Stockholm, Sweden (Aug. 8, 2011 - or so we believe) - most of us have become lost in the days as we continue our journey through Europe. The journey has been unforgettable, but today was special. You could feel the excitement, nerves, and enthusiasm in the air as six Huskers prepared to suit up to play for their first time.
True freshmen Emily Cady, Brandi Jeffrey, Hailie Sample and Tear'a Laudermill, had no problem admitting to their game-day jitters. Redshirt freshmen Rebecca Woodberry and Katie Simon also admitted that their nerves were taking a bit of a toll. But, all were reminded by junior Lindsey Moore that there was no day but today, to go out and play hard and the rest would fall into place. Wise words coming from a focused upperclassmen.
Not much to the sophomore, junior and senior returners' surprise, warm-ups became a full-on mini-practice. With many drills found in past practice plans to get our minds working, surely Coach Yori's plan was to get our blood pumping and minds focused on the task at hand. As the time ticked down on the clock, the excitement began to rise in the Husker players and coaches, it was almost game time.
Rules of the game are a bit different here. We used a 24-second clock instead of 30. We also used an eight-second backcourt violation rule, while playing four 10-minute quarters. We only had one timeout per quarter, except the fourth when we had two timeouts. The timeouts must be called by the head coach and the head coach only, and the key is substantially wider then the ones we are used to back in the United States.
Those were just a few curveballs thrown the Huskers' way, as we stepped foot on a new court in a new country to play the same game that we have grown to know and love. To our surprise the team we played against did not have on spandex suits. They actually looked a lot like us. They were a strong team with a clearly built chemistry from the start, but we still had every intention of giving them a run for their money.
As the buzzer sounded - a bit longer then we were used to, the Huskers gathered around, a huddle filled with fresh faces. After a 2010-11 season filled with injuries, it was nice see 11 Huskers dressed in uniform and ready to go.
Lindsey Moore, Kaitlyn Burke, Hailie Sample, Jordan Hooper and Emily Cady made up the starting five for the Huskers against the Swedish National Team. We got off to a bit of a rocky start, as we all appeared a bit winded and maybe a little nervous. As the first quarter passed, we were reminded that we must play through fatigue, and we need to remember our basic team principles.
After we played through some of our jitters in the first half, our defense began to improve and we seemed to get a spark and play with more energy. We also began to figure each other out. The chemistry that was a large focus throughout this summer began to come through. Although we lost the game, it became obvious before the buzzer sounded that this Husker team has great potential. With hard work and focus, we have a promising future.
Thank you so much to our Fastbreaker Boosters, and everyone else involved in making this trip possible. We are all so grateful and feel extremely blessed to have the support of the state of Nebraska behind us.
Go Big Red!