Jan. 15, 2006
Throughout the season an Illinois women's basketball player will post her thoughts on fightingillini.com in a weekly blog. This week, senior Maggie Acuna discusses the the victory over Penn State and the joys of "Wedding Crashers".
Women's BasketBlog - Jan. 15, 2006
Games may come and go. Few scores are normally remembered. But the feeling of losing by 30 usually sticks pretty hard in most players' minds. As the Penn State game approached, this specific feeling was very fresh in my mind along with the other returning players from last year. To refresh those who may have forgotten or never knew, we went to State College last year and came home with nothing more than embarrassment. Needless to say, we got killed. On top of losing, we let Coach Grentz down with the way we performed with her family sitting courtside.
The stellar performance we put on in Pennsylvania made the trip back out of the mountains a rocky ride. The least I can say is that we have made our mistakes but have learned from them. The first point is to never embarrass Coach Grentz in her home state. The second is to win on the road to make the travel back home bearable. And the third idea is to just win the games so everyone is happy.
This year's game against Penn State has been long awaited by many players. For me and the other seniors, it was one of our last opportunities to actually beat Penn State during our four-year careers and it feels good now that it was finally accomplished. Luckily for the freshman, it was their first shot at Penn State and they got that nice "W".
Speaking of Pennsylvania...we are completely dominated by "Pennsylvania People." Sometimes I wonder if they are trying to rename our school U of I at P (University of Illinois at Pennsylvania). Our four players from there have seemed to adopt a name for themselves: "The Pennsylvania Quartet." But for whatever it's worth, I'm sure Wigs, Aud, Chelsea, and Grat each got a little bit more out of the win against Penn State than the rest of us.
During the game, it was strange because there were so many connections between everyone. The connections between Penn State and us seemed to bring a friendly, yet very unfriendly rivalry at the same time. It was like when you used to play a sibling in the driveway as kids. You know their every move, likes, and hates. You can't stand playing them on the court, but off the court you'd never know there was a rivalry. Coach Grentz and PSU coach Rene Portland have a long standing friendship dating back to their college days, but Chelsea and Grat also were playing against some fellow AAU teammates. As always, in ANY situation it's good to come out on top, but we still have to play Penn State again later this year, so our job isn't done yet.
Off the court, the next best part of the week was the release of Wedding Crashers on DVD. After watching it over and over, the jokes continue to get better. For the next few days, weeks, or months we can all look forward to coming into the gym and reciting lines from the movie with Blaine (Patterson), our very own Vince Vaughn.
There aren't too many things that are better than winning basketball games and laughing. Life is good.
Now we're out to get the Badgers in Wisconsin.