Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Growing Pains

Growing pains might be the theme for this year’s team. With so many new guys and so many roles to be defined, along with the natural progression of a team throughout the season has been more noticeable as expected with this Aggie team. The good thing is that we are learning and growing; without a doubt.
Last week we were on a five-day road trip to play two conference road games on a Thursday/Saturday deal. This trip happened to be one of the toughest road trips we take every year with New Mexico State followed by LA Tech. Thankfully to our generous boosters we were able to take a charter plane for the entire trip. With having our own plane we can leave whenever, and are also able to bypass the whole airport ordeal. With the charter and great support from our staff, especially our manager Jesse Parker, the trip went a lot smoother. Jesse really takes care of us with all of our gear and food, best manager in the nation!! So a big shout out to all those who made our trip a lot easier.
New Mexico State was huge at all positions; knowing that coming in we knew it would be a very physical game. Starting off the game, I think all of us were ready to bring some physicality, and caused us to get into some foul trouble. I think this also made us a little more tentative in the second half. These problems combined to make for an interesting game. With 14 minutes to go, we were up four, heading out of a media timeout. From there we completely collapsed and ended up getting beat by 20. We were pretty embarrassed to say the least, very uncharacteristic of this team to just give up. With only a day in-between games we had to learn and move on. We learned to never let that happen again and also to adjust to how the game is being called without taking ourselves out of the game.
Next day we arrived in Louisiana ready to get better and work on taking that next step forward. With a double header on the women’s schedule we needed to practice that night at eight o’ clock. I was slightly worried with the late start and so much travel we would have a sluggish practice. With a small team meeting between us players we actually had one of our better practices of the year. The next day it really showed in our game. Battling through a ton of adversity we fought all game, getting contributions from almost every eligible player, which was really awesome. The game was back and forth all night, but we managed to pull out a win down to the wire. Our second road win was very much earned and felt awesome. It’s amazing how much more fun traveling can be after a win, especially all of us hanging out on our private plane.
This week entails a similar schedule with two road games looking to complete a sweep after earning a split. It’s time for this team to make a mid-season run. It would be great to start with two road wins.
Go Aggies!!

--Morgan Grim

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On To Conference Play

Wow, has our team grown up over the past few months? Since the game at Pacific, we have really focused on becoming better in practice as a team. Coach Morrill challenged us to take responsibility for practice and since then that has been our focus; boy has it showed! Since then we have really turned the corner and are starting to become quite the basketball team.
After Pacific, we traveled to Wichita State to play in a very hostile arena, against a very good team. After a rough first half, we finally snapped out of it and guys really stepped up. It was a totally new Aggie team. Guys playing with confidence, believing they could play, it was awesome. Being such a young, inexperienced team, it was slightly expected that it might take a while for guys to get in the grove. I’ve seen it before in high school, sometimes playing-time fixes everything. I had faith in both our players and Coach Morrill to get this team rolling. We rallied back and really made a game out of it, bringing the deficit to four at one point, late in the game.
After our trip, the team went on to win four straight, which included a sweep of our home tournament. During that stretch, we really started playing well together. Players played roles and played for each other, it really has been fun to watch the team mature. As a team we have been growing closer both on and off the floor. Before Christmas we decided to get together and organize a secret Santa. It was really fun having some team bonding time and exchanging gifts. This led the team into a much needed four day break for the holidays.
After our break we were back to our regular schedule, with four days of practice before our game at Mississippi State. Since school has been out, we have virtually been living the life of a pro. Nothing but basketball and going out to eat meals with the team! It has been great not having to deal with school and having a lot of free time; and since most of the students are gone, we have started to hang out as a team more. I think that this has played a part in becoming a closer knit team.
After a solid week of practice, we left two days early to get to Mississippi on a charter, which was really convenient to fly from Logan straight into Starkville. When we landed we were greeted with some southern hospitality. Our bus driver gave a nice welcoming speech, and had some southern fried chicken for dinner. With an extra day we were able to spend a lot of time together, even catch a movie which was fun. Game day was very exciting, this time around, we came out with no fear on their home court. Being ranked 14th in the nation, MSU did not intimidate us. We played very physical and together; taking them right to the wire. Down two, with 14 seconds remaining, we had the ball with a chance to win or tie. Unfortunately we lost; and even though we had the game in our hands, it was once again a major step forward for our team.
With conference starting, we are striving to keep taking those steps toward becoming one of the many great Aggie basketball teams. What better way, then two home conference games in a week.
Go Aggies!

-- Morgan Grim