Well, as most of you know round one of the playoffs has come and gone. The last few weeks have been some of the most nerve racking but exciting weeks of my life. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to share it with those closest to me and I’m loving every minute of it. For the first time, my mom and sisters have been able to experience post season play and my nephew is more or less our little mascot.
As a team we didn’t necessarily finish off the regular season the way we wanted. In order to claim home court advantage we needed to win our last three games. We pulled out the win at home against Tulsa but took a beating to Seattle on their home court. Upon losing that game we had now dropped to third in the conference and finished off the season with a loss to Minny. If you ask me that wasn’t a very good way to prepare for the playoffs. After a day of rest it was time to get back to work and get ready for the first round of the playoffs against Seattle…AGAIN! We would start off the series at Key Arena in front of their loud and rowdy fans. Seattle had only lost two games in two seasons so it wasn’t going to be easy for us to win. Before I knew it, it was time for tip off. With that being said, before I knew it the buzzer sounded and we had just lost by twenty or so points! Seattle came out and beat us physically and mentally. They took us and kept us out of our game plan. From what I can remember, that was probably the worst that we had played all season. As a team we knew we had to go back to Phx and regroup. We would be playing in front of our home crowd and knew that if we dropped this game the season would be over.
To prepare for game two we broke down film and had a players only meeting. We talked about what we needed to do as a unit in order to win. Next up…game day! I must say I was pretty nervous about the game. I knew I wasn’t ready for the season to end so I had to go out and play as aggressive as possible. Needless to say, it worked. We played some our best basketball and pulled out the win.
For some odd reason I tend to play really well when “Mama Pree” as Diana calls her is at the games. It was a must for me to fly her and the crew to Seattle for game three. For those of you that don’t know, my mom is a ride or die Merc and is probably one of the most loud and intense fans you’ll ever come across. Just imagine someone that’s the exact opposite of me! My sister and my mom’s husband get second hand embarrassment sitting near her at games. Lol! Personally, I think it’s great and tell her to keep at it.
Everyone is geared up for game three of the series. This is probably the most nervous I have ever been before a game. I couldn’t take a pre-game nap because of my nervous excitement. We head to the arena and the aura in the locker room was great. I could feel that it was going to be a great game and something told me we were going to win. During the national anthem I looked up and saw my family and our Merc supporters. For me it’s a must that I spot my mom before tip off. The game is under way and everything we didn’t want to happen is happening. Seattle is beating us physically, every call is going against us, and before I knew it we were down 18 points. As a team we huddled up and told ourselves that we had to ignore the officials and pick it up on both ends of the floor (that’s the “mild” version). We cut their lead to nine come halftime. To start off the third we came out with tremendous energy and aggression. I felt like the game was turning into a UFC fight. I’m pretty sure that I speak for my entire team when I say we weren’t going to back down. By the end of the third we had caught up to them. The start of the fourth is neck and neck. With six minutes to go Diana fouls out…noooooooooooo! We finally tie up the ball game and I decide that I’ve had enough and get a technical foul…noooooooooooo! I can laugh about it now but at the time it was pretty intense. Game is all tied up and there are about ten seconds left on the clock. Corey draws up a play for Penny and we execute it to perfection. I thought for sure her layup was going in. It bounces out and all I see are hands tipping the ball around. Before I knew it, the ball is heading my way. I grab it and shoot the short jumper…talk about an adrenaline rush. It was a shot that we work on in every shoot around and I finally had a chance to capitalize on it. Buzzer sounds…GAME OVER! I see my teammates rush the court and I look up at my mom and see her smiling, jumping, and yelling.
As much as I’d like to fill you in on all of the post game excitement, I can’t. It’s getting late and I have another big game tomorrow. It’s game one of the second round of the playoffs. We need to steal this game on their home floor and take it back to Phx. Until next time keep cheering us on.
Championship or bust!