A Look Back While Dancing...

March 19, 2005

Looking back from the start of the season I would have never thought USC Women's Basketball team would be in the NCAA tourney. We made it to the DANCE baby! All the hard work has paid off. Starting back to pre season conditioning where we worked our butt off. During the months of September and October our team would wake up at 5am and condition in the gym at 6am twice a week. We are a well conditioned team. I think it shows out on the court because we like to push the ball up court and with how many people we play we should never be tired.

Everyone asks us what makes this team so special? Why are you guys winning this year with less talent than previous years where you had superstars on the team? The answer to these questions is how well we get along. We are a team and there are no individuals. We all know our roles on the team. Our team bonding trip to Big Bear in October was really an eye opening experience. Trust, leadership, and togetherness were taught and emphasized on the trip. We had to do a high ropes course. My partner was Markisha and I thought I wouldn't have a problem doing the activity. Well I was wrong. Without the help of Markisha I would not have been able to finish. It made me realize how much I can trust my teammates.

I feel that a turning point for our team this season was the TCU game. We played a tough team on there home court and beat them. That game has given us confidence that even though we are the underdogs and are not supposed to win the game we can pull it off. The past month of basketball has been awesome. There have been so many great memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Our home game against Cal was awesome. We scored over 100 points and gave them their worse loss this season. Then my final home game at the Sports Arena against the Bruins was exciting because we beat them and did it in front of a huge crowd. I remember when UCLA had the ball at the end of the game and our fans stood up and were cheering for us. I have never seen anything like that at our game. I thought they only did that at the guys' games.

Our next step to making it to the DANCE was having a good showing in the PAC 10 tourney. Congrats to Brynn, Meg, and Camille for making the All Pac 10 team. You three have been playing great all season. Our first game was against U of A. Before we left to go to the gym we were treated with our Band (you all are the best) playing conquest and the Fight On song. Also, the cheerleaders and the yell leaders put on a good show. Thanks you guys for your support this season. We love all of you. We beat Arizona and we knew that we would be going to the tourney because the NCAA said they would give an automatic bid to the teams that make it to the semifinals in the PAC 10 tourney. Our next game was against Stanford. We played them tough. We should have won that game. After that game we knew that we could hang with anybody. Stanford is the #1 team in the country and we only lost to them by 4 points.

Selection Sunday was a great day to be a Trojan. Our team, family, administration and alumni gathered at Galen center to see whom we would be playing. I was nervous just because I have never experienced this before. I had butterflies in my stomach and finally they called out USC and we were the #8 seed and were going to play Louisville the #9 seed. Our team went crazy. My dad even went up to Coach Trakh and gave him a kiss on his cheek. Last week we had to have short but hard practices to get us ready for the tourney. The coaches decided that since our game was at 11am in Minnesota that would be 9am California time. That meant that we would be having our pre game meal around 6am California time. So we had 6am practice all last week. Not fun waking up at 4:30am to go get treatment before practice. Also, last week was our spring break. I usually go home for spring break but not this year. I am proud to say USC is still playing during March. Our family and friends get to see USC playing on ESPN in March. It was worth having practice last week so early because today our team was not tired. We adjusted well to the time change.

I know that it is time to hear the funny side of our team. Before our first game of the season Coach Trakh told us that if we made it to the NCAA tourney he would dye his hair a weird color and jump off the high dive with his clothes on. Well on Thursday Coach Trakh walked into the gym and well he sure did change his hair color. He dyed it Yellow or blonde but I like to tell him it looks Chlorine Green. You know how swimmers who have blonde hair have problems with keeping their hair looking blonde. Well Coach Trakh's hair color looks like that. Our whole team was laughing at him. It doesn't look natural at all. The weather had been cold and snowing in Minnesota. Yesterday it snowed all day. I am sneaky. I like to play tricks on people. I get a kick out of it. So I told my team when we were outside heading to the bus to make snowballs. We were planning on getting Coach Trakh but he was walking with someone so we decided to get Coach Jody. We attacked her and got it all on video camera. I got her the worse. Her face was bright red. Jamie Hagiya was standing by Jody acting innocent and I decided to pretend like I was going to hit Jody and I threw it at Jamie's face. She couldn't see and she started walking and tripped over the curb and feel on her face. Well when we got on the bus I guess the team conspired against me and decided that it was my turn to get the trick played on me. They told me that we all were going to get our Manager when we got off the bus. So I started making snowballs with the team. I made like 10 of them. Not knowing that all those were going to be thrown at me. So right when I started throwing it at our manager, I got attacked. The next thing I knew was that I got tossed on the ground with my head in the snow. Someone put snow down my pants. I was covered in snow from my head to my feet. So my team better watch out because I am a prankster and will be seeking revenge at some point during this trip.

Now, to today's victory over Louisville. The media was saying how we would lose but like always we proved people wrong. We beat them by 16 points. It was our first win since 1997 and Coach Trakhs first tournament win. How exciting! Chole Kerr stepped up big time today. She had a double-double. Overall it was a great team effort and it was televised nationally so people were able to see USC basketball and how we are 'Bringing it Back'. Our next game is on Monday against Michigan State. They are a great team but we respect everyone and fear no one. We want to go to the Sweet Sixteen. This is such a special team. I have shared great memories with all you girls and these memories will last a lifetime.

P.S.- I was informed that I need to give some shout-outs to people. Sandy (our trainer) you are awesome we love you. You work so hard and put in so many hours. Ebony (our secretary), you keep me laughing all the time. Thanks for everything and for being here for all four of my years at USC. Coach C (our strength coach), Iv'e learned that when doing the bench press that it needs to touch my chest. You crack me up. Thanks for all of your dedication that you have to our program. Patrick a.k.a. 'P Diddy' what more can I say about you. Thanks for making it through all four of my years here. You have meant a lot to me and thanks for working so hard at getting people to attend our games. I know it is not easy. Donna (assistant to admissions), you are truly are biggest fan. You have made it to every home game and we thank you for all of your support. Lisa Love aka LL (associate athletic director), you have supported this team through the tough times and good times. You mean a lot to our team. Vicky (media), even though you left us halfway through Pac 10 I miss you. You are a wonderful person, and I am so glad that I was able to get to know you. Also, the reason why I am doing this journal is for Vicky. Last but not least this coaching staff. You have made Kim and my senior year truly special. Thank you for all of your dedication and giving us confidence. If I forgot anyone I am truly sorry. I thank everyone who has supported USC over the years. We are `Bringing it Back' to the national level. Monday everyone watch our game against Michigan State. The game is on 6pm Minnesota time and 4pm California time. Fight On!

Rachel Woodward

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