National Tourney Begins; SAGU wins 74-63

Dear Hoopla,

Ah, the joy and hope and excitement of spring. It's when nature gets back up and fights!

It's also when basketball teams and fans often experience March Madness. We hope to catch some of it in our sails in the form of our "second wind."

We woke up this morning to good weather outside and a good breakfast buffet at Bennigan's.

Then our team left at 10:30 to go to the Orthopedic Capital Center for our shoot-around. It was nice to be able to shoot in the gym we would be playing in tonight. Afterwards we picked up a snack at Wendy's to take back to the hotel. We took a respite from physical exertion before getting ready to go back to the gym at 3 o'clock.

Upon arriving at the gym we sat and watched some of the Trinity International University and Emmanuel College game, which the latter won. At half time of that game we left and did a couple of drills on the court then followed that with a devotional from Shanna Crossley (from the WNBA). It was a combined devotion with King College, which was little awkward (since we were about to play them), but she gave a good devotion about giving your all for Christ. She compared living for Christ with playing basketball saying if we are going to give it all out there on the court for a game, then we should also give our all and hold nothing back for Christ.

After the devotion we went to our locker room and prepared for the game with some pep talk from Stephanie Hawkins and Chelsea Jones. They are our co-captains. The coaches then came in and gave us a pre-game talk and we prayed as a team. Now it was game time. No more talks. It was time to act. To do.

We took the floor with confidence and knew what we had to do. We are thankful to those of you who watched our game tonight online and in person.

We had some fans come up as well including Vice President Terry Phipps and his wife, Irma. Also in the stands were Mrs. Mary Beadles (who travelled with us), LeAnne Bruner (Gabby's mom), Mark and Theresa Jones (Chelsea's parents), Blaine Gober, Maurice "Mo" Oglesby, Brandon Deal and Elena Davies.

Hoopsie, guess who else was there?

President Bridges?

No, silly. He's hosting the university's Study Tour in Israel.

My parents, James and Charlotte! It was definitely nice to have our fan base at the game. If we were closer there would be more who would have come, including SAGU's #1 fan: Jenna Martin.

We're so grateful to all of our fans who helped support us throughout this season. They definitely have been a big help.

We had a big win tonight, 74-63, and we now are on to the semi-finals tomorrow (Friday) night. Melissa Giles had a great comment about the game: "We finally played SAGU basketball. This was the first step to becoming NCCAA national champions."

Jirah Rodriguez added to that by saying, "We really played as a team."

Our whole team agreed in saying, "Stephanie was on fire!"

Hawkins really played great tonight! Holding nothing back, she finished with 29 points. But it was definitely a team effort! We all came together and played like we wanted to win. Following the game we participated in the Parade of Champions. It was where all the teams were introduced and lined up on the court. A pretty cool experience.

We watched a little bit of the game that followed the parade since we will be playing the winner tomorrow. Robert Wesleyan won against Grace College (67-60 in overtime), so that's who we'll be facing at 7pm. Wesleyan is from Upstate New York.

After leaving we went and had dinner at the Golden Corral. It was close to our hotel. Then we came back and everyone is hanging out and relaxing after the game.

We are scheduled to leave in the morning at 11:10 for a shoot around at 11:30. Then our VP, Terry Phipps, is taking us out for lunch at the Boathouse, a very nice restaurant.

We look forward to playing again tomorrow!

Hopefully that "Second Wind" will fill our sails with enough to win!

Thanks for reading, Hoopla.

Lamb Chop (Rachel Harris)

P.S. I was thinking about getting you a souvenir T-shirt. What size do you wear?