Two wins and valuable experience
Updated: Friday November 17, 2000 11:50 AM
Gail Goestenkors, a native of Waterford, Michigan, is in her ninth season as coach of the Duke Blue Devils. The three-time ACC coach of the year led Duke to the 1999 NCAA title game and it's first ACC tournament title in 2000. The Blue Devils are currently ranked No. 3 in the nation. Check out Goestenkors diary every other week on CNNSI.com
November 17, 2000
We had a wonderful trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico last weekend. I always love the early road trips because the team begins to really bond and you see the players personalities begin to emerge.
We were playing in the Women's Sports Foundation Classic and opened with UCLA. I said in an early press conference that we may break the national record for most turnovers in a game and we came close in this one. We won the game 80-52 but recorded 30 turnovers in the process.
The championship pitted us against LSU, which ended our season last year in the NCAA Tournament. It was nice to have a chance to play them again and even better to win 56-45. I must admit that Marie Ferdinand is one of the most outstanding players I have ever seen. She does whatever her team needs and makes everyone better.
The fans in New Mexico are some of the best in the country. They really get into the game and are very knowledgeable. They averaged over 6,500 fans a game during the tournament and Don Flanagan, the UNM head coach, is a class act.
The game against LSU was tightly contested, although I think both teams were a little tired. I can honestly say...altitude IS a factor! I knew we could be in for some trouble when my players asked if they could take a water break...DURING STRETCHING on the first day!
It feels great to begin the season with two wins and to see our young players pick up some valuable experience. We'll need to improve a great deal to be successful over these next few weeks. We begin a nine-day stretch where we will play five games, including two on the road against nationally ranked opponents. So we'll learn much more about our mental and physical toughness by the end of next week.
My players asked if we could cook Thanksgiving dinner over at my house. I told them I needed to check first to see if my oven works. I found out it does.....but I told the team it's B.Y.O.P. Bring your own pots because I only have ONE! It's sad but true!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
-- Gail Goestenkors