Feb. 9, 2006
Throughout the season an Illinois women's basketball player will post her thoughts on fightingillini.com in a weekly blog. This one's a little late, but this week senior Maggie Acuna talks about finding positives in the Illini's recent struggles and making the most of the final games.
Women's BasketBlog - February 9, 2006 - Maggie Acuna
No matter what happens in life...it never stops. When things are great you want to slow them down, and when things are bad you wish life would move on faster. But no matter how you are feeling, another minute passes and another day begins.
Currently this is the mindset I have continued to preach to myself to get me through. As a team, to state the obvious, we have been struggling lately in conference play. However, we've played the top teams in the Big Ten, teams that are also amongst the top nation. Before the season, I knew it was going to be a tough stretch. But the stretch of the last six games hasn't been all bad if you if you can manage to look past the results.
We have learned about what we are, where we are, and what we need to do to be where we want at the end of conference play. Sounds confusing, I know, but the lessons learned have been obvious to me. I have struggled during conference play with too many turnovers and my poor decision-making has frustrated not only myself, but most likely my teammates even more (which is more than understandable). In the early games of the conference season, we averaged about 20 turnovers as a team. In our last two games we have averaged 12.5. If the saying is true that "stats don't lie", then that means we have increased our opportunity to score about 15 more points. And to me...that is a good thing.
The next thing is that we have learned how to play with the best. The only thing we are missing is how to beat the best. As close as we hang around late in the second half, we haven't finished games off to get the "W". The next five games give us a chance to prove to ourselves that we have learned and are ready to get it done. The losses have been instrumental for us to learn from, but the next five games of will be instrumental in showing what kind of team we really are.
Being a senior, I have at least six games left at Illinois. However, it could possibly be the end of my basketball career as well. I mean there is, of course, the small chance that I don't get drafted for the "league" averaging an amazing four points per game. You just never know...so, since my career could be ending in the next few weeks, it is crunch time. I need to do all I can with the time I have left.
I dedicate the next six games to the all of my younger teammates. I want to show them what it means like to play with your heart, believe in your teammates, and how to get what you want and what you deserve as a team. I see our final games as a great way to set the trend that the Illinois basketball team (not just the men) is on its way to being one of the top teams in the nation.
Since life moves one day at a time, we will win one game at a time. We will start with Wisconsin and continue our path to being on top. As life keeps on going, the same could be said about our team, staff, and everyone else involved. We are ready to move on and will show no signs of stopping.