Aug. 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 third installment of her 'Down Under Diaries.'
The regular season has concluded for the South West Metro Lady Pirates in good fashion. According to my last entry, we had 3 regular season games left that would tell the toll for our team's future. The first of the 3 games was a home match versus Ipswich. We had played them earlier in the season and won, but that did not mean that we had an easy game ahead of us. In fact, despite coming away with a win, it wasn't pretty. Had they been a slightly tougher opponent, we may not have been so lucky. As players, and from a coach's perspective, when you play a game like that you really just need to take away what positives you can and hope to learn from your mistakes and not let it happen again.
The following weekend we faced a local rival, Logan. This game was of huge importance, as we were both battling for the top position in our pool (the top 2 teams in each pool move on to the playoffs). People around the area were making the game out as if it was the NBA championship and I think that caused some extra nerves on the night. Both teams came out ready to play and the first half was just as expected - close. We held a 4 point lead going into the third quarter. Unfortunately for us, we came out cold and they were on fire in the third quarter leaving us not able to recover. We ended up losing the game by 18 points. It was our first loss in nearly 3 months. It was not a good feeling and certainly one that we were not used to. All we could do at that point was focus on our next game, which was a `make or break' game as a result of our loss to Logan. Whether or not we would play another game all came down to the last game of the season. We played against Gold Coast, at Gold Coast.
During that last week leading up to the Gold Coast game my dad came over to visit me and see the last 2 games. It was a shame that he had to experience the Logan game where we lost and I struggled, to say the least. He didn't mind that much, he was really just happy to be here and get to see me play. It was my last week to get in any sight seeing and I definitely made the most of it. I finally made my way to the Australia Zoo. I thought it was awesome, for what it was. It was not exactly your typical zoo that had every animal imaginable. It was very focused on koalas, kangaroos, and crocodiles. Other animals based in Australia were there too, but you didn't see the likes of zebras and pandas. It was a great way to start my visit with my dad. We then continued up to Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world. We spent some time in Brisbane during the middle of the week before making our way down to the Gold Coast for a few days prior to the game. The Gold Coast is absolutely beautiful, especially if you enjoy the beach as much as I do. We spent a day walking around the streets and watching people surf from our hotel balcony.
Saturday was game day, and it may have been one of the most unusual game days I've ever had. I was up early with my dad to gather some last minute souvenirs before I hit the beach. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take advantage of the weather and get some sun before the game, so I spent a good few hours preparing for the game on the beach. I even went for a quick swim in the ocean before heading back to the hotel to get ready and after a few hours we were on our way to the game. A friend of mine was with me, the sun was shining - it felt like I was going to play in a summer league game at home, not a crucial match. But, I think that helped relax me, which in turn carried over to the rest of the girls. We came out and from the tap took control of the game. It was clearly a team effort in which everyone contributed in some way. We came away with a convincing win and a trip to the first round of the playoffs. This Saturday we play against Logan, at Logan. The game is not only important because it means the end to someone's season, but it also gives us a chance to let people know what we are made of. We haven't lost an away game since our very first game versus Logan nearly 4 months ago. It will give us a chance to redeem our efforts from 2 weeks ago, and I am looking forward to a different outcome this weekend.