode Island.

We started the game with an 8 or 10 to nothing run. Our pattern versus Rhode Island is to start out fast and then let them back in the game. We followed that script in the first half on Sunday. It was nice to see the team play well. We are slowly returning to our early season form. I think the practice guys are our unsung heroes. The guys force us to play harder and exploit every weakness that we have. Tamara has been getting a good workout on defense.

She has been guarding Chris and he is a good player. I think he scored 8 straight points on her. She looked at me like "Marnie, what am I suppose to do?" I thought about it for a second and then told her to "figure it out!" I don't think that was the answer that she was looking for. As the scrimmage went on, she made the adjustments that she needed to make.

Next up for us are The Dukes of Duquesne. I hope that I won't need to use a lot of motivation tricks this game. Duquesne ended our season in the first round of the conference tournament last season. I think that we have played Duquesne is the first round of the last three conference tournaments. The officials blew a big call in last year's game. I think that was a close as I have ever come to completely losing it with an official!

Hopefully, our game on Friday will not come down to a call or a missed call by an official. The A-10 race is getting pretty tight. GW and Temple are undefeated in league play. I believe Charlotte and Xavier have the next two spots. Everyone else is in a dog fight. I was happy to no longer see "Massachusetts" at the bottom of the conference standings. We are moving up in the standings. Friday's game will be a big one.

It just dawned on me that I have been writing a lot. I guess cabin fever is beginning to set in. Don't worry because I went to the grocery store over the weekend and loaded up on Frappaccinos. I am ready to roll! Since school is closed today, I get to sit on the couch and watch a little HGTV.

Again, have a Happy Valentine's Day and I will check in after the Duquesne game.

February 4

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

A few people have been giving me a hard time for not updating my blog. I have been depressed! We have been playing poorly. After starting the season so strongly, we have fizzled in A-10 play. We aren't getting blown out in games but a play here or there is the difference in winning and losing. These are the most exciting games and yet so frustrating when you don't win. We beat St. Bonaventure today at St. Bonaventure for the first time in my tenure.

There is a story behind this. My first season here Jen Butler and Nekole Smith would talk about how they hated going to St. Bonaventure. They never played well and this was their attitude. This mindset has been passed down to each class. Every time we went to St. Bonaventure for the last several years someone would over sleep and arrive late to the bus. You know my rule about arriving late. The kids would complain about the food. There are not a lot of restaurants in Olean that can handle a party of 22 early in the morning. Anyways, I started a player, who later admitted to not having her contacts in, and she didn't make a bucket the whole game. You don't think that I needed to know that you couldn't see that well before the game started! So, needless to say we didn't win those games.

Today it was a whole different mindset. We had the captains' problem solve to come up with a plan for making sure everyone was up and on time. We started the day without a hitch. We had a lot of energy after a disappointing loss to St. Joes. We were not going to get out hustled. St. Bonaventure has more offensive rebounds on the season than their opponents. I knew that if we won the battle of the hustle points that we would have a chance to win the game.

Right now we are sitting in the Buffalo airport waiting for our flight which is much delayed. We drove through a snow storm that was a true white out. I don't know how the bus driver knew where the road was. Seth, Sports Information Director and loyal patriots fans, lost a bet to Stef that the Patriots would beat the Colts. Since Seth lost, he must walk around the airport in a Peyton Manning jersey. The kids are constantly taking pictures of him and making him cheer for the Colts. The worst part for him is we are flying to Boston so he has to walk around Logan Airport in the jersey. I think he looks good in it! Poor guy looks so uncomfortable and the girls are relentless.

Oh, before I forget. We went to the Rosanio's house when we were in Philly for dinner. They have the Wii video game. They let Mary play a few games and now she thinks she is ready to take on Tiger Woods in golf. I bet before the week is out she will go out and buy Wii for herself. Well, it's time to board the plane. We won't be able to catch the end of the Superbowl. Stef, will have to suffer until we land. I will get back on my schedule for updating the blog...I promise.

Thanks for being loyal fans!

Update: we got delayed for another three hours so Stef got to see the end of the game! They had the door open in the terminal and it was so cold that you could see your breath...inside! This is ridiculous! The lady on the PA just said we have to wait while they clear the snow drift away from the entrance to the plane. It is negative 15 degrees out and the wind chill is negative 30! To board the plane, we have to walk outside through the blowing snow. Well I am going to run and use the bathroom for the last time. They just said the one on the plane in broken.

January 23

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

It's early in the morning and I am returning from my daily walk. We had a nail-bitter yesterday vs. LaSalle. It seems like most of our games have been coming down to the wire lately. The coaches have been trying to get the kids to think about dominating our opponents. We have been playing fairly well since A10 play began. A few bounces here or there and we are sitting at the top of the A 10 standings.

We didn't exactly dominate LaSalle as I had hoped but we did come to life on the boards. We weren't shooting the ball particularly well from the perimeter so that meant we needed to get second chance points. It took us a while to get going but we picked it up. The team also did a very good defensive job on LaSalle's big two scorers. Crista Ricketts and Carlene Hightower are in the top 5 for scoring in the A10. I think they were averaging 18 and 19 points respectively. I know we held them below their averages...I tell the kids all the time that your defense will always give you a chance to win!

I think we finished the game shooting 30 percent. It must have been the TV lights that were giving us trouble. I thought we shot the ball very well against Temple...oh, the mysteries of basketball! We had over 3,000 fans at the La Salle game for Field Trip Day.

Boy, have times changed. I know that I never got out of school to go to a basketball game. I hope that the kids had fun at the game and enjoyed being on a college campus. Special shots out to the Softball team and Luke Bonner for taking time out to help us show the kids a good time. I appreciate your help!

A few people asked if Pam is alright. I couldn't tell that she had a concussion. She has remained as crazy as every. We held her out of the Temple game just as a precaution. She wanted to do a chest bump with me the other day so I knew she was fine!

The kids are still on winter break and I want them to begin school immediately! Personally, I like it when they are busy. Winter break gives them a lot of time to think and come up with crazy things to do. I'm trying to convince them to read a book or something. You know what kind of response that gets!

As you know the Colts beat the Patriots and Stef is in her glory. She even wore her Peyton Manning jersey to pre-game breakfast yesterday. She has been giving it right back to Seth, but he deserves it for the way he treated her during the week leading up to the game! He is going to have to wear Stef's Manning jersey on our trip back from Saint Joseph's and St. Bonaventure. We are even flying into Boston on Super Bowl Sunday so it will be even worse for him. I hope one of the girls brings their camera so they can take a picture of this!

Next up for the Minutewomen is Saint Louis. I'm going to pop in a tape to see what we will need to do to prepare for them. We have a day off today...or I should say the kids are off. I, on the other hand, have work to do. See you on Friday!

January 17

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, was right when she said, "there is no place like home." Boy, I am happy to be off the road. We concluded a six game road swing with a 13-point loss to GW. I thought our defense was solid. Offensively, we need to get back to being balanced with scoring coming from the inside and outside. This has really been our problem in our losses to Richmond and GW.

You can sense that the girls are a little shaken. This is the first time all season that we had a 4 game losing streak. Three things come to mind when I think about the games we lost: turnovers, rebounding, free throws and mental focus. I know that's four but the last one just popped into my head. It's amazing to me how long is takes to build a team's confidence and how quickly it leaves!

On Tuesday, we will focus on getting back to our groove that led us to a 10-5 non-conference record. One of the few bright spots from the trip came off the court. Our bus driver led us on the scenic route into DC. The number of kids that knew the names of the monuments and historical buildings surprised me. Most of the players talked about visiting DC with their grade schools. This was Stef's first time in DC. The girls always tease her about being from Ft. Wayne. She was like a kid in the candy store looking at the White House and the other historical buildings.

The ragging on Stef didn't stop there though! Her Colts made the AFC Championship game but she knew if the Patriots won on Sunday then it was going to be a miserable week for her. The Patriots played right after our game on Sunday. Our media relations director Seth Gerard and one of our radio guys Marc Bertrand are huge Patriots fans so they took a cab straight to the airport after our game so they wouldn't miss any of the Patriots game. The rest of us arrived in the third quarter and joined Marc and Seth at the restaurant where they were watching the game. By that time the Patriots were losing but Marc and Seth were very confident that the Patriots were going to win and started ragging on Stef and her Colts.

Kate, Pam and Kim are Eagles fans so they joined in with Stef in rooting against the Patriots even though the Eagles lost the night before. Our managers and other radio guy are Jets fans so they were rooting against the Patriots as well. I was just enjoying the scene and watching Seth and Marc. The way they were cheering every play, you would have thought they were at the game!

Well you know the result and as soon as the Patriots won, Seth started making fun of Stef! They even have a bet. If the Patriots win the game, then Stef has to wear Seth's Tom Brady jersey next week. And if the Colts win then Seth has to wear a Colts jersey. I am still trying to figure out how they get so into these football games but it was certainly entertaining to watch when we had several hours to kill in the airport and it certainly took my mind off the GW game!

Seth then made poor Stef come onto my coaches show Monday night. They started talking about the Patriots/Colts game and everybody in the restaurant started booing Stef when she said the Colts were going to win. Poor girl! She is going to be hearing it all week from the Patriots fans.

We have a few days to prepare for Temple. They are playing well right now. This is always a physical game. The last few times Temple played here the games went down to the wire. I'm anticipating that Thursday's game will be much of the same. Well, I must run. I am going to start working out a little to relieve a little stress!

January 10

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

You could hear a pin drop on the bus ride back from Rhode Island. We are very disappointed about losing in OT. To be honest, after listening to 3,000 kids screaming most of the game, the silence is welcomed. We had an up and down game. Periods of absolute brilliance and periods of what exactly is this!

I always have to give our kids credit because they play hard. In the last few games our perimeter shooting has been missing. We must find ways to put the ball in the basket. We will go back to getting in extra shooting. I believe this gave us confidence in the non-conference games.

One of the many things that I like about basketball is that you don't have much time to savor a win or dwell on a loss. We played a noon game on Tuesday and will fly to Richmond on Thursday...that's right no rest for the weary! We watched film on Wednesday to see what we did well and also areas for improvement. Tomorrow (Thursday) we will watch film on Richmond.

The kids were still a little down this morning so I told them to bottle their feelings up and put them on the shelf. We play Rhode Island again next month and they can open the bottle then. We had a spirited practice today. The girls didn't want to make me angry on my birthday. One of the kids asked me how old I am! This is grounds for a suicide...they hate to run! We always have cake on a coach's birthday.

Our trainer Lacy went out of the gym to light the candles on the cake. The kids were trying to stall to give her time to come back with the cake. I am yelling at them to go to lifting. Lacy walks into the Mullins Center using the secondary entrance. By this time, I was headed to the locker room. Lacy walks all the way around to catch me in the hallway by the locker room. Now, the candles have been lit for quite some time. When Lacy walks around the corner, I see this big ball of fire. I'm sure the every sprinkler in the Mullins Center is about to go off. I rush over the blow the candles out before Lacy gets burned.

The kids are laughing hysterically. I must admit it was actually quite funny. The kids weren't worried about Lacy; they wanted to make sure that the cake was still edible. You would think that they would let me have the last piece...but no. They promptly reminded me of how hungry they were because they worked so hard in practice.

Hopefully, we can get back on the winning path this weekend. We play Richmond on Friday and GW on Sunday. GW is ranked 12th in the country and we beat them last year. Check the website to follow the game or listen on the radio!

LET'S GO U MASS!

January 8

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

I needed a moment before I could write about the Yale game. We lost but we were so sluggish. When Tamara bounced off their post player and fell to the floor I knew we were in trouble! The referees were horrible and I'm being kind. I hope this isn't the NFL or NBA where they fine you for talking about the officials. They called a charge on Alisha and the poor girl was sandwiched in between two of their players. Actually, she was pushed from behind. The gym was so hot. I was sweating like I was going through warm-ups. After watching the film for the 4th time, it dawned on me that it was the first time that we didn't have a field goal from the perimeter. Ok, I need a frappuccino just thinking about it.

Now, I must practice what I preach and move on. Besides we have Rhode Island and they need our full attention. I was trying to explain to a few people that when you enter conference play anything can happen. You can throw all the records out of the window. You must come to play every game or it's a loss. Believe me, I know. The girls are excited about entering league play. I hope this excitement translates into wins. We must find our outside shooting!

Last year we finished 8-8 in league play. I'm hoping to build on the record this year. We finished the non-conference portion of our season with a 10-5 record. I'm greedy...I was hoping for 12-3. I felt like we let the Delaware, Boston College and Yale games get away for us. I will gladly trade in those 3 losses for 3 wins in the conference.

So, we are back on the bus heading to Rhode Island. A few of the kids were bored....actually Pam and Kim...and they wanted to give me a Philly girl ponytail. I always joke with them that you can always tell a Philly girl when you walk into the gym because they wear their ponytails on the top of their heads. I look like a cabbage patch kid with a ponytail on the top of my head. The kids were threatening to post to the website. I told them that I would kill them if they did.

Well, we have arrived to Kingston for practice. Oops, guess I better write the practice plan! We have little kids day tomorrow at the Rhode Island game. There will be several thousand little kids screaming at that high pitch squeal. I don't know how daycare providers do it!

January 4

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

I don't know what to expect for last night's game vs. Holy Cross. If shoot around is any indication, then we will play well. We were going through our normal shoot around routine and putting a few finishing touches on our game plan. The kids like to do this shooting drill we call 50.

The team is divided into two groups of six. Each group will start with 3 shooters and 3 rebounders. The shooters and rebounders change position when their group reaches 25. The first team to 50 wins. Well, we only have 11 players so Jodi or Kia will shoot with one team. I made the mistake of putting Kia with Kim's group. You have to understand that Kia and Kim are always busting on each other...just for fun! Kim's group won the first round easily. The second round chaos broke loose.

One of the keys to this game is having good rebounders and passes to the shooters. Whitney is good at getting the ball out the net quickly. Kia, on the other hand, had a little trouble tracking down a few balls. Kim starts yelling at Kia to hurry up. The next thing I know Pam, Tiema, Kim and Whitney are all laughing at Kia trying to get these rebounds. Needless to say, this group didn't win round 2.

I decide to have a tiebreaker of 3 pointers. The first group to 30 wins. Well Kim's group started out well then they faded. Actually, Kia got tired. I looked over one time and she was bent over in the hands on your knees in the gasping for air position. She's yelling at Kim to rebound and Whitney and Tiema to make shots. One rebound goes to the opposite end...Kia chases after it...mind you, Kia is supposed to be shooting...Kim and Pam are laughing because the other team has won and her team never rotated the shooters and rebounders. Actually, the group blamed losing on Kia for taking to long to get the rebound. Kim had the line of the day... "Kia, you had enough time to sit down, get a manicure and drink a cup of water down there." We laughed for a good five minutes after that.

The bus ride was relatively uneventful. Tricia Turley, Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, came with us. I asked the girls to be nice because we had a visitor. Tricia had no idea what she could be in for. The girls didn't sing this time...so that was nice!

On to the game...we started the game on the attack. Holy Cross had trouble with our press. The girls really moved the ball and shot well. I thought we had good contributions from the bench. We headed into half time with a 13-point lead. During half time, I reminded the kids about letting up on a team. I want them to stay in the aggressive mindset and not relax. Holy Cross is one of those teams that can shoot themselves back into a game. We came out in the second half and really picked things up. We went on a big run to blow the game open.

Whitney had a career night with 14 points and 6 rebounds. I'm constantly reminding the team that we are a much better team when everyone contributes. I don't want to rely on one or two people all the time. Everyone bought in to the message. Tiema and Kera did well defensively. Alisha had a few nice plays. Kim popped in a few deadly 3's. Team basketball...that's what I want!

After the game, the staff was waiting for Whitney to finish her interview on the radio before we addressed the team. As soon as Whitney walked in the locker room, the kids started yelling and giving her high fives for how well she played. We have been waiting for this Whitney to arrive. I hope that she will stay with us the rest of the season!

I'm finishing up my post-game chat and I bring the team in for a huddle. Well, Pam decides that she wants to do a chest bump with me without telling me first. Talk about being caught off guard! I'm still feeling a little pain right now. Isn't there chest bumping etiquette or something? Don't you have to make eye contact or say that is what you are going to do before you do it! The kids got a big kick out of this...I, on the other hand, have a bruise.

Next up Yale on Saturday!

January 3

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Happy New Year!

I have been taking a little bit of heat for not making a blog entry in a few weeks. I'm sorry about that. Christmas shopping, Holiday parties and trying to get a win have kept me pretty busy. I'm back and focused now.

The players returned to campus on the 26th of December after a week long break. Everyone appears to be refreshed and ready to tackle to second half of our season. We ended 2006 with a tough road loss to Boston College. It was a good game. Both teams battled back and forth. The game was tied with a little over one minute left and we didn't get a key bucket. That forced us to foul and Sarah Marshall wouldn't help us out by missing her free throws! The kids played hard...we will need to build on this experience to carry us into today's game vs. Holy Cross.

Since Cathy (the BC coach) and I go way back, I tried to hang around for her shoot around. I talked to her assistants and a few of the players that we recruited. Cathy is all business. So after a few pleasantries, she kicked me out the gym. Is this how you treat your friends? On the way out, I told her that this is why I didn't pass her the ball in college!

I'm looking at our schedule for the next few games and I'm wondering..."what was I thinking?" We have Holy Cross and Yale on the road to finish out the non-conference schedule. The A-10 officials have us on the road the first three games of the conference schedule. What's the saying...if it doesn't kill you, then it will only make you stronger! Who came up with that anyway?

I just received a text from one of our recruits. It's funny because I am familiar with English...this language- I'm not sure what it is? The message says: "a coach, wassup...c yall are ballin. Happy nu year. Go get Holy Cross. C u nex week." The kids tell me they text like this because it's faster than typing everything out. I might try this for my next blog entry. It may take me longer to figure out how to spell out what I'm trying to say.

Things are relatively quiet around campus right now. I'm loving it because I can go anywhere around town and get a good parking spot. I will write again after the Holy Cross game. Now, it's time to take down the Christmas tree.

C U latrr!

December 13

Good Evening Women's Basketball Fans,

Wooooooo! I just let out a big sigh of relief. I already have problems with my back. My nervous system is next. We just finished a tough game against Eastern Michigan. We got out to a dominant performance in the first half. I believe we shot something like 67%. Then we went into halftime and cooled down a bit. I was secretly hoping they would let us skip halftime and keep playing. The refs didn't go for that idea!

Anyway, Eastern Michigan came out fuming. They scored 5 points before I finished my cup of water. We were in a dogfight from there. They were burying 3 pointers left and right. One of their players attempted 18 by herself. I tried everything short of putting two more players on the floor to slow them down. They are the best shooting team we have faced. The post players were even stepping out to knock down 3's.

We hung in the game and came out with a 3-point win. It could have been more if we made some layups and free throws. I had Kia praying on the bench! You guys have no idea what goes on during games. To give you an idea. I almost didn't make it to the game.

I gave the pre-game talk and everyone left the locker room. I'm generally in there by myself for 10-15 minutes before I come to the bench. So, I decided to go to the coach's locker room to get some lotion and go to the john. I have really dry skin. The coach's locker room is next to the hockey practice rink. I walk down the hallway and into the locker room. On my return I noticed someone closed the double doors that connect the hockey practice rink to the Mullins Center. Now I'm locked out. This poor lady was ice-skating and I was ruining her routine because I'm yelling and banging on the door trying to get someone's attention. So after a few minutes...I try exiting the ice rink...they are doing construction...I couldn't think of climbing the fence. I find this stairwell that leads to the entry level of the ice rink. I walk across to the Mullins Center. The people taking tickets where looking at me like..."what are you doing?" I'm all disheveled and I'm thinking that I missed the game.

I take the elevator down to the concourse level and enter the area. My assistants are sitting on the bench chatting like nothing is wrong. I come in and asked them "where you guys worried about me?" They all thought I was still in the john. I tell them the story and they laugh at me...there is 2 minutes on the clock before the game starts...all is well.

I know you guys are thinking is this for real but this stuff happens. I am going to request to have a security escort everywhere I go on game day so that this doesn't happen again.

This happens onto of the game...my nerves just can't take it. I told the team that I need them to take it a little easy on me. I am getting older and all this excitement is a bit too much.

I NEED A FRAPPACCINO! See you in a few days. Delaware is our last game before Christmas break. Go U Mass Football!

December 10

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Saturday was a very long day for us. We practiced in Amherst at 8:00 in the morning and then left for the airport. Our first flight took us through Baltimore and there we had a two and a half hour lay-over. You know what that means! That's right...a lot of time for our kids to goof around in the airport. Going through the security lines was relatively uneventful! I knew this wouldn't last. As we were lining up to board the flight Pam asked the gate agent if she could talk on the loud speaker. Of course he said yes so Pam started cracking some jokes. There are a million career fields that Pam can choose...stand up comedy isn't one of them!! After she finished her routine, the agent let her call the boarding groups.

Once on the plane the fun continued. If there is one thing I learned from this trip it is that Pam and Kim can never sit together. The two of them were right in front of me on the plane. I thought once we took off they would settle down and maybe catch a quick nap but boy was I wrong. First, they asked the flight attendant if they could demonstrate the safety features of the plane. He said they couldn't, but let them play with the stuff. So while we were sitting on the tarmac. Pam and Kim were trying on the life vests and oxygen masks. They even tried to inflate the vests! I couldn't believe that Pam would put her mouth on that...wait yes I can! Once we took off, they never stopped talking!

We finally arrived in Buffalo and went right to our hotel where we had dinner. I decided that we would watch film in the morning because the kids were very tired and everyone wanted to get a good nights rest.

Our pre-game routine is to eat four hours before the game. We ate breakfast, watched film and gathered our belongings to head to the game. The girls started to perk up after we were on the bus...the food must have kicked in.

Truth is, I was very nervous about the Buffalo game. They are from the Mid-American Conference. I have always thought that the MAC has a lot of those scrappy, real physical teams and we found that out the hard way! I am very happy that we were able to come out with a win and I am very proud of the kids. We lost a double-digit lead in the second half and actually were losing with less than a minute left. They showed a lot of resiliency and bounced back and we were able to escape with a win in overtime. Everyone was getting into the game...even assistant coach Jodi who was warned by the officials at one point. I won't tell you what she said though!

We had a large fan following at the game. The Tatham family brought a bus load of family and friends to the game. Buffalo is as close as we can get to Canada and have the game count on our schedule. I like to have the kids play in front of their hometown family at least once in their four years. Their energy helped us make it through the seven minute scoring drought. Alisha's play was clutch to start the overtime period and T had a double-double. The fans got their money's worth!

The flight home was quiet. The kids were tired and had plenty of work to do in preparation for finals. We have two games before we break for Christmas. Eastern Michigan and Delaware come to the Mullins Center. Both teams beat us pretty good last year so we will need to be ready.

Catch you at the game!

December 8

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

I have been drinking a lot of frappuccino's lately! Everyone has their comfort foods... right! I never thought one of the highlights from the Hartford game would be Jodi and Seth's pursuit of a cup of coffee. We arrived to town a little early so Jodi and Seth spotted a Dunkin Donuts. They really wanted Starbucks coffee but weren't too sure if a Starbucks was in the area.

So they begged me to stop at Dunkin Donuts. We do...and less than I mile up the road...you guessed it Starbucks! The game on the other hand was not this exciting. We really struggled scoring. We had the shots that we wanted but we just couldn't get them to fall. Hartford on the other hand had no problems putting the ball in the basket. We tried everything and nothing seemed to slow them down for more than 3 to 4 possessions.

They are a good team...I envisioned a more competitive performance by the girls. I haven't been thrilled with the way we have been playing as of late. We have been winning but not winning well if this makes any sense. We need to get back to being sharp.

We have the next three days to prepare for Buffalo and to work on being sharp again. Another trip through security screening at the airport...this should be interesting! I will let you know how it goes in the next blog.

Happy Holidays! Don't forget to follow us on the web or listen to the game at WMUA 91.1 FM on Sunday at 1 pm.

December 5

Good Morning Women's Basketball Fans,

I woke up this morning to snow flurries. It was just 65 degrees on Friday! This is unpredictable weather at its best! It's getting harder to get out of the bed to go on my walks in the morning. I'll have a frappuccino for a little pick me up!

I have been hesitant to write in the blog after Saturday's game vs. Northeastern. On one hand I am happy to get a win. On the other hand, I am not happy with how the team is performing right now. I expect the team to play consistently well for 40 minutes. I imagine the fans want to see the same thing. I have to go to my "aggressive tone" a little too much for my liking. The trick is to figure out how to get the team firing on all pistons. We are 8 games into a 29 game season so I know it will be work in progress.

The football team had a big win over UNH to advance to the Final Four in football. Do they call it the final four in football? Anyway, there were 17,000 plus fans at the game. I am really excited for Coach Brown and the players.

Tomorrow we play at the University of Hartford. The hawks are coming off of a big win versus #22 ranked Bringham Young University and St. John's. We will need to be on our A game. Jen has done a great job building the program at Hartford. I overheard the girls talking about getting revenge for how poorly we played versus Hartford last year. I wasn't eavesdropping...seriously!

So far this week has been rather low key. The team and I had a much needed day off on Sunday. Their job was to rest and get caught up with school work. I went Christmas tree shopping. If you are not in the Christmas spirit, then go Christmas tree shopping for a pick me up. I'm like a kid in the candy store. Now comes decorating. Do you put the lights on first or the ornaments? I can never remember.

Well, I must run...they expect me to work today.

December 2

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

It feels like a fall instead of winter. I'm not complaining at all. The warm weather is throwing off my senses. I am trying to get into the holiday spirit but I have on shorts and a t-shirt. Anyway, I think it's time to break out the Christmas decorations since it's officially December.

Our game against Wagner was okay. The first half was a little slow. Actually, our defense wasn't as strong as I would have liked. During half time, I had to reach down into my bag of tricks. I used an "aggressive tone" to convey my point to the girls. Somehow I think they understood that a little better than my pre-game chat.

The second half was much better. We came out and set the tone from the first possession. Four players finished in double figures. T was pretty close to a triple-double. I don't think I've ever had a player with a triple double. I'm noticing that the girls are looking a little sluggish. This time in the semester is always tough on them. T looked like she was going to fall asleep during the post game interview.

Well, we will have a light practice on Friday and finish up with Yoga. Maybe Eric can help us focus a little better in the first half of Saturday's game vs. Northeastern. The men play Boston College on Saturday as well. The game is a fundraiser for the Jack Leaman Fund. Jack was a special guy around U Mass. His contributions to building U Mass Athletics are well publicized and documented.

Jack was really good to me when I took the job here at U Mass. He had a great sense of humor. He gave the players nicknames. One player he called Sara Lee because she had so many turnovers. Jack would come into the office from time to time to shoot the breeze. He would take a little cat-nap during the middle of our talk and then finish up exactly where he left off.

Moments like these help you to really keep things in perspective. Cherish your time with your family and friends. Come on out tonight to support the Jack Leaman Fund and to show your support for the Men's team as they take on BC. Oh yeah, we have a game as well. It's at noon on Saturday. See you after the game.

November 30

Good Morning Women's Basketball Fans,

It's game day and I'm ready to go... in my mind anyway. My body is still asleep. I'm going to take the dogs for a walk in a little bit. Lots of things are on the agenda today. I have to do a few interviews, call a few high school coaches, write my notes to recruits, walk the dogs and two meetings all before shoot around at 2 pm.

Now I'm starting to realize why I'm so sluggish...cereal is not the dinner choice of champions! I didn't do any grocery shopping because we were going to be on the road and the lines were too long. I will pick up a few things today because I can't wake up like this again.

Wagner is coming to town. Gela and I played college ball around the same time so I have known her for a while. Wagner is currently 1-3 on the season. They have a variety of defensive schemes to throw at you. This type of team is tough to play in a short week because you have to prepare the kids for all their defenses. You can't spend too much time on their defenses because we have some kinks to iron out with our stuff.

We watched a little film from the South Florida game on Tuesday. It was good for the girls to watch themselves a day or two removed from the game. We have become sloppy about boxing out and that hurt us in the second half. Hopefully, you will see renewed focus and determination in the girls when it comes to boxing out. I know you are thinking did we spend any time on free throws. Yes, we did and we will continue to work on them. Let's see how the girls bounce back tonight.

One of our fans asked me the other day if I anticipated starting the season this well. I think he was looking for a profound answer. The truthful answer is that I never pencil in wins. Experience has taught me not to do that. The last time I penciled in wins my team had a disastrous season. I wanted to fix a few things: (1) have the team approach each game with more focus and confidence, (2) have the leaders step up, and (3) become mentally stronger as a unit. If we can consistently do these things throughout the season, then the wins will follow.

I didn't realize that many people pay attention to the blog. I got a call from my friend Dave the other day. He didn't ask me how I was doing or anything he just said "Marnie you have a blog?" As if I'm not hip! I read People Magazine...The pressure is on for me to keep you guys entertained. The kids think I should do a myspace page. I'm not ready for all this technology! See you at the game!

November 26

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

I had a little time to kill in the Tampa airport so I thought I would chat with you a bit. We lost our first game of the season today vs. South Florida. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the kids since we spent so much energy in the Stephen F Austin game. We did not play as well as I had hoped for overall.

Jessica Dickson is as good as advertised. We had problems containing Shantia Grace as well. South Florida is one of those teams that put a lot of pressure on you to keep up with their scoring pace. The bulls exposed a few of our weaknesses. We will have Monday off and get after it again on Tuesday.

I liked the fact that we attempted 35 free throws. One of our team goals is to make more free throws then our opponent's attempt. Unfortunately, the making part gave us some trouble. I was really shocked by the number of free throws that we missed. We have been shooting free throws very well in practice. Hopefully, we will get back on track by Thursday.

We have two games coming up this week...Wagner on Thursday and Northeastern on Saturday. There is no rest for the weary! Tomorrow will be filled with a lot of film breakdown by the coaches and preparation for the week. I will check in again before Thursday's game.

Oh, I just spotted a Starbucks...I need a Frappuccino to make me feel better!

November 26

Good Morning Women's Basketball Fans,

We are on our way to shoot around for the championship game today versus South Florida. I was on the bus early and I realized that I left the lap top in my room. I am becoming very committed to blogging. So, I ran back to my room to get the lap top. I couldn't be late to the bus...I would have to enforce a team rule on myself...glad I made it back in time.

We overcame a sluggish first half to get to get our fifth win of the season. The girls really paid attention to the adjustments that we wanted to make in the second half. I went with a 4-guard lineup to give us a little boost. Once the players on the floor raised the level of intensity, the whole team followed. Tamara had her best statistical game of the season. Pam and Kate were solid as they were the focal points of Stephen F. Austin's defensive efforts. Sakera and Kim did a very good job handling the pressure as Stephen F. Austin was pressing us the whole game and really pressuring the ball handlers. Whitney just twisted her ankle getting off the bus...see what we deal with?

Last night, we went to a restaurant called Lee Roy Selmon's. Lee Roy used to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had a lot of his "mama's" recipes on the menu. It was some good southern cooking. Some of the girls said that they were going to need a wheel barrel to get back to the hotel after eating so much.

The girls were really tired so we just went back to the hotel, watched a little film and went to bed early. Root us on today as we go for 6-0. You can listen to the game on our web site or check back after the game for a full report. I'll check back with you from the airport tonight.

November 25

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone is enjoying their time with friends and family. As I sit on the plane heading down to Tampa my stomach is growling as I think of what you guys are eating right now. The peanuts that the airlines give you are doing nothing for me right now.

We are planning on having a nice Thanksgiving dinner on a boat. Jodi found this place on the internet. Looks almost like a cruise line type boat. The girls are excited. A couple of players came dressed for 90 degree weather. It's funny...they hear Florida and the flip flops come out. We had a little excitement at the airport.

We were going through security and two players had every toiletry item that you can think of with them. The security screener of course pulled the bag and gave the players the option of leaving the toiletries behind or checking them. After much discussion and debate, the players decided to check the items. I know you are thinking this is not a big deal. Well, to 18-22 year olds this is huge! First the players wanted to know why no one told them the new security procedure. Jodi told everyone not to bring any liquids past security. You will love this response....one of the players said " I didn't think they were serious". You guys see what I have to deal with!

The guy next to me is snoring and I have to go potty. What should I do? What would you do? Hold it or wake him up? I'm going to try holding it first, then I'll wake him up if I have to go real bad.

This week has been funny. The kids were talking about how the students and staff on campus have been wishing them well and talking about how well the team is doing and to keep it up. I know they really like and appreciate the support. They all talk about how cool it is. Actually it's a cool time for U Mass Athletics as a whole. Football, Men's Basketball and Hockey are all doing well. Go UMass Athletics!

It's time to turn off all electronics so I will continue blogging from the hotel.

It's Saturday morning. I apologize for not finishing the blog sooner but there has been a lot of interesting things happening on this trip. First we get to the tournament hotel and all of our rooms had this strange smell. The manager gives us new rooms. We later learn that the hotel did some repair work to the bathrooms and that was the cause for the smell. I make it to my second room only to smell smoke. I have a very sensitive nose so I notice most unusual smells. Micheal, the guy at the front desk, and I have become good friends in a short amount of time. I am currently staying in my fourth room! The kids are laughing at me.

Thanksgiving on the boat was fun. I was surprised by the number of people. We arrived a little early so to pass time we tried to figure out the 5 oceans. The atlantic, pacific, Indian, arctic and ...? The discussion was whether the Gulf of Mexico is an ocean or not. After doing a google search, we learned the southern ocean is the fifth ocean...Folks, this is learning at its best! Ok back to the cruise...We sailed around Tampa Bay for about 2 ½ hours. The team looked very nice dressed up. We ate a lot of food. The third deck had a live band so the girls went dancing.

The hotel has a ping pong and pool table and no one is happier than Mary. The coaches are like little kids when it comes to games that we can still play. I went to make a phone call and Mary is schooling a few kids that were around the table. She's talking trash while keeping score. You guys may not know this but Mary is very competitive. She had a little mercy with the kids. So, she is getting ready for the ping pong championship!

We were waiting on the bus to go to practice and we noticed that Mary wasn't there. Kia jokingly says that she is icing her elbow from the ping pong games. I have a rule about being late. THE BUS WILL LEAVE YOU! We tell Carlton, the bus driver, to act like he's pulling off. Mary breaks into a mini sprint across the parking lot. The kids are looking on and laughing. When Mary gets on the bus they were cheering and clapping for her. It was quite funny.

We had a good practice yesterday to prepare for Stephen F. Austin. We will find out in 3 hours how prepared we really are. We were going over our game plan for handling there pressure. I am going to try to explain this. Pam passed the ball to Kera to inbound the ball. Kera is under some pressure and she goes to pass the ball back to Pam. Pam is laying on the floor and everyone is laughing hysterically. Pam managed to trip over the line and completely wiped out. She isn't hurt or anything....but it was really funny.

November 18

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

We are on the bus heading back to Amherst. We had a tough battle with Seton Hall. I am very proud of the team. We were able to control the tempo the entire game. Seton Hall made a few runs but we were able to counter with a few spurts of our own. Kate Mills received the tournament MVP award so this is her new nickname for the next few days.

I just got hit in the head with toilet paper from the overhead bin. I'm thinking this is not a good seat! Mary was the culprit this time.

Today's win was a total team win. Everyone stuck to the game plan. Alisha hit a big 3 late in the game. Kia was yelling at her to reverse the ball and she calmly hit a big 3. Kia and I looked at each other and said "good shot". Seth just told me that the last time the women's team was 4-0 was like 18 years ago.

We just finished eating our post game dinner. Pam always wants to have dessert before we order our food. We made a deal with the team to eat their appetizers and main course and then if they had room we would let them have dessert. One of my pet peeves is when the kids waste food. I want them to eat as much as they need to nourish themselves. Sometimes the kids order food just to order it. I don't like that. Needless to say, we didn't have dessert because they were full.

My second pet peeve is using your cell phone while the team is out in public. The kids will send text messages while we are at the dinner table. I was sharing this with the staff so Kia decided to collect their cell phones until we were through with dinner. She collected their cell phones in the bread basket from our table. It was hilarious! I hope we made our point.

We had a nice following of fans at the games this weekend. The loudest fans at the game were Tiema's family. They had cheers and everything. They kept yelling out BALLIN' every time we scored. I wasn't really too sure what this really meant so the kids told me it's a song that everyone listens to and it's a good thing to be BALLIN'. As you can see, I'm not really up with the latest lingo. Don't laugh...I know there are other people who will read this and not have a clue as well.

I try to be open minded coach. Jodi will pick out a few movies for the bus ride. The kids brought the 40 year old Virgin. I have never seen this movie before and I am very close to ending it 10 minutes into the movie. The language is awful! This open minded thing is over rated!

You may not know this but our managers have lively personalities. They were having an in depth conversation about ketchup. Seth Hamner hates ketchup. The debate was should you or should you not use ketchup on meatloaf, eggs, steak or any other food. I was beginning to think that I was going to need my whistle to referee. Well, I'm going to run...a nap is calling my name. I will blog from sunny Tampa, FL.

November 17

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

My apologies for not blogging before our game tonight. In all honesty, I was really concerned about our game vs. Navy. I felt and still feel that Navy is a good team on the verge of a breakout. I just didn't want that breakout game to come tonight. Little did I know that the girls were going to come out clicking on all cylinders.

We played very well in the first half. We were able to score from the inside and outside. Our fastbreak provided us a few easy buckets. We scored 44 points in the first half! For the last four years we have averaged around 60 points. So to score 44 points in one half is a major accomplishment!

In my previous blog, I talked about how long game days are on the road. Today was even longer because we played an hour later. We didn't have a lot of free time today because we had to allot enough time to travel back and forth to the gym. I forgot what real traffic is like. It took us 45 minutes to go 15 miles. This is one of the reasons why I love the peace and quiet of Amherst. No real traffic problems!

We have a quick turnaround tonight to prepare for Seton Hall. We had two days to prepare for Navy and exactly 12 hours to prepare for Seton Hall. Actually, we do a little advance scouting in tournaments so we have a basic feel for the team before the tournaments begin. Tournaments also enable us to do a live scout on our potential opponents. I like being able to judge size and speed in person. Films can sometimes be deceptive.

It's extremely late and I need to wind down. The managers bought pizza to my room. I'm trying to resist the tempting smell of warm pizza. I try not to eat when it's late. I don't know if I have the will power tonight...I'll just have a little bite!

Seton Hall will be a good test for us. I have known Phyllis Mangina for a very long time. I was joking with her in the hallway that all their players are long and lean. She says that she feeds them...anyway. I anticipate an intense battle. They have quick guards who can apply a lot of ball pressure and a few post players that are all over the glass. Boxing out will be a key for us.

We were outrebounded tonight vs. Navy. This can't happen versus Seton Hall or the outcome will be different. Seton Hall will try to set a quick pace to the game. We want to be smart about when to run and when to get into our secondary break. That's all I have right now. I will watch film tonight and tomorrow morning. Catch you after the game. You can follow us on the radio or on our website. Championship game is at 3 pm. Wish us well!

November 16

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Believe it or not...we are on the bus again! I know the season is just getting started but it seems like we are several weeks into the season. We are watching Akeelah and the Bee on the way to South Orange, New Jersey. I am going to petition the bus company to give more room between each seat. My knees are killing me!

We had a good win on Tuesday night versus New Hampshire. Both teams were a little slow getting out of the gates. We picked it up towards the end of the first half. Kim was able to get the roll started by knocking down 2 big 3's. Then Stef joined the party. A little sidebar about Kim...she completely fooled me during the recruiting process. I would call Kim on the phone and she would barely talk. Mostly answering in one word answers. I think our longest conversation was about 10 minutes and I was working very hard to keep it going! Fast forward one year. Kim is such a character. The kids tell me stories about her dancing and that she is like the life of the team. Talk about split personalities! I think she will be a crowd favorite over the next four seasons.

I have been trying to stay focused blogging but the windshield wipers are driving me crazy! These are the noisiest windshield wipers ever and they are not even clearing the windshield. Ok back to the blog.

The team played well. We are doing a good job on the boards and everyone is getting involved. I would like to see less unforced turnovers (offensive fouls, travels, 3 secs. Etc). I think we have periods of really good ball movement. We have been doing a great job defensively. Anytime you can hold teams to around 43 points you have a chance of winning. I hope that we can continue playing strong defense throughout the season.

Our first opponent in the Seton Hall tournament is Navy. This team worries me. They are a very disciplined team that does not make a lot of mistakes. Some people will look at their record and question that statement but they are good. Statistically, they have not been shooting very well. I hope this trend continues at least until after our game!

OK, THE WINDSHIELD WIPERS ARE REALLY GETTING ON MY NERVES!!!!

The early signing period officially ended yesterday and we added four talented people and players to the team. I am really looking forward to working with Stephanie, Valerie, Cerie and Teya. They will be the future of UMASS basketball. We only lose one senior this year so we should be very deep next season. This group will keep our fans entertained both literally and figuratively.

"EFFLEURAG" is the word Akeelah just spelled...this looks like a typo to me yet alone a word and next she spelled "PULCHRIPUDE". Wow, out of my league. I just got hit in head with the DVD cover. Kia was turning off the movie and the DVD cover came flying out the overhead compartment. I am having a rough trip so far. Hopefully, this is as bad as this weekend gets. I must get up to stretch my knees. I will blog tomorrow evening. Listen to game on the radio or catch us on the web.

November 14

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

I woke up this morning with a sense of excitement. Its game day and our home opener for the season. New Hampshire comes to the Mullins Center. I have been watching film on their team for the last two days. I had to painfully sit through our game vs. New Hampshire last season! We didn't play very well. I remember being on a ten minute scoring drought to start the second half...very painful to watch!

As I watched the film, my mind quickly distinguished the difference between the feel of this year's team and the team from last season. Last season we were constantly trying to figure out who was the leader on the floor. The person or persons the team could look to for confidence and consistency on the floor. This season is young but I sense there are a few people who are willing to step into those shoes. Leadership is one of those very elusive things. You are happy when you have it and unhappy when you don't!

This will be the first game of the season for New Hampshire. I am expecting UNH to be a scrappy team and to play very hard. Their players move very well without the ball and are good perimeter shooters. Our defense will need to be tough for 40 minutes! I am hoping to create an atmosphere to maximize the benefits of playing at home. Come on out to the game tonight. We want to have as many U Mass basketball fans at the game as possible. It's always fun to have a lot of people cheering for your team and rooting against the opposing team. The game starts at 7pm sharp!

Well, I must run...my dogs are barking! It's early in the morning and time for their walk. I forgot to mention in Friday's night blog that Stefanie Gerardot won the Minutewoman of the Week Award. The award will be hers until this Friday and then a new winner will be selected.

Take care and I hope to see you tonight! Until next time...THINK UMASS!

November 10

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

We are riding on the bus headed back to Amherst. We had our first game tonight versus Vermont and have our first win of the season. I must admit, I was a little nervous because this is the first year that the NCAA has allowed schools to play games this early. In years past, our first game would have been played the Friday before Thanksgiving. That's two full weeks of practice that we no longer have. The players like this rule...I on the other hand do not!

Game day started out with breakfast at a quaint little restaurant in Burlington, VT. We had a little down time before we headed to our shoot-around at noon. Shoot-around gives us an opportunity to get acquainted with the opponents' gym and to go over our game plan. The kids were pretty upbeat...they get pretty wound up after you feed them! From shoot around we returned to the hotel and had a team meeting to come up with team goals for the non-conference season.

The players had some time to do some school work before we went to pre-game. We try to eat 4 hours before the game. When we are on the road I feel like all we do is eat! After pre-game, we had about 2 hours to relax. I try to do things to take my mind off the game. Today, I watched Oprah and read the paper.

My nervousness began to subside when we arrived at the gym. It's something about being on the court that gives me a sense of peace. I like to watch the team go through warm ups before we come together to go over the game plan in the locker room.

The game started out at a very quick pace. Vermont jumped out to a very quick 5 point lead. I think we were a little nervous...hence the turnovers! We finally started to settle down and got into a flow. Vermont is an up tempo team that likes to score in transition. I thought we did a good job getting back to set up our defenses. Sakera did a good job running the offenses and handling the pressure that the Vermont guards were applying. She only had 1 turnover in the first half. Kate, Pam and Tamara did a good job on the boards. Vermont was in foul trouble early. We attempted 33 free throws! The team did a good job of being composed throughout the game. Steph, Kim, Whitney and Tiema were able to get some game legs early in the season. All in all, I am very pleased with the teams performance. We still have a few kinks to work out...a coach is never completely satisfied !

We will have a day off tomorrow and start preparing for New Hampshire on Sunday. Come out to the game on Tuesday @ 7pm for our home opener!

November 9, 2006

Well here we are. I can't believe that the season is here already. Right now, we are on the bus heading up to Vermont for tomorrow night's season opener against the University of Vermont. We have had several good practices since last weekend's exhibition game against Bishop's University. Although we lost the game, I think we did a lot of good things. More importantly, the game showed us things that needed our immediate attention and the last couple days have given us time to address those weaknesses.

If you noticed, I have a boot on my leg. I got in the way in practice and got run over. I am definitely not as agile as I used to be! Several players thought this was funny and could not stop laughing at me!

We named our captains this week. The team voted Alisha Tatham and Kate Mills captains. I think that they will make excellent leaders both on and off the floor. We also have a weekly award that we call the Minutewoman of the Week. This recognizes the individual who works hard, is coachable, consistent and has a good attitude. Last week's winner talks with the coaching staff to come up with this week's winner. Last week's winner was Whitney McDonald and you'll have to stay tuned to see who wins the award tomorrow!

We will get to Vermont around 10:00 tonight and get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow morning we will go to the gym to have a light workout and familiarize ourselves with the surroundings. We will also walk through some of our new plays on offense and defense. Night games on the road means a lot of down time in the hotel. This is good for the kids to work on their studies but I hate it. I would rather play the game early!

Well that's about it from here. I hope everyone listens to the game Friday night at 7:00. You can listen for free at www.umassathletics.com. I will check in after the game when we are driving back to campus.

Marnie

Nov. 3, 2006

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

This year we will feature an online blog to give you an inside look at this year's team. I recently learned what a blog is....and now I am attempting to participate in the blog world! Please bear with me :-)

We have been practicing for 18 days. The girls have been working hard every day and I am excited to see the team's progression. We have an exhibition game tomorrow vs. Bishop's University, a Canadian team, at 5pm. Our transition defense will get an early test as Bishop's loves to run and shoot the 3. They are guard-laden team so we want to take advantage of our inside attack. Please come out to catch us in action.

I will return next week for a recap on the exhibition game and a preview of the season opener vs. Vermont. I think this will give you a great inside look at the team and what we do to prepare for games both at home and on the road.

Until next time...THINK UMASS!

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    Wednesday, Dec 3
    vs Harvard 7:00 PM gametracker
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