Aug. 16, 2011

Photo Gallery of Final Day

Lillian Pitts video journal

Turkey and Greece Trip Homepage

ATHENS, Greece - The Miami women's basketball team concluded its historic tour of Turkey and Greece Tuesday with a resounding 96-32 win over the Athens All-Stars. It was an overall day of fun as prior to the game, the coaching staff took the team tubing on the Aegean Sea, a reward for their performance in the scavenger hunt on Sunday.

Despite not having played or practiced for the past five days, the RedHawks continued with their strong defense, forcing 25 steals against the All-Stars. The offense came alive as all 11 players contributed. In fact, every player scored between six and 12 points in the game. Kelsey Simon and Hannah Robertson led the way with 12 points each.

To describe the adventures of the day, while telling her personal story of overcoming fear, here is the journal entry of senior forward Lillian Pitts.

Dear Journal,

The last day here on our European tour is bittersweet. It has been an awesome experience and I have learned so much, but at the same time home is calling my name. The team has become closer during our time here and we now have a head start for the season. We have seen many people conquer fears, try new foods, and totally step out of their comfort zone.

I was actually one of the people to conquer my fear of water. I cannot swim, so water and I don't really get along very well. Many people have tried to teach me, but the thought of drowning just over powers me every time. Not this time! Since the entire team won the scavenger hunt our prize was a water sport experience. We decided to go tubing. Of course we all had on life jackets, but the thought of being thrown off a tube in the middle of the ocean did not sit very well with me.

We went in groups of three, as I watched the first group go I'm not sure it helped or hurt my decision to go even more. Everyone stayed on the tube the entire time and when they got off they looked like they had a really good time. My group was next, and as much as I wanted to run the other way my feet only moved toward the edge of the dock and into the water. I was so nervous I wanted to just disappear but I was in the water already and I just couldn't turn back now. Seeing Colleen face her fear of heights and jump off the cliff at the Greek Island Hydra gave me the last push I needed to get on the tube.

 My group included Maggie and Haley, we all sat right next to each other. I sat in the middle for extra protection! From what, I am not sure. But it helped me rationalize everything. I barely got a good grip on the handle before the boat took off and we were being pulled across the water. I closed my eyes and screamed for about the first three minutes of the ride, but my teammates convinced me to open them. As soon as I did we hit a large wave and all three of us bounced up and down over and over again holding on very tightly. The water was salty and splashed in my face and my first instinct was to wipe it off but my hand wouldn't let go of the handle so my eyes just had to burn. After about five minutes, I really started to enjoy the ride. I couldn't stop laughing as we were bouncing on the tube. As much as I wanted to control my body I couldn't. Haley decided to get on her knees as the raft was moving so I followed. After about 2 waves, I was back sitting down. It was a good try but I wasn't ready for that, maybe next time. When the ride was over I wanted to jump up and down and say "LET'S DO IT AGAIN"! This by far was the most memorable moment for me. It was a great way to end the trip and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

After tubing we showered, ate pregame meal and then headed to our final game. Our focuses for the game were again our defensive ball pressure, denial, and communication, as well as our transition offense. We forced a lot of turnovers and won by almost 70 points. That win made us 3-0 for our European trip, which is a great springboard into our pre-season training and practice.

 Overall, this has been a trip that we all will remember for a lifetime. I am glad this is the team I am a part of. I am truly proud to be a Redhawk.


We would like to thank Elaine Hieber, Dave and Nancy Tickel, Don and Jane Kelly and Mike and Carolyn Cifuentes  for their financial donations and all of their continued support throughout the years.

Note: This is the final journal entry for Miami's trip. The RedHawks leave Athens International Airport Wednesday morning for New York's JFK airport. After a short layover, Miami will reach Cincinnati in the evening. There will be a final post-trip report posted by junior guard Courtney Osborn on Thursday. With the report will be a video featuring all of the players discussing their top highlights of the trip. A bonus photo gallery of pictures not released in the daily photo galleries will be published on Saturday.