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Sarah Hansen's Day 3 Journal: Studying for North Florida

FGCU guard Sarah Hansen checks in with a journal about how her team prepared to play North Florida today at 12 p.m. EDT in the Atlantic Sun women's basketball tournament.

Preparation Day

Going into progress today, we still did not know who we would be playing. Our second practice was at Mount de Sales Academy again, and we focused on preparing for USC Upstate. We split our two practices between the two teams, and Upstate happened to be the late practice. We talked about personnel, went over their set plays, and worked on cleaning up some of our actions and plays. It was relatively short. Coach (Smesko) even went as far as calling it a “Walk-through,” something we rarely have in our program. It went pretty smoothly.

About halfway through progress, Brittany (Kennedy) and I started making a beat off the wall mats. Joyce (Iamstrong) decided she wanted to join in, so she busted out in some wild cheerleading moves. Needless to say, we all started laughing. Joyce is definitely not the cheerleading type.

After progress, we were walking off the court, and Coach asked Grammy (Betsy Adams) and I if she was going to be able to score on the girl guarding her tomorrow. We both said yes, that she would get buckets, and Coach asked how. She said by screening for me to get the match-up we wanted, which was the answer Coach was looking for. We both got a little too excited and went to high five. We missed… and Grammy hit me square in the face. We might be able to play cohesively on the court, but we definitely cannot work together to high five when we’re both excited. Coach got a few laughs out of that one.

Once we were back to the hotel, we had about an hour before we got dinner. Brittany and I hung out in the room, watching some television. I wasn’t really watching though. I decided to work on some homework. Even though we’re on spring break and at the conference tournament, I figured I should probably try to get some work done so I don’t have hours and hours to do when we get back to the Fort. I am still a student. Who would have thought?

Dinner was pretty relaxed. We just had Carrabba’s delivered. They forgot my food order though, so I had to eat [assistant coach Chelsea] Lyles’ dinner (thanks for having my back and sharing, Lyles!). Then we went over to watch the UNF-USC Upstate game. Finally, we were going to find out whom we played. I had a good time sitting with my teammates. They’re always a good time. Also, I just love watching basketball and being in the gym, so it was a great night for me.

Sitting next to Joyce is always a good time. You never know what you’re going to get with her. At one point, one of the Upstate girls made a move and found her teammate on the weak side block and Joyce about lost it. I mean she almost fell out of her seat and ooh-ed. It was a good find, but nothing like Joyce made it out to be. Grammy and I got a few laughs out of that one.

The game was really close. There were a lot of lead changes and ties. We got to see what we needed to do to win and what each team liked to do. Coach told us we had to put our phones down and actually watch for their tendencies and plays. It really helped a lot of us. When you actually take the time to watch the game, you can learn so much and see so much develop. The game was tied with a little under a minute left, and UNF hit a big three to take the lead. Upstate came down and got a bucket, but it was only a lay-up, so they were still down one with just under ten seconds to go. They fouled UNF, who made both of their free throws. Upstate got a last second shot up, but it really wasn’t that close. Looks like we’ve got UNF tomorrow!

After the game, we came back to watch film and go over out scouting report for UNF. After we read and memorize the scouting report, Coach picks a random person to recite what they can without the game plan in front of them. I was the lucky person today. We watched some film from UNF playing other teams, and then we watched edits from both of our previous games. Seeing our mistakes and the reasons we allowed them to play us close the last two times really helped. There are quite a few areas we need to improve on, but they are really easy fixes. We finally called it a night, and went up to our rooms.

I’ve been slowly getting that feeling all day, but now it’s here for sure. I can’t wait to take the court to battle with my teammates, my family, tomorrow afternoon. Time to focus, and do what we know how to do again: play hard, and leave it all on the court. Noon can’t get here soon enough.