ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Throughout the Bulls trip to Anchorage, Alaska, University of South Florida women's basketball Sports Information Director Charlie Terenzio will blog about the trip and the team.
Stay tuned to the blog for photos, videos and updates from the Great White North.
Follow @USFWBB on Twitter for constant updates.
Also, check out a photo gallery from the trip.
DAY 4 – Gameday
After a couple of days getting to enjoy the beauty of the state of Alaska, we finally got to play a game.
We played our first game of the Great Alaska Shootout, the longest running women’s college basketball tournament in the country, where the Bulls were able to hang on to defeat Central Michigan in an overtime thriller.
USF trailed for much of the first half, but battled their way back and took a 37-32 lead into the half as Shalethia Stringfield banked in a buzzer-beater three at the horn.
That is not all the heart-stopping action for the game.
The second half went back and forth with the Chippewas and the Bulls found themselves trailing by two with 2 seconds remaining. Just then, Andrell Smith fired up a three and was fouled with .4 seconds left. After missing the first free throw, Smith hit the final two to force overtime.
In the extra period, Smith and Kaneisha Saunders took over, advancing the Bulls to the Championship game against another team from the Sunshine State in No. 9 Miami.
An exciting game made the day, and it wouldn’t be right to not recognizethe University of Alaska-Anchorage and the tournament staff for a great experience. From the time we stepped off the plane, they have made it an enjoyable experience for the players, coaches and staff.
After the game we went to the Sourdough Mining Co. for another great dinner and headed back to the hotel as the snow began to fall.
The Bulls look to hang a banner of their own in the Sullivan Center Thursday as they square off against the Hurricanes at 8 p.m. EST/ 4 p.m. ASK.
DAY 3 – Alaskan Fun
By the time we woke up on Tuesday, most of us were finally adjusted to the time change and were excited to do some of the great activities that Alaska has to offer.
We got up and boarded the bus where our driver Leeroy took us on a tour to the ocean. We got a great oral history of the state, and eventual wound up at a scenic spot right along the frozen waters. The snow was falling, so when the team exited the bus, the players, coaches and staff partook in a massive snowball fight.
Jasmine Wynne and Caitlin Rowe were the unanimous winners of the fight.
Frozen and bubbling with excitement, we got back on the bus to head to practice. We arrived at Sullivan Arena, the site of the tournament, and were immediately blown away by the tradition, and the caliber of teams that have taken part in the tournament over the years.
We only had about 30 minutes at Sullivan Arena, but we were able to continue practice at a local high school.
After practice we picked up lunch and took the bus to the top of one of the mountains where we had another exciting activity planned.
We were going dogsledding!
Each member of the team got the opportunity to ride on the dogsled, and while waiting for our turn, we got to mingle with some future sled dogs. Standing outside while dogsledding was bar far the coldest any of us had been to this point of the trip.
We then went back to the hotel to get ready for the Great Alaska Shootout banquet.
At the banquet, we heard an amazing story of a University of Alaska-Anchorage alumnus who had been attacked by a grizzly bear, but had persevered through the attack, despite being blind. He talked about his family, friends and doctors (he referred to them as his team) and how they helped him through a tough time, but were a vital part of his recovery and his success post-attack.
The lesson we took out of the whole day was to enjoy the journey we are on, and not to worry too much about the endpoint. We are certainly enjoying our current journey, and look forward to playing the game Wednesday.
DAY 2 – Brrrrrrrr…
Finally got some rest after the long flight from Tampa to Anchorage yesterday, and woke up to conditions a little different from what we are used to in Tampa. Lots of snow and cold wind, but Alaska is beautiful!
One thing that takes getting used to is the limited sun light they have up here during the winter months. The sun peaked over the clouds a little after 9 a.m. this morning only to move behind some snow clouds.
We left the hotel and went to eat lunch at Firetap, which had some great sandwiches and the team ordered enough hot chocolate to keep warm.
Off to practice now to get ready for Central Michigan on Wednesday. Catch up with you later.
DAY 1 – Hello Alaska!
We arrived in Anchorage late Monday night/Tuesday morning. It is hard to differentiate between the two after the time change flying all the way to Alaska. We left Tampa a little after 5 p.m., had a layover in Phoenix and landed in Anchorage at about 12:45 a.m. local time, or about 4:45 a.m. Tampa time.
Despite the long flight, and the late hours, the team woke right up once we walked outside the airport. We were hit with balmy 9 degree temperatures, and for a bunch of people living in Florida THAT IS COLD!
After a short, but beautiful, drive to the hotel, we all called it a night.
Looking forward to the rest of the trip. Stay tuned here for pictures and updates from Anchorage.