June 21, 2013
PingXiang, China - Fresno State women's basketball player Alex Sheedy is in China playing in a four-nation tournament for the Emerging Opals Australian Basketball team.
The tournament runs June 15-27 and Sheedy is keeping Bulldog fans updated with her progress as the tournament progresses with this blog right here on GoBulldogs.com. Below is her second blog entry talking about getting acquainted with China and her first round of games.
Phil Brown, Sheedy's head coach for the Emerging Australian Opals team had this to say about her:
"We were excited to have a number of our USA College based players back into our National Women's Program, including Alex Sheedy who graduated from the Australian Institute of Sport Program in 2011. The training camp held at Basketball Australia's National Centre of Excellence (at the AIS) from June 2-7 provided an opportunity for the National Team Coaching staff to evaluate all players in the beginning of the "road to Rio 2016". In addition to a number of Olympic veterans it was beneficial to assess the progress and development of a number of our younger up-and-coming talented players who are currently playing in the USA collegiate system.
"Alex brought a physical and defensive presence to the National Training Camp, culminating in her selection in the 'Emerging Opals' for a two week tour to China from June 15-27. Also participating in the three tournaments through China are the Hungarian World University Games Team, a USA Select Team and an Emerging China National Senior Team. The nine-game tour will provide quality international experience against strong opponents for Alex and we are confident she and Fresno State will reap the benefits from such a quality basketball opportunity."
China! Here we are, and there are so many mosquitoes here!
We have finished the first round of games. The first round was held in PingXiang, China, a small city of only 1.8 million people. We arrived there at 4 a.m. and woke up for breakfast at 9:30 a.m. and had a practice session after lunch at 2 p.m.
Practice in PingXiang was tough; China is really hot and extremely humid! It was hot, sweaty and slimy. We were all struggling to breathe, but it was good to get a run out and get some shots up. This is the first time that we have trained and played together as a team, so it is good to get to know each other. For the first round, I was rooming with a girl named Stephanie, she played for the Dandenong Rangers as a junior - same as me - but she is two years older than me so we didn't really know each other before now.
We went down to the "pedestrian mall" while we were there. Basically the mall was a lane about three-quarters of a mile long with shops and stalls all over the place, the only shade we had was what the buildings around us cast. Safe to say, we didn't stop sweating the entire day, and drank enough water to fill a pool.
Anyway, at the end of the mall walkway there was a Tea House. We were going there because our translators had organized a Tea Ceremony for us. It was really awesome, not only because it was air conditioned, but because I love tea. I drink it all the time, all different types and these sorts of things have always interested me. So, we watched the tea lady prepare the tea, smelled what the leaves were like before and after they were wet, and drank some tea. The first tea was `flower tea', I think it had some Jasmine in it and then we drank green tea. It was pretty strong and not everyone liked it.
If anyone has been to China, you know that the food is very different from Australian and American food. At one of the meals there were fish heads, and other unidentifiable food things. So, it had been a little difficult to find enough food to eat but we brought a lot of snack with us from home so I think we should be alright - I hope! So, pregame meal consisted of basically French fries in bread, a chip sandwich. Not the healthiest thing you want to eat, but better than food poisoning or something worse!
The opening ceremony was pretty awesome, there were some amazing dancers and singers - couldn't understand a word that was said, but they were good!
China and Hungary played first, there game started late. China won. They are an extremely physical team with crazy shooting technique that somehow goes in. I hope that when we play I don't get a broken nose or anything because that might be in the cards. So our game against the U.S. started at 10:30 p.m., not 9:30 as originally planned. And needless to say, the U.S. shot the lights out and we couldn't hit the broad side of a barn! It was not a great game for us, but we have two more shots at the U.S., so watch out - we will get you! We are still working out some kinks and getting to know each other and the way we play, so it isn't an awful thing that we played badly on the first game.
It was really interesting playing against the U.S. because Chelsea Hopkins from SDSU is on the team and so is Talia Caldwell from Cal, two players from the last two teams that I played against!
We played against China next, and it was a rough game. The Chinese style of basketball is different to Aussie and U.S.; it's much more physical with less fouls called. However, the Chinese game is evolving because Tom Marr, a national Australian coach is the head coach of the Chinese Olympic team and he along with his assistants are teaching the Chinese about sports medicine and different styles of western style basketball.
We lost that game again, but we improved so much from the first game. We played more as a team and shot better.
Against Hungary, we won. It was a pretty intense game, with a lot of foul outs - 3 from our team and 1 from theirs. Needless to say, we were very happy.
We start the second tournament tomorrow (Saturday), so I'll keep you posted.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics" - ESPN2 790 AM is the home of the Fresno State women's basketball team.
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