Apr 7, 2014, 9:47 PM EDT
Gary Paczesny is a member of the Notre Dame women’s basketball travel party that will be writing a daily blog about traveling to the Women’s Final Four in Nashville, Tenn.
Game day means one thing, a return to a routine. Many times teams are taken out of their daily routines as they attend media sessions, banquets, open practices, award presentations and various other events that go along with a trip to the Final Four.
The Fighting Irish enjoyed breakfast at the hotel before departing for Bridgestone Arena for a one-hour closed session on the floor. The NCAA allows each team to have this one-hour session on game day to allow the players to get more accustomed to the arena environment, and also for many teams, to get the players moving and get the blood flowing. It also allows the coaching staff and team to walk through situations that might happen during the game.
During the hour long workout, ESPN talent sat courtside and watched as the Irish prepared for the game, taking notes on how the Irish planned to defeat Maryland. This allows the broadcasters to have a better understanding of storylines and to help tell the story beyond the ball going in the basket.
The team then returned to the hotel with time to relax before eating pregame meal and heading over to the Arena.
Former players Courtney LeVere, Brittany Mallory, Kelly Siemen, Melissa D’Amico, Melissa Lechlitner, Erica Williamson, Megan Duffy, Ashley Barlow, Fraderica Miller, Julie Henderson, Amanda Barksdale, Amanda Tsipis, Skylar Diggins, Letita (Bowen) McGuff, Sara Liebscher, Sheila (McMillan) Keller, current George Washington head coach and former Irish assistant Jonathan Tsipis and current Penn State head coach (former Irish guard and assistant under coach McGraw) Coquese Washington.
Many of the throngs of Fighting Irish fans made the almost seven-hour, 400-plus mile drive to the Music City.
The team departed the hotel around 3:30 pm CT, as hundreds of Fighting Irish fans, cheerleaders and the Band of the Fighting Irish cheering them on as they boarded the bus.
The team took to the floor wearing their white uniforms, but with a twist on the blue adidas shooting shirts. Added to back of them was “11, ACE” a salute to Natalie Achonwa who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee in a Regional Championship win over Baylor.
Following the 26-point victory over the Terrapins of Maryland, the team enjoyed a little “dance” in the locker room. This “dance” has become somewhat of a tradition following wins in the NCAA tournament. Following a moment to pray with University president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C. the team then spent the next 30 minutes in the locker room talking with the media.
Many members of the team returned to the arena floor to watch the start of the UConn/Stanford clash. Senior forward Natalie Achonwa accepted the team award for leading the NCAA in Field Goal percentage for the season.
Coach McGraw then joined Kevin Negandhi and analysts Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo on the ESPN set at halftime of the UConn/Stanford game to talk about the victory over Maryland.
Check back to UND.com for continuing coverage of the women’s basketball team in the National Championship game. WatchND.tv will have full video coverage of the post-game celebration and media interviews.
About In The Paint
Women’s Basketball on YouTube
- That @JShepard32 basketball IQ... 📈 #IrishInTheWNBA #GoIrish twitter.com/minnesotalynx/… 5 hours ago
- "Winning is about having the whole team on the same page." Our coaching staff welcomed @BillWalton to the new home… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 9 hours ago
- Welcome the newest member of our family, Marta Sniezek. The fifth-year transfer from Stanford will be eligible to… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 11 hours ago
- “Ceiling breakers can become the new normal.” Coach @MuffetMcGraw presented a #Gracies award to the first female… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 13 hours ago
- RT @MuffetMcGraw: Out in California for the Gracie awards and stopped by LA sparks practice to see one of our 5 WNBA draftees. Always fun… 1 day ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
- 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals with the @Bucks 8-1 in the @NBA Playoffs Putting up 7+ ppg and 7+ rpg in the p… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 6 days ago
- To all the Moms, Thanks for ... The daily support. The help with homework. The life lessons. The rides to practic… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 week ago
- RT @FightingIrish: In 1904, former @NDFootball quarterback and coach Frank Hering was inspired to create a national Mother’s Day. This #Mo… 1 week ago
- *DAILY-ish PAT UPDATE* On the back of a 7-point, 11-rebound performance, @pconnaughton helps the @Bucks reach the… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 2 weeks ago
- RT @NDmbb: PLAYOFF PAT. A near double-double from @pconnaughton (9 points, 10 rebounds) helps push the @Bucks to the verge of the Eastern… 2 weeks ago