- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2008

STORRS, Conn. _ Hello everyone! We had our first game the other day, and it felt so good to get out there and play again. Preseason was great this year. Our UConn team was split into four teams of 4, the team names were Salt and Peppa, Gazelles, 2%, and Bomb Squad. I’m sure you are wondering where these names came from but maybe I will explain that another day. The four seniors picked the teams _ playground style.

Every Friday these four teams competed in a challenge. The challenges were things such as flipping big tires, urging (if you don’t know what this is, consider yourself lucky), running through obstacle courses, tug of war, etc. At the end of six weeks, which is the length of a preseason, the team with the highest point total won. The winners of the preseason competition were Salt and Peppa, and the members of this team were Matt Gade, our head manager, Tina Charles, Meghan Gardler, and yours truly. Our coaches presented us with a framed collage of pictures, and I’m not going to lie, I felt like I had won a real championship.

Now that I’ve told the lighter side of preseason, I guess I should mention that we didn’t just have challenges for six weeks. During the week we would condition by running Cemetery Hill (the name alone should let you know something about its level of difficulty), stadiums, sprints, and anything else Amanda Kimball, our wonderful strength and conditioning coach, could think of. Well that wraps up my preseason, it was great, but now that the games are starting the real fun begins. Thanks for listening.

_ Connecticut senior Renee Montgomery

NORMAN, Okla. _ Hey "y’all," I’m Courtney Paris and, in case you don’t know, I play for the University of Oklahoma, which is where I’ve picked up my new dialogue.

I’m a senior in journalism and I am excited about finishing my last year of college with my twin sister, Ashley. Time has flown and then dragged. I feel like I’ve been here forever, yet I can’t believe it’s almost over.

I’ve done a lot in my college experience _ milked a cow, had my first job, bought a home, paid bills, broken records, been challenged on and off the court and met some pretty incredible people.

There’s only two things left for me do as a Sooner and those are complete my degree and help lead my team to a national title.

I feel like I have a good chance at getting both.

I’m probably most known to for my double-double streak and while I don’t want it to end, one streak I want over is going to the Final Four by myself. This year I want to be in St. Louis with my team. And playing!

_ Oklahoma senior Courtney Paris

LOUISVILLE, Ky. _ Hello, my name is Angel McCoughtry and I am a senior forward at the University of Louisville. I am from Baltimore, Md., and enjoy spending time with my family. My team is my second family and we have a great time together!

When I was first recruited by the University of Louisville I had no idea where it was located. Once I got there I loved the campus and people and I ended up choosing Louisville because I wanted to help make them a national power in women’s basketball. Last year Coach Walz came to Louisville and helped us to reach our goals with our first Sweet 16 appearance but we aren’t done yet.

Expectations are high this season and I can’t wait to get started because we have a great team returning and added a lot of talent this year.

_ Louisville senior Angel McCoughtry.

BERKELEY, Calif. _ Hey, all you basketball fans. This is Lauren Greif from the Cal women’s basketball team and I am excited to be letting you in on some of the behind the scenes action and drama of college athletics and my Cal team throughout the season.

I would like to start by thanking November for finally showing up because, as every college basketball athlete or fan will tell you, the games are exceedingly more fun than the hours and hours of practice. There is no way around it sorry, coach! Our team, as well as the teams from nearly 1,300 Division I, Division II, Division III, and NAIA programs, have been beating up on our own teammates for months. Now, we can finally take out our frustrations with the tedium of practice and put our coaches’ yelling to good use, playing other teams. And, if all goes according to plan for us here at Cal, we will be playing others well into March and April!

_ California junior Lauren Greif

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