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CAA Defensive Player of the Year Nikki Newman blogs about JMU proving themselves in the 2014 NCAA Tournament

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2014 CAA Defensive Player of the Year Nikki Newman blogs about her excitement over getting to the NCAA Tournament and James Madison earning the respect they deserve.

Wow! I feel like that's a word that could sum up the emotions from winning the CAA. Being a three-time champion isn't something very many people can say and I am more than happy to be one of the ones that can. Not only that, but talk about a special year. This is one that I will carry with me forever.

The chemistry this team has and the will to win goes beyond measure of any team I've been a part of before. The balance we share on the court and the unselfish play that we prove day in and day out is what makes us champions.

To top it off, having the Coach of the Year, the Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, all conference members, regular season champions, tournament champions, the list goes on. There aren't words to describe the range of emotions I had when those final seconds came to a close in that championship game. Bittersweet to say the least.

But, now on to bigger and better things! Dancing time! I've always been told I'm not the best dancer in the world, but I think this is the perfect time to prove them wrong. We are on a mission. When it comes down to it, seeding is seeding, it doesn't matter who you get put up against because everyone is fighting.

This is the time where you don't want to look back and say "what if...", or "if I only had one more game..." Now is the time to prove what we are all about, to get the respect that we deserve. What a better place to do that than Texas?!

As always JMU Nation showed support in sending us to Texas (during many of their lunch breaks no less - that's how great they are!) Walking into the JMU Convocation Center there were numerous posters, personalized notes, hugs to give, smiles in every direction, and the continuous love that they have always shown for us.

It didn't stop there though, as we got on the bus to head to the airport and our bus was decorated by our amazing cheerleaders! (Which we are so excited to have on the trip with us, as well as the best Pep Band in the universe. Just wait and see) I have personally never been to Texas, but I've never been more excited to be here!

I will say from what I've seen the statement rings true "everything is bigger in Texas." At least that goes for Texas A&M and the campus. It almost felt like it was never ending as we were passing all of their athletic facilities. Practice was very up tempo and energetic today! Everyone is focused and counting down the days to Sunday! It's nice to take the time to enjoy this moment, but it's a business trip.