June 9, 2008
Loyola Assistant Women's Basketball Coach Erin Brady is playing professionally for the South West Metro Pirates in Calamvale, Australia. She will share some of experiences from her time 'Down Under' on loyolagreyhounds.com. This is the second installment of her 'Down Under Diaries.'
When I first realized I was going to have the opportunity to come over to Australia for the summer and shared that information with friends and family from home one of the first phrases to come out of people's mouths was, "That's great, but isn't that during their winter?" Indeed it is. It is now currently winter. Aside from people reminding me that it's winter, and a few semi-chilly nights, you would never know being that the temperature is still a good 70 degrees and sunny most days.
Until recently, I was under the impression that it was unlikely to even rain while I was here. The state of Queensland (which is equivalent to how we divide our country up into states, and is basically the northeast portion of Australia) has been experiencing a bit of a drought for the last 5 - 6 years. I made it a full month before any rain, but it did come. And when it rained it poured, lasting for nearly a week straight. It has since passed and the sun has found its way back out, which has me extra happy again.
Along with the rain, our troubled times on the basketball court have passed for now. My team's record is now 5 - 3. It may not sound overly successful at first glance, but when you take into account that we lost a few early games and since then have been on a five-game winning streak, it is. I'm not going to make excuses for losses, but I do think that we should have won 2 of the 3 games we lost. For example, I will explain how I feel slighted towards one of our early losses.
Those of you who are familiar with how we (Loyola) lost to Marist at home this season know exactly how I feel. We (South West Metro Pirates) played a team from the north of Queensland, Cairns. They are known to be a very good team and have a possible Olympic hopeful on their team, so it was going to be a very good game. And, it was! We were back and forth the entire time and it came down to end. I had struggled with foul trouble through my first 2 - 3 games of the season, so I ended up fouling out during `crunch time' with only a few minutes remaining. We were still right in it - tie game - with just seconds left. They had the ball and with less than 5 seconds left in the game the referee called a foul and put their best player (yes, the Olympic prospect) on the line to shoot two free throws. Guess what happened? She made them both and we lost by two. It was frustrating to watch, especially from the bench. Luckily that was our last loss in over a month, and it was also the last time I had to watch the game from the sidelines due to fouls. At the beginning of the season, we struggled with injuries and `gelling' as a team. I think we've really started to settle into a bit of a rhythm now and I'm rather excited to continue through the season.
Another reason I'm excited to continue with the rest of the season is to follow our men's team. The way the league is set up over here is similar to high school or college in the states in that each association has both a men's and women's team. Most also have men's and women's developmental teams that compete before us most weeks (similar to how a junior varsity team would). The difference over here is that we always play double-headers with our men each week, home or away. We play first and then show our support for the men after. It's rather easy for us because our men's team is currently undefeated at 8 - 0! They have been playing very well and haven't had that many close games.
However, a few weeks ago they did provide me with a new basketball experience. They were playing against a local rival team, Gold Coast. They had a decent lead throughout the entire game and towards the end got a little too complacent, which led to overtime. The first OT led to double OT. Double OT led to triple OT. And, yes, triple OT led to quadruple OT! When I think of overtime games (especially a game that goes into four overtimes) I think of a rather close score at the end. Interestingly enough, our men ended winning by 14 points. It was amazing to watch and experience. I have watched and played in games that made it to triple OT, but that was my first quadruple OT game. Again, a win is a win and they'll take it. Hopefully both of us can keep our winning streaks going over the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted...