A Women's Basketball Diary
The following entry comes from sophomore guard Chantella Perera. For a complete list of this year's entries, check out the side bar on the right side of the page.
Monday, March 21
It's been awhile since I've written so I'll have to catch you up briefly on the last couple months. We obviously have been through an eventful few months some for good reasons and some for not so good reasons. But amidst all the drama I think our team has grown tremendously and shown our true courage and determination.
As the regular season came to an end we took our last road trip to Tulsa and Rice. Although we stumbled a little there losing both games, we took some much-needed refocusing for the final home games of the season. While we were there, many of the girls and coaches managed to catch up with their families. In Tulsa we also were reunited with former coach Kelsi Bond- a familiar face we were all very happy to see. Then as we moved on to Rice, former assistant coach Brett Frank visited us, making the whole trip overall very memorable. We were all excited to catch up with our old coaches and glad to see how they were doing.
After our final conference road trip we had a four-game homestand and we needed a strong finish to take us into the WAC tournament. Coach Wiggins told us we would finish 19-9 and to his and our credit we demolished all four visiting teams. It was the perfect lift we needed to give us confidence going into the WAC.
At the last home game we honored our three seniors - Cophie, V-Mack and Aritta. It was definitely an emotional night for everyone. The night before the rest of the players gathered to put together some gifts and posters for our seniors. After our pre-game meal we escorted our seniors out of the Save Mart Center to make sure they were gone and we quickly decorated their lockers and the lockerroom with presents, balloons and streamers. We surprised them before the game and it was the start of an emotional but happy night for all three of them. As they walked on the court before the game we shed a few tears as they have been such a huge part of our lives and we can't imagine what our team will be like without them. They have been our leaders, our friends, our teammates and most of all they have been like our older sisters. We love them so much and we can't express how much we will miss them. Despite all the emotion we did get out on the court and play the game we love. We tried hard to get Cophie a three (because she has never made one) with the first play of game being a three-point play for her. It almost worked too, but I think she is just waiting to surprise us one day when we're not expecting it!!!
Following our win on senior night, our next task was the WAC Tournament. Our strong finish to the regular season put us as the fourth seed and placed us up against SMU in the quarterfinals. We headed to Reno on Tuesday and after two good days of practice we were feeling pretty good for our first game. And it showed big time as we beat SMU convincingly by 18 points. That night we watched some other games being played and the next day we practiced and relaxed at night by watching our men beat Louisiana Tech in double-overtime.
It must have been a sign for the next day when we took on the Lady Techsters in the semifinals. We were focused and ready to go from tip-off and as the game unfolded an upset win for the Bulldogs looked promising. However to Tech's credit they came back strongly and forced the game into double-overtime. We tried desperately to get the win we have wanted for so long but it was just out of reach for this season. We probably played one of the best games of our lives and although we lost, there was a lot that we could take from it to help us become a better team. It seemed a bad day for Fresno State as that night we watched our men lose by a point to Boise State.
Besides the losses we all had a great time at Reno. For most of us we had experienced our first postseason victory and definitely enjoyed the invaluable experience of playing in the tournament after the first round. We also caught up with former assistant coach Miranda Serna, even though she was the enemy while we played Louisiana Tech!!! It was also Erica's 19th birthday while we were away so we sang to her at the buffet (which we were definitely sick of by the time we were done) in our hotel.
We came back to Fresno on Saturday and on Sunday we gathered at the Save Mart Center to see if we would make it to the WNIT. We all were feeling confident and hopeful of another postseason berth. Luckily things went our way although they had us feeling a little doubtful making us wait for a good hour before telling us we were going to play Texas A & M - Corpus Christi on Friday.
We are so excited to play in the WNIT. It's my first postseason and for most of the other girls too, so it makes it all the more exciting. We're hoping to do something even more special with this season and give our seniors the very best send off possible.
It's been an incredible season and it's far from over as far as we're concerned. All season we have had an amazing experience and we have received incredible support from so many people that we are very grateful for. We can't wait to go and play in the WNIT and we wouldn't be going without all the fans and support from Fresno State so we are very thankful and we hope we can go out there and make all of you very proud!!!