Brittany's Blog

Brittany RayBrittany Ray is in her fourth season as a member of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights basketball team. A Biological Sciences major (with pre-med aspirations), Ray started all 33 games she appeared in a season ago - the only returning player to do so. She led the team in three-pointers with 49 and was second-best in points (10.2). Ray will chronicle the season's highs and lows and offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life as a college student and a student-athlete.

March 27, 2010
It's definitely hard to believe that my final season as a Scarlet Knight is over.  I actually feel like a regular student just going to class and sleeping in until 10 a.m.  Being a senior - I wish we could  have made it farther in the tournament, but actually just making it this year was a blessing.  I know this year was a complete rollercoaster for everyone but I just hope that the underclassmen have learned from this year's disappointments and successes.  The experiences from this year will should definitely plant seeds of willingness, hard work and dedication to each returning player.

I, too, hope I have made an impact on every individual I have come into contact while being at Rutgers.  I feel extremely privileged to have been part of the Rutgers family and will carry on the emblem of the Scarlet Knight everywhere that I go.  I cannot truly put my experiences I have had here into a few words or in this blog.  I just want to say thank you, specifically, to Coach Stringer and all the other coaches for giving me an opportunity to play basketball. Also, I must say thank you to all those in administration who do all the  behind the scenes work and finally, a huge thank you to all of the fans who welcomed  me with warm hearts and have supported me through these four years.  Last but not least, I would like to thank my family for molding me into the young lady I have become.  Always in my heart, Go RU!”

March 18, 2010
Hello California!! I see why it's called The Golden State because when we first stepped off the plane the sun gave us the warmest welcome ever. It is absolutely gorgeous weather-wise here. The plane ride was absolutely exhausting, but thank goodness we had TV's (in each seat!) that kept our attention.  I was able to watch a few games from  the opening round of the men's NCAA tourney.  The Villanova-Robert Morris game had to be one of the most exciting games of the day.  I know my brother Allan (Villanova graduate) did not like that the game was so close, but I am sure he was 
relieved that the Wildcats pulled it out. 

Watching the men's games just makes me more anxious to lace up my sneakers and put on my uniform.  I love  March Madness and its unpredictability – a prime example is Murray State upsetting Vandy at the buzzer! You never know what can happen and anything is possible!  For now we are on our way to the hotel and I'm extremely hungry after the five-plus hour flight! I hope we have something good to eat for dinner, and rumor has it that we're going to PF Chang's, which should definitely appease my appetite!”

March 12, 2010
I know it has been a while since I've written a blog but a lot has happened since then.  I feel that our time at the BIG EAST Championship was well spent making it to the semifinals by upsetting Georgetown.  That was an epic game and the win definitely proved to everyone that we have progressed as a TEAM. That was definitely the way Scarlet Knights play in the post-season.

 I was extremely proud to see my underclassmen step up and flourish under pressure.  I love the excitement and rush of playing in the post-season because so many unpredictable things can happen and truly anyone can win on any given night.

The anticipation of selection Monday is killing me because I just want to know if, when, where and who we will be playing. I am energized to play another 40 minutes, which is our motto for the entire post-season (another 40 minutes). I have absolutely enjoyed my time here playing at Rutgers, but I am definitely not ready to go.  Until we find out our next destination, we will be concentrating on small things in practice that will make a big difference in the future. I'm excited, but very, very anxious - this is my last go-round in my collegiate career and I would like to go out in fashion and make some noise in the NCAA’s!”

February 27, 2010
First off, today was a great win for us and a big confidence booster going into Monday's game against Louisville. We played as a team and finished out the game, something we have not been doing as of late. It's a great thing to just have a long bus ride back to Piscataway with everyone smiling, laughing and talking  - instead of complete silence. 

On a different note, I can't believe that Monday will be the last time I play at the RAC in front of great fans I have come to love over these past four years.  I have been honored for four years to play under Coach Stringer and to carry the name and tradition of the Scarlet Knights. I have grown as a basketball player but more importantly, as a young woman.  Each year presented itself with different lessons and unique experiences that I really don't think I could have experienced at any other institution in the country. 

It has been four years blessed with triumphs and filled with some disappointments, but I have only grown and matured by experiencing both the highs and the lows. I will definitely be emotional on Monday night and will unquestionably miss playing at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. 

Thank you fans, coaches, the entire Rutgers community, my family and most importantly, the Most High Power for making all this possible. See you on Monday. We’ve got a quick turnaround.”

February 23, 2010
Rainy days are the worst days to me because the overall vibe in everyone’s mood seems like that of unhappiness and despair.  The buses and classes each have relatively fewer people on and in them due to students staying in not wanting to be bothered by the wet and cold rain. Our last two games have felt exactly like today's weather - cold, wet, and unwanted. 

As I reflect about what happened and went wrong, I find myself dwelling on past misfortunes, something I should not be doing with only three games left in our regular season.  I quickly stopped my thoughts and realized that the only way we can rise above our despairs is to find that warmth, that desire and that passion from within as basketball players and more importantly, as a team to just play (our game).

 I feel that we – as a whole - need to find a renewed sense of passion to just play basketball, as well as a sense of urgency that the season is coming to an end and we need and must finish off strong.  Many people don't understand or even have an idea of the time and work we put into practicing and to come up short as we have many times this year has been extremely frustrating.  Remarkably, we still continue to receive support and we are grateful to have others helping us fight our battle.  With our enormous support system, we look to turn these rainy days into those filled with plenty of sunshine with three games remaining in the regular season. Hope to see the fans at the RAC on Wednesday when my teammates and I face our 12th ranked opponent of the year.”

February 12, 2010
Wednesday's game against Seton Hall was one of extreme irregularity, but it was a win nonetheless.  The terrible weather (by the way, have I mentioned that I hate snow and also detest the cold) deterred our faithful fan base from attending our game (to those that came, you are amazing!).  Coach Mitchell filling in during Coach Stringer's absence, also made it a little different.  It was definitely an odd day for me to score my 1000th (point) on, but hey you have to take what you are given. 

Coach Mitchell did a great job coaching and showed great poise and showed tremendous confidence in us but nevertheless, it was weird not having Coach Stringer there and I knew it killed her not being there.  I'm definitely excited about playing Villanova on Saturday because it will definitely test our defensive ability and our communication skills because Nova's offensive execution in the half-court is superb.  I'm especially excited to have my older brother, Allan, coming to the game because I'm playing at his alma mater. It's always nice to have my brother come watch me play as I did when he was in college.  With relevance to my blog, this Pitt versus WVU game is a thriller. So I have to go watch the third overtime!!!!! You have to love BIG EAST hoops!”

February 7, 2010
I definitely enjoyed my time in Florida but I'm honestly ready to go back to (New) Jersey. It was good to see Erica and Chelsey – our Florida connection - reunite with their families I've never seen them smile so hard before.  Family is the most important thing people can have and that's what we are here at Rutgers, a big family. 

Yesterday I think we displayed the family mentality in our performance, we stuck together throughout the entire game and pulled out a win finally breaking our three-game skid.  It was a good win for us and hopefully now we can go on a "winning" streak and put a few together in this second half of the BIG EAST schedule. 

It was also a good thing we won because being that the weather has been so bad on the east coast, we were fortunate to spend an extra day in Florida.  Consequently, we enjoyed some free time and a few of my teammates and  I went to the movies last night in Tampa.  We went to see "The Edge of Darkness" with Mel Gibson and I really enjoyed it. It was very suspenseful and a lot of twist and turns (my movie critic take!).  We had to wait for our flight out of Tampa, which was delayed.  However, we are not a team that wastes valuable time so we had a film session to scout our next opponent Seton Hal (in the airport).  This is the first time I have ever had film at the airport but I guess there is a first for everything (Thank you US Airways lounge for the conference room!).”

February 3, 2010
As I sit in my room taking a break from getting my apartment organized and neat, I reflect upon how enormous my support system is.  Everyone has been a tremendous help as I have coped with inconsistent play.  Of course, frustration plays a role in my struggles, but it seems like everywhere I go someone is uplifting me - whether it's via facebook, text message, phone call or even by card.  I appreciate everything from so many people, as does the team.  A loss is a hard thing to deal with but three consecutively is extremely depressing for a team.  

We would just like to give thanks to everyone who continues to watch us on TV, attend games and cheer in the stands.  We know that the storm will carry over soon and beams of light will unveil themselves because hard work never goes unnoticed and we work extremely hard (I promise you, we do :)).  I look forward to getting a change of scenery with the warm Floridian weather and a trip to USF this weekend. It's definitely a nice thing to know Chelsey (Lee) and Erica (Wheeler) will get to see their families.  With those thoughts, I now must return to cleaning my room because it looks a mess with a ton of  papers and gadgets lying around!”

January 29, 2010
The agony of defeat is such a tough thing to deal with when you are great competitor.  After the UConn game, the entire team felt as if we were hit by a tumbling boulder.  Everyone was extremely upset, but it provided us with a major reality check - a reminder that we need to stay together as a team. It looked as if we played as individuals and not as a team versus the Huskies.  Even more so, it looked like we were not having fun. We still have a long list of things that we need to improve on but there is no way we should have lost by that many points.   

The loss stung as much as the loss hurt when I was a freshman and we lost to Duke by 40; just thoroughly embarrassing.  If anything we will continue to keep a positive spirit by straightening our backs and   keeping our heads high because we still have 10 more games left to play.  We are currently on the bus traveling to Washington, D.C. to play the Georgetown Hoyas and last year our game with them went into   double overtime.  Hopefully the game isn't that long tomorrow (smile), but I can guarantee it will be an exciting one and until then I’m going to take a nap on this bus as Dexter the driver gets us there safely and when I awake hopefully we will be in D.C. Hope to see some fans at the game as its three-straight ranked opponents in-a-row for us and we always need our sixth man!”

January 24, 2010
Yesterday was a great win against a tough Marquette team.  I was extremely proud of the way our team played.  Coach Stringer has implemented a new style of play for us in which we try not to run few to any plays at all and just try to get up and down the court.  I think this style of play is pretty advantageous for the team because it allows everyone to play free and from the look of the way everyone was playing on Saturday I think many would also agree.  

Unfortunately, the win over Marquette is in the past now and we have to look forward to play our next opponent, the undefeated UConn Huskies.  They have continued to be the most dominant team in women's college basketball. This is a great opportunity for us to show everyone how much we have improved and to prove to that those early season losses to ranked opponents could have easily been wins.  

This game is one of tremendous importance because of the great rivalry and competitive spirits between the two teams.  Tuesday night is going to be a battle for sure, one much similar to that of the biblical tale of David and Goliath and hopefully we are the victors as David was.  Our coaches will prepare us extremely well for the game as they always do, but it is up to us to execute and play with a chip on our shoulders as we have continued to do.” 

January 20, 2010
The first day back to school went pretty well yesterday, but it usually always does because of the fact that introductions to the courses are the only work being done.  Coach Stringer has given us two days off in order to get settled in with our classes and I have definitely been enjoying my time away from the gym and my time resting in my bed.  It is sad to say this is my last semester at Rutgers and it’s almost surreal for me to think about it.  

These four years have gone by so fast and sometimes I wonder where did the time go. Nevertheless, I am grateful for every day I have spent at this university - everyone invited me with open arms, from my coaches, to my professors and most importantly, the fervent fans.  I appreciate our fans so much because of their indefatigable support and yes, we do practice a lot and do work hard - but our journey is made slightly easier with the fans always being there for us.  We are currently 3-1 in the BIG EAST and I am definitely content with it at the present, but every game in this league is a battle.  We have two tough opponents in the upcoming week in Marquette and UConn.  Each game will be taken one at a time because much diligence and preparation are required to beat teams of their caliber.  My good friend Tatiyana McMorris plays on Marquette so it will be nice to get a chance to see her. 

We get back to practice on Thursday and return to reality.  It would be a great thing for our team if we could get these two wins because first it would definitely boost everyone's confidence level on the team and secondly, we would finally prove how much progress we have made as compared to the beginning of the season.  For now I have to get some reading done for my classes and run a few errands so I can go to the men's game tonight.  They play the Villanova Wildcats, the number four team in the country and my older brother's alma mater.  Oh yeah, Corey Fisher is also another good friend of mine and I'm sure he will put on a good show today, but of course I'm still rooting for the scarlet red.  Go RU!!!!!!”

January 13, 2010
A disappointing loss in Syracuse is followed by a silent bus ride back to Piscataway, an action that could have clearly been avoided with a win.  Obviously, I'm not in the best of moods - but how can you blame me not to be when I played as poorly as I did tonight, shooting 4-of-18 from the field and turning the ball over four times.  Despite my disappointing play, the game was clearly winnable.  The game could have easily been ours but once again we were plagued by fouls and outworked on the rebounding side. 

On a positive note, our defense is getting a lot better and I feel that we are trusting each other more.  Another test failed as coach would say, but as the leader of this team all I can do is continue to walk with my head up and my back straight in order to lead this team in the right direction.  I have my other two captains, Rashidat and Myia, who played exceptional today, on my right and my left to help me lead.  We will continue to push this team and will continue to work.  Concisely, we just have to regroup and look forward to defend our home court on Saturday against the Cincinnati Bearcats.”

January 10, 2010
A great win against a great Pittsburgh team is such a satisfying thing when you are on the road.  Everybody is a little more at ease on the flight back home, instead of sitting in misery and silence (imagine for a moment).  I did not have a great shooting game today and missed some crucial free throws, but my team picked up the slack for me. 

Rashidat had an amazing game and we need to keep her wearing a tight undershirt with sleeves for our games because she always plays well when she wears that.  Myia (McCurdy) and I made a joke about her choice in clothing after the game and she just laughed.  I'm so glad things are coming around and I think our break has really helped us in learning to be a better team - especially on the defensive side. We are now currently on the plane getting ready for lift off and I just pray we do not get stuck in Pittsburgh, this place is way too cold for me (it was zero degrees last night at 11 p.m.)!! You would think that being a native New Yorker, I would be accustomed to the cold but honestly - I hate the cold weather!

Thanks to all the fans that came out to Pittsburgh, we appreciate everything and hopefully we see some of you guys when we travel to Syracuse this week. Let’s go Rutgers!”

January 4, 2010
We just finished our first practice (today) and it went pretty well.  Our next practice is at 2:30 so we basically grab a bite to eat, rest up and then get back at it on the court.  Yesterday, we had a much needed day off (big smile!).  Everyone had the opportunity to rest and just relax for an entire day.  Personally, I slept until 1:30 p.m., which is not something I normally do - but after I finally got up I had a pretty productive day. 

 I went to the gym and put up some shots with a few of my teammates for almost two hours.  It was a pretty good mini- workout because I was starving afterwards.  Rah (Rashidat Junaid) came to the rescue and invited myself and Khadijah (Rushdan) to TGI Fridays.  To let everybody know on Sundays, Fridays has happy hour all day and appetizers are half off.  That is the best deal for college students since we never have any money.  After I indulged myself with food, we all went to the movies. 

Khadijah and I went to see "It’s Complicated" while Rah went to see "Avatar".  Our movie was very good, and I admit I laughed from start to finish. I was probably the loudest person in the entire movie theater.  Overall, my day off was a day spent with fun and relaxation.  Now, our team is playing DJ Hero and Guitar Hero in our locker room until our second practice begins. This game is so fun and everybody should get a chance to play at some point.  It’s now my turn on the turntables, so I'll speak to everybody soon and give you an update on how our break is going as we prepare to face Pittsburgh next.”

December 30, 2009
Another loss, another game we have given away.  I'm really at a loss for words because I cannot seem to understand why we put ourselves in the same position every single game.  We are clearly not a second half team because we continuously play to the level of our competition in that half.  This reoccurring pattern has haunted us in all of our losses this year and will continue to do so if we do not fix this problem.  Our nemesis continues to be turnovers and unforced ones at that, which makes it even more frustrating.

I felt that our practices earlier this week showed glimpses of improvement but the loss tonight at GW does not reflect that.  We practice twice a day now that the break is here and the weeks to come are much needed to get everyone focused on the same agenda and in the same type of mind frame.  Our fairly disappointing non-conference season is over and now it’s on to BIG EAST play so we cannot sulk. It is the time we call our "second season" as well as an opportunity to redeem ourselves.  

Our first opponent is DePaul on Saturday and this year – like years past - every team in the league is high powered and highly talented.  I can only hope that we continue to get support from our fans because yes, we will continue to work hard. We very much appreciate all the Scarlet Knight fans who continue to give up their time and travel many miles to watch us play (like so many did tonight in Washington, D.C.) and I would just like to thank you so very much for that support.  I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and I hope all will have a fabulous time bringing in the New Year and the new decade.”

December 24, 2009
“I'm happy to be home - and for good until Saturday.  I traveled back to school to take the last final of my semester yesterday, Dec. 23. I did not feel like I performed very well but all I can do is wait for my grade to show up now.  It feels great to be around family because I have not been home in so long.  My mom has cooked every day since I've been home (since Monday) and I definitely put in some special requests for Christmas dinner. 

You tell me what you think of this: cornish hens, macaroni and cheese, honey glazed ham and few other side dishes andlLastly, for dessert banana pudding, mmmm.  I'm excited about it but until then I have some last minute shopping to do for a few people and I'm going to make a stop to visit my aunt and two older cousins.  I really do not have a gift list, whatever I receive I am grateful for. I'm just happy I had the opportunity to come home and see my family.  The next time you hear from me, I will have the chance to tell you all what gifts I received for Christmas and how hard two-a-days have been!!!! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!

December 15, 2009
The last couple of weeks of school (before the holiday break) are always the hardest because you are so close to going home for a few days - yet you have to make sure you get all your final assignments done and prepare diligently for your final exams. 

With stress coming from the last bits of school work, losing a big game to Tennessee – like we did on Sunday at the Garden- adds to the frustration. It was evident (by our runs) that we definitely could have won that game, but our nemesis continues to show up in every game: Brittany Rayturnovers, rebounding, and offensive execution. These things have plagued the team in every loss so far this season and I am certain it will be addressed during our Christmas break when we have unlimited hours in the gym.  This time is spent conditioning – both, physically and mentally - with heavy emphasis on those things I mentioned prior. 

Until then, I must focus on preparing for my last three finals to make sure I finish the semester strong and it is off to study hall, I go!”

December 9, 2009
“Having the opportunity to go to college has been such a blessing and just being a college student is something that I believe everyone should experience.  These were just a few things that I shared with Paul Franklin (from Gannett Newspapers NJ), as we sat patiently waiting for my genetics lecture to begin on Tuesday.  Mr. Franklin had the opportunity to spend a day in my shoes to get a sample of what student-athletes go through day-in and day-out.  My Tuesday’s essentially start with a 4:40 am wake up, then off to practice from 6 to 9 a.m. The rest of my day is comprised of four classes, study hall, and a few break here and there with the last class ending at 8:00 p.m.  I hope I didn't wear Mr. Franklin out (smile) but these are the things that student athletes do.  (I never did make it to doing laundry last night).

I really don't think that people realize our schedules - besides that we play a competitive sport.  We practice, we study, we go to class, and lastly, we are expected to perform.  I feel that sometimes people really underestimate our workload and think everything is all peaches and herbs.  That's definitely not the case and I hope the story Mr. Franklin publishes this coming weekend shows the true life of student- athletes- and not just me, it’s the life of all of us.  Nevertheless, we get a great education while playing a sport we love. 

Speaking of basketball, I'm proud to say we are on a two-game win streak and we hope to extend it to three games tomorrow at the RAC.  The team is learning everyday and we continue to develop our identity.  Prairie View is a great challenge for us because they are athletic and quick, two things that will test our defense.  As for now, Go RU! (Congrats to our men for a home win this evening!)

December 3, 2009
“A new day begins, but the frustrations of yesterday's game still hang heavily over my head.  I know you should not sulk in misery from things of the past, but the way the team played last night versus Temple was a total disappointment in itself.  It felt like we regressed instead of moving forward.  There was a total lack of effort, no will to win, and a lack of focus.  Coach always tells us, "to respect our opponent, but to never fear anyone."  We definitely respected Temple, but as a team I felt that we underestimated their abilities and took them lightly. 

I felt embarrassed for the game we put on for our fans last night and sincerely apologize.  The way we play starts with the captains and being one of the three captains on the team, I personally apologize for our performance.  We will continue to get better despite our loss because there is no doubt we can compete with high caliber teams, it’s just a matter of our will and determination.  We have to stay consistent and that is definitely something we must work on.  The team will continue to also stay positive because that's the only thing that will lead us into the right direction. Next journey is Saturday at Princeton.”

November 29, 2009
Paradise is finally over.  No more sunshine, no more beach, but its back to reality and its back to the cold winds of New Jersey.  Our trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands was another fantastic experience stored in my memory box.  I had the opportunity to visit the same place where I first came as a freshman and I think this trip was extremely worthwhile.  My teammates and I had the chance to bond during our activities: we went snorkeling, jet skiing, and up a mountain on a gondola ride.  Every moment spent with my team was special to me because as I said before, as the days go by, my days as a Scarlet Knight also dwindle.

I am still very disappointed that we did not leave the tournament undefeated.  Our last game versus Texas came down a crucial mistake: transition defense.  One crucial mistake resulted in a heartbreaking loss.  I am still optimistic that with a continued effort from each individual on the team in practice that things will smoothen out and we will improve on the areas that need improvement.  I would like to also make note that Nikki Speed and Erica Wheeler did an amazing job in the absence of Khadijah (Rushdan) throughout this tournament.  It just goes to show you that when one of us falls, others will step in and step up to fill that void.  The season is still relatively young, but as with life in that we are unaware of our final destinations and just continue to take the journey. Basketball is the same journey -it is a journey of a group and not just individuals.

P.S.  Happy Birthday (to my roommate and senior teammate) Rah (Junaid) and I'm sorry your entire day was spent traveling! Thanks to the fans that came down to St. Thomas- please know we do not take your support for granted.

November 25, 2009
“It feels so good to be in warm weather for Thanksgiving, but then again I miss my family.  Both Myia (McCurdy) and Rah’s (Junaid) families can substitute for now (they both made the trip) as they have been wonderful in the absence of my family for the past three years now. 

We landed on Tuesday morning, the first of eight teams participating in the Paradise Jam to arrive in St. Thomas. Fun, fun, fun has been the theme for the past two days since we got here on Tuesday.  Yesterday, the team enjoyed an hour of sun-filled fun jet-skiing in the cool and so blue "that it looks like light blue Gatorade" waters of the Virgin Islands.  I had the opportunity to drive the jet-ski this time and had the honor of driving my athletic trainer Lori Uretsky.  The jet-ski instructor (Ramon) specifically said to keep the speed between 10-15 mph, but at one instance I was doing 23 mph.  I swore that Lori fell off the ski because of all the water that was splashing in my face and all the waves I was hitting, I almost went out of control.  Thank goodness I gained control back and she didn't fall off. It would have been hard to explain to her family how I was responsible for the drowning of their loved one.

Paradise Jam

Later that evening, we enjoyed the cuisine of a local restaurant called Havana Blue and although it took forever to get our food (we get hungry very easily with all our hard workouts!)- let me tell you that  the food was delicious.  I had skirt steak with cilantro-chorizo mash and fried crispy onions.  Three words to describe it, Oh My Gosh!!!!!!
Today was even better. After practice and lunch, we went on a short boat ride to the reef and then snorkeling.  Everyone was so excited! We saw an array of creatures, fish, stingrays, turtles, sea urchins and coral reef.  The salt water got caught in my eye a couple of times but hey, you gotta take the good with the bad.  We also had fun jumping off the side of the boat after our snorkeling tour was over.  Nikki (Speed) and Chrissy (Huber) were the best in that department and made the biggest splashes (plus the both are pretty good divers).  We soaked in the sun on the boat on the ride back to the hotel.  Once we returned our fun was halted with study hall (we are students, too, after all) and then had about an hour to relax before dinner. As I write this, we are currently in the gondola, riding up the mountain to have a nice dinner.  I'm so excited, this ride brings back memories of my first time coming to the Virgin Islands as a freshman in 2006.  So far, the Paradise Jam has been extremely enjoyable- we know the fun will stop as the games will begin. (not that the games aren’t fun!)  

After the gondola ride, we amused ourselves by watching a parrot show.  The parrots were adorable, they showed us their tricks.  They played basketball, rode bikes, and even showed us they could add (4+2=6).  We finally ended our evening with a great meal outside with the lights of the Virgin Islands beneath us (breathe deeply and imagine!)  So far, Paradise has been good to us and we hope it continues with three wins! J Check out the photos that our SID Stacey (Brann) has taken! We are camera hogs!”

November 22, 2009
“It does not matter whether you are up by 40 (points), never count the home team out of the game when they have their crowd behind them."  These were the words spoken by Coach Stringer just before the game today in Athens and this was a lesson that we learned the hard way.  A lesson learned with a frustrating loss at Georgia that could have easily been an enjoyable victory. 
 
Yet, we will not hang our heads - we will continue to grow and most importantly, we will learn how to close out games.  I felt extremely disappointed with my overall performance, but I also felt extremely proud of my posts today. They showed up huge.  Mo, Rah, C. Lee and Myia played extremely well today. 
 
I feel and have confidence that once everybody is clicking on all cylinders we will be a very strong team,. Until then we will continue to fix our mistakes and develop as a team.  Please continue to show us your support because without you all, we are nothing.  Also, please keep Khadijah (Rushdan) in your prayers as she suffered a tough fall in today's game. 
 
As coach also mentioned, "There is always a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Unfortunately, only a few make it to the end."  Honestly, I rather learn all these lessons in the beginning so that we will be ready to face any type of adversity so that we are one of the few that still remain in the end.

November 20, 2009
“My deepest apologies go out to my mother, Larnel Ray, for not giving her a much deserved shout-out in my last blog, which was on her birthday.  Sorry, mom - "Happy Belated".  That goes to show you just how busy my teammates and I are as student-athletes that we forget simple things such as birthdays.  I have a few stories about my teammates and them forgetting birthdays, but I'll give them some slack granted that it is 8:20 a.m. and I'm up getting ready to go to microbiology at 9:15. 

Although I'm extremely tired and struggled to get out of the bed this morning, I remember one thing and one thing only, many people do not have the opportunity to go to college so I have to take advantage of the opportunity I have been given.  On a good note, I have a feeling today will be a good day. 

With a victory over BC last night, the team continues to show signs of progression. I once heard this saying, "An enthusiastic heart sees opportunity everywhere."  My teammates embrace this because while critics remain to doubt us, we stay humble, optimistic and opportunistic.  Our motto "JUST US" speaks for itself and when it comes down to it, we possess the key to determine our destiny.  Yet, we must not look so far into the future and take it one game at a time.  The next task at hand awaits us in Athens, Ga.  Our agenda for the day includes a day filled with shooting, film and practice.  Lastly, we conclude our day by supporting our men's team as they play Drexel tonight and Bruiser Flint's kids are some pretty tough kids especially one of my old friends, Gerald Colds.  It will be nice to see him play tonight but I'm a Scarlet Knight and I say RU all the way!”

November 16, 2009
“While our season opener was a little disappointing, the loss also provided a sense of great optimism and encouragement.  The game was definitely a learning experience for the team and actually showed us that we can compete with the best teams in the country. One of the greatest lessons learned yesterday was one that Coach Stringer made extremely clear, "We can compete with the best of the best, but is just competing enough?" 

Coach never wants us to settle for mediocrity, but she says to always demand excellence of ourselves. To achieve excellence in basketball is a collective effort and we have the potential to do just that. We have all the elements to be a great TEAM and now we know what we have to work on to improve and get better as a whole.  At the moment, however, it’s about regrouping and focusing on the next game because there is definitely no time to feel sorry for ourselves.  There is only time to improve and, as coach so often preaches, "it’s not how we start but it’s how we finish."

November 11, 2009
So I just finished taking my second genetics exam of the semester and I'm so glad it’s finally over ( me breathing a sigh of relief). Tests make me more nervous than playing a game in front of thousands of people.  Many may think that's a bit odd, but it’s the truth. Besides the fact that I also have an upcoming micro-biology exam enough about academic affairs and more about the interesting stuff.  

Our  first game is only three days away and honestly, the days have been going by so fast (too fast!).  In fact, I can remember joking with Christine and Mo on Oct. 16, the day of our first official practice of the year, being my last first practice as a Scarlet Knights and in contrast, it was their first practice as college players.  At the time it was pretty humorous, but looking back at that moment it now adds to the reality that my career at Rutgers is gradually coming to an end.  I will deal with that when it comes, but on another note we have been diligently preparing for Stanford.

 Coach Stringer made a statement today that will basically characterize this team's journey this year, "How will we respond to the challenges of adversity?" Adversity has been something coach has overcome throughout her life and on Sunday our first test of adversity comes in the form of the Stanford Cardinal.

November 7
We are on our way home (from scrimmage) and everybody is pretty much exhausted.  Besides that, another happy birthday shout out to Coach Hughey.  Coach Hughey being the only male figure on our staff now has already done an incredible job as a post coach.  He is full of energy and life, day in and day out. 

Unfortunately, his birthday was spent coaching us at a scrimmage today, but hopefully he has an opportunity to go out when we get back home.  The scrimmage was another step to propel the team's improvement. It was good that we had the opportunity to scrimmage another Division I school because it allowed us to see what areas of our game we need to improve on and specifically pay much more attention to in practice. Our next few practices will be used to fix the problems that we have had in our defensive schemes, as well as with our offense.  The small things that Coach Stringer continues to emphasize will also come become extremely important. They always have been because these are the things that are not recorded on the stat sheets.  These are the things that only the team notices and the coaches appreciate.  Thank you for taking the time to read this, but I have some microbio (I am a student, too!) to catch up on so until next time, Go RU!

November 5
As a native New Yorker, I am extremely proud to say congratulations to the New York Yankees for winning their 27th World Series.  From the very beginning of the series, my teammate Rashidat and I were going back-and-forth about who would win, she being a Philly fan and all.  Being the loyal Yankee fan that everyone is so consciously aware of, I stayed up all night watching the game knowing that I had an early practice the next morning, but you only live life once.
So when the Yankees made the last out, I immediately ran to Rah's room and did my celebratory dance while shouting, "The Yankees win, the Yankees win."  Of course all Rah could do was laugh and shake her head and of course, this morning all I could do was bask in my glory about the Yankees winning.

Now, when it was time for practice I had to step out of the limelight and step back into reality.  Coach Stringer is very big on preparation and performance in practice so today we practiced and practiced focusing on minor yet, significant details.  If only people knew how minor details have on the impact of situational outcomes -would they pay as much attention to it as often as CVS does?  Then again, everybody isn't CVS (and that’s why we love her). Overall, everyone is extremely excited and anxious because our first game is only 10 days away, so as Coach would say we are all on "high alert.” Go Rutgers!

November 2
I am excited and nervous about writing a blog. I want to share just enough information to let you -the reader- feel involved; but at the same time not give away too much to make you want to hit the 'x'!  So take a break from whatever you are doing and give a read.

Today was an exciting day, it was ‘55’ day.  The 55 press is one of the most devastating full court presses known to women’s college basketball and is the only press that can be executed flawlessly under the expertise of Coach Stringer (if someone wants to share with her I said this- that would be great!).  I may not be known as a ‘defensive stopper’, but I can tell you one thing if you do your job on the 55 you will look like a million bucks and today for the first time both teams showed much promise of buying into Coach Stringer’s defensive system.

It was so exciting to witness this feat today because last year it seemed like the team couldn’t learn the 55 press no matter how many times we practiced it.  Not only did I have fun playing defense, but most importantly, our intensity and competiveness between the two teams made Coach Stringer smile!  To make Coach Stringer smile is something to cherish because you don’t get too many smiles while you’re on the court because of her intensity, focus, and drive to be the best.   When she does show a glimpse of a smile you feel that you’ve finally done something right and things that were unclear before actually appear to make sense. 

Every day I learn something new from coach and today after three years I finally understand when she says, ‘I want to be inspired to coach and young, enthusiastic, and energetic minds are what keep me inspired.’  She is simply asking for effort, willingness, and hard-work. Today was definitely one of those days in which she felt inspired.

Our team is young and lacks the floor experience that Coach Stringer is used to having, but with each day we gain experience and confidence. I feel that with this team impossible is NOTHING because we are willing to work every day to get better and be the best we can be.

Almost forgot my last thought on my first blog – GO YANKEES!!