'The Keys'

Feb. 12, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. - After knocking at the door for several minutes and almost being shunned by my roommate when I told her I lost my room key for the third night in a row, I successfully negotiated my way inside, promising to be more accountable for my key the next time. Staying in three different hotels, in three different cities, on three different nights, it's easy to get sidetracked and forget some of the things that are most important while you're on the road. As the team sat around in the locker room after a loss to the University of Washington on Saturday afternoon, much like I had done the night before sitting in the hallway outside my hotel room, we talked about holding ourselves accountable for things we failed to do the majority of the weekend- remember the keys!

Thursday vs. Washington State, the key to our success was staying with things for 40 minutes and executing at the end of the game. Melody Johnson made the winning shot after a play was diagrammed in the timeout. With less than 10 seconds on the game clock, Amanda Levens came off a high screen and fed Melody as she sealed her defender right under the hoop. 'Thank God it's over,' Melody said in the locker room after she made the winning shot. 'I don't really get too excited about scoring, but if I need to score for us to win, and we win, then I'm happy. But it's never been my focus going into a game.'

Melody kept the party alive, but Saturday we forgot the keys to winning on the road in front of a hostile crowd. The keys to our success this year have been playing aggressively for 40 minutes, staying with things throughout the game's momentum changes and outrebounding our opponents. If we do these things, we usually are pretty tough to beat. In reality the combination is no secret, but executing the game plan comes down to a total 100 percent team effort, especially when we're on the road. Only one player off the bench scored Saturday afternoon in our loss, proving it wasn't a total team effort. In an effort to get back on track at home vs. the southern California schools this weekend, we will be looking to execute the keys that have made us successful in the past and learn from this weekend' loss to keep improving as a team.

The Pac-10 is a great place to play because of the match-ups and competitiveness of the conference. Every game is looked at as equally important as the next in conference play. We have to bring our keys from now on because there is no negotiating our way into a Pac-10 championship, and it will take the combination of us all to keep the door open this weekend.

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