Aug. 2, 2007
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of diary entries by Notre Dame rising sophomore guard Melissa Lechlitner during her first stint with a USA Basketball team, playing for the U.S. U19 World Championship Team. In this latest installment, Lech talks about getting in a regular rhythm with the national team and taking a little time to enjoy the sights. Full recaps on the Americans' most recent games are linked within the diary entry).
Friday July 27th
One of the things you get used to as a college student-athlete is the daily routine. Get up in the morning, grab something to eat, go to class, stop off for lunch, get your lifting in, head to practice and then dinner and studying. It's a pretty regular thing for us, especially once our preseason practices start going in October.
It's kind of the same way for Team USA here in Slovakia. Because we're playing so many games in just a few days, there hasn't been a lot of time for us to get out and see the sights. We're pretty much limited to staying in an around the hotel to stay focused for our games. For example, today began the same as it always does with breakfast in our hotel. Our shoot-around was at 9 and then we had our pre-game meal at noon. Every day, they have pasta, potatoes, rice, and either fish or some type of chicken. We take a lot of risks and try almost everything, but I've got to admit it's not what we are used to. Then again, I guess that's part of the reason we're here -- to learn how to adjust to unfamiliar surroundings and experiences. But did I forget to mention that whatever they serve for lunch is what they plan on serving for dinner? Even though most of us like the familiar routine of it all, it does get monotonous and we are craving for something other than carbohydrates!
Today, our game was against China at 3:40 in the afternoon. This was a big test for us going into the game because China was supposed to be a really tough team. We went into the game very focused and played well. We didn't have any trouble with them and won by a lot. After the game we had dinner and then went back to the gym to watch Serbia play the Czech Republic. After a quick run to the store for some cookies and candy (yeah!), we headed back to our hotel for the night.
Saturday July 28th
Another game day for us, so pretty much the same schedule as yesterday. The only thing that we changed up was after pre-game meal instead of watching "Jersey Girl", we watched "I-Robot" with Will Smith. After our movie, it was time to play Lithuania. The game was not that close once again. However, our next games should be getting more and more competitive as we get further along in the tournament. After the game, we talked Coach Bruno into letting us extend our curfew so we could have a movie night. Unfortunately we picked "Mr. Brooks" for our movie. It was not good at all and we were all yelling with disappointment when the movie finally ended. Then it was off to bed.
Sunday July 29th
Today was our "day off" and we were all really excited to get out of the hotel for a change of scenery. We still woke up at 9:30 and had breakfast like always, but after breakfast, we left to tour the downtown area. Since we haven't had much time to look around so far, and I didn't know anything about Slovakia before we got here, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was actually very surprised at how nice it was. We took a trolley around the city with the Australian team and had a tour guide tell us all about Bratislava. We also went to a few souvenir shops and some small stands around town while we were touring. For lunch, we went to a little cafe in town, sat outside and enjoyed the food, which was amazing! We were so excited just to get something other than pasta, and it turned out to be delicious. After lunch, we hopped on our bus to head back to the hotel to get ready for practice. We had a pretty light practice and then it was back to our normal schedule of dinner and then bed, since we're starting the second round tomorrow.
Monday and Tuesday, July 30th and 31st
Okay, I'm just going to apologize for these two journal entries. I combined them because they were the exact same day, and they were both kind of dull. We had breakfast and then a shoot-around. Then it was back to the hotel for film session, and then a snack. After snack, we have a lot of time to relax so most of us will take a nap and some of the girls will get on the Internet or watch a movie. Personally, I always opt for a nap! On Monday we played South Korea, and the game wasn't that close, but Tuesday was definitely a different story. We played Spain for the second time. We beat them by 9 in the Canary Islands and they were out for a little revenge. The game was back and forth and at the end of three quarters, it was still tied. Finally we pulled away in the last few minutes of the game and ended up winning by 8. It was a really good game, and a really good win for our team.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The United States closed out second-round play with an 84-60 win over Slovakia on Wednesday. Full coverage of that game, as well as the China game, can be found by clicking here and then clicking the links below the TV screen -- Windows Media Player is required to view the games).