D-Bert's Excellent Adventure - July 23
USF Junior forward/center Melissa Dalembert will spend part of her summer of 2008 representing her country - Canada - as a member of the Canadian Women's Development Basketball Team. She will work out with the Canadian Senior National Team until July 15 when the Development Team will head to Shanghai, China to face the Chinese National Team in a three-game pre-Olympic International exhibition from July 18-22.
During her time with the team, Melissa will write a daily blog that can be accessed on www.GoUSFBulls.com. Check back frequently and follow Melissa on her priceless journey.
Melissa missed Canada's first of three games against China with back spasms. Canada dropped a 96-70 decision in the exhibition opener. "The doctor's restricted me from playing," she said in a text message. "I'm hoping to play in the next game on Sunday."
Canada will return to the hardwood for the second game of it's pre-Olympic exhibition series against China on Sunday.
Melissa Scored two points, on 1-3 shooting from the field, and grabbed one rebound in five minutes in Canada's 100-55 loss to Team China on Sunday. It was Canada's second straight loss in the three-game pre-Olympic exhibition series. The two team's will meet one final time on Tuesday, July 22.
Melissa went scoreless in Canada's hard-fought 75-69 loss to Team China on Tuesday night. The game was the final game of the three-game pre-Olympic International exhibition between the two team's. China will now continue on to host women's basketball at the Beijing Summer Games, where they will open the tournament in Group B along with the United States, Mali, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Spain.
July 22, 2008 (Jiyuan, China)
Today (Tuesday) was our last game and our last day in China. We lost but we fought hard and kept the game tight the whole night. We had many players who stepped up and played their roles and we actually did most of the things the coaches told us to do in the game. After the game we took pictures with the both teams, our coaches, and signed autographs. Our coaches were proud of us because every game we played we improved and that's why we came here. To expand our game and developed our abilities. This was a wonderful experience. Everyone in China is so nice and helpful. At the games they cheer for both teams and showed their appreciation towards us. One thing for sure is they love taking pictures. Tonight we are going to a dance hall because tomorrow (Wednesday) we have a 27 hour trip. Our day will start at 5:30 a.m. with a two hour drive to the airport. The Jinyuan Airport which is a one-and-a-half hour drive and then another two-hour drive to another airport, will lead to a 15-hour flight back to Toronto. We will arrive there at 7 p.m. Then I will fly out at 7 a.m. the next day to Tampa. I will be there for a couple days and come back to Canada – to Montreal – for three weeks of intense training. This has been a tremendous trip that I will never forget. I hope that everyone has enjoyed my blogs and photos from China.
July 20, 2008 (Jiyuan, China)
Yesterday we went shopping – again – and three of my teammates bought custom made Chinese dresses which are really beautiful. I decided to buy some tea which made me think of Porche Grant because that's all she drinks. LOL. We lost our second game on Sunday and it was not a pretty picture. But we all learned from our mistakes and feel that we are getting better. Then next day Team Canada and Team China had to leave at 6:30 a.m. and drove one hour to the airport and flew to Jiyuan, China, which was a one-and-a-half hour plane ride, then a two-and-a-half hour bus ride. When arriving at Jiyuan Airport they had McDonald's bags ready for us so we could eat. McDonald's fries taste the same but not the McChiken sandwich. It looks like a crispy chicken from KFC and extra spicy. When we arrived at the hotel we had to go and eat dinner. The presentation of the food was really nice. Since we all like watermelon they carved it in some type of art shape which was pretty amazing. After, we went shopping for the last time because tomorrow (Tuesday) we have our last game and then we fly back to Toronto. So today (Sunday) was a pretty long day for me and I'm about to go watch my DVD's that I bought and fall asleep. Goodnight to me and good morning to you. LOL.
July 18, 2008 (Shanghai, China)
Today is Game Day,
We are playing the Chinese National Team today – the team that will go to the Olympics – and will play them two more times on July 20 and July 22. We had shoot around at 11 a.m. this morning for an hour. It was kind of funny because everyday we have a police escort take us to he gym and everyone takes pictures and video of us. After shoot around we had lunch and then we took a nap. I walked around and saw another DVD place. I bought 16 movies for $23. So pretty soon I can start my movie collection. Then we had a pregame snack and got ready for our game. Unfortunately we lost, but we put up a pretty good fight. The Chinese team had two pretty good post players who know their way around the basket. In fact she is one of the top five post players in China (She is No. 15). Well after the game everyone wanted autographs and pictures. We even had a little section with Canadian fans. Tomorrow we are leaving to go to another city and play the same team again on Sunday. We will watch film and hopefully fix our mistakes and give them a better game.
Talk to you soon,
July 16, 2008 (Shanghai, China)
This morning had a two-hour practice in the worst heated ever. The gym that we were in did not have any air conditioning and it was over 90 degrees outside with lots of air pollution. We had water breaks every 10 minutes to keep us hydrated. Practice was pretty fun. We did a lot of half court competition games and a lot of shooting. After practice we ate lunch and then at 4 p.m. we went to the shopping strips for two hours. It was so hot and humid that we all tried to go to the air conditioner stores. My teammate, Marie-Michelle Genois (Laval University), and I decided to go through the stores around the main strips. I found a DVD store and I bought eight for $6. Pretty good deal huh. LOL. Other teammates found stores with shoes for like $25 and bags for $30. One of them bought a fake Rolex. LOL. It does look real. Then we walked around and saw Chickens that were alive and about to be sold to buyers. Everyone was staring at us while we walked around and laughing at us because we were so tall. Then we all met up and went back to our hotel and ate dinner. I've been so tired because of the time change that I’ve been trying to sleep all day. Well tomorrow (Friday) is our first game at 7:30 p.m. which will be 7:30 a.m. eastern time. So we will have shoot around, watch film and lots of rest. I’m going to sleep right now and I will keep you updated.
July 14-15, 2008 (Barrie, Ontario and Shanghai, China)
问候从中国 (Greetings From China),
The night before we left for China we all gathered in our hotel lounge and played cranium and watched movies. We were trying to stay up as long as we could because we knew we had a 14 hour flight ahead of us. The next day (Tuesday) we had breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and then we departed for our one hour drive to Toronto International Airport. I had a pretty comfortable 14-hour plane ride to Shanghai, China because our plane wasn’t full. So I had a whole row to myself. Each seat had a T.V. which had over 30 different movies to choose from. The flight was extremely long, especially knowing that there would be a 12-hour time change. When we arrived at the airport everyone was looking at us and taking pictures. The airport security got us in the fast lane to immigration and took pictures of us to send to the press. When we got our bags we met with our translator who informed us that we had a three-hour bus ride to our hotel. We were all tired and fell asleep on the bus. When we arrived at our hotel, it was really nice and we felt like superstars. All the Chinese people at the hotel were amazed with our height and they kept pointing at us and saying things about us in Chinese. We then ate dinner which was kind of weird but I brought some snacks just in case I don’t like the food. My mother sent me a slide show of food that scared me, so I bought my own food just in case I don’t like what they serve me (some of the local fare that can be found in Shanghai, China). After dinner we took a walk outside and went to different stores. Unfortunately, I’m too tall to buy any clothes but I’ll make sure I spoil myself with DVD’s and jewelry. Well I’m about to go to sleep. Tomorrow (Thursday) we have practice at 10 a.m. and hopefully we’ll get the rest of the day off. I hope you enjoy the slide show and the pictures.
July 11, 2008 (Barrie, Ontario)
Yesterday (Friday) was a pretty laid back day. We had a one-and-half hour practice and it was basically half court drills with defensive and offensive skill work. We threw in another play and we learned our new zone defense and offensive play which was pretty easy and straight-forward. Then we did a lot of competitive shooting drills which every one likes. After practice we had our core workouts and stretching which made everyone feel better because everyone's body was tight. After lunch we watched our scrimmage from yesterday and wrote down few notes to pin-point our mistakes so we can fix them later. Then, we scrimmaged the under-17 boys which was great because we beat them. One of my teammates – Amey Ogidan from the University of Winnipeg – made four three-point shots in a row which was amazing. Another girl – Kendall Ross from the University of Dayton – took three charges. We were all executing the plays and saw the open person. We communicated very well and we were patient. After our scrimmage our coach told us we will have the day off tomorrow (Saturday). Yes. We are planning to go to the movies and watch Handcock. Tomorrow we will have our individual team meeting before we head to the movies at 2 p.m. and just chill the rest of the day. We all had to write our individual goals by tomorrow and tell the coaches. My goals on offense are: to get offensive boards, be a threat, and improve my ball skills. For defense: box out ... duh ... be more physical, jump to the ball and the passing lane. This time no one blew by me to the basket. Well after our scrimmage we ate dinner and then we watched the junior team try-outs. It was funny because most of them are tall and all anxious to play. It’s harder for them because tomorrow night they are cutting 12 players and we will see a lot of tears. We have bonded with them and they are all like sisters to us. Well my day was nice but I can’t wait until tomorrow when I can basically do whatever I want to do.
July 10, 2008 (Barrie, Ontario)
Today (Thursday) at 11 a.m. we scrimmaged the under-15 boy’s team and let me tell you what, it wasn’t pretty. I was stuck guarding 5-5 guards on defense and I’m sure you can all picture what happened. This kid kept blowing past me like I wasn’t even there. I did block his shot three times though so that was good. I scored nine points including a three from the corner. It was a step back three so I’m stepping up in this world. LOL. The scrimmage went well and we got to run our plays and see how well we handle pressure. The coaches were happy with our performance but we still had to come back a 5 p.m. to work on our mistakes. We did four-on-four drills and half court games up to five. My team kept winning the battles because we were more patient then our opponents. We did individuals drills and then we ended practice with competitive shooting. After practice we ate dinner and then we all went to the conference room and had our traditional movie night. We basically pick a movie to watch, joke all night, and throw a tiny junk food party. LOL. Then we get ready for the next day. Tomorrow’s (Friday’s) schedule is an 8 a.m. breakfast. I really hope it is pancakes. LOL. Then we practice from 9:30 -11:00 a.m. and then core workouts starting at 11a.m. Lunch is at 12:30 p.m. and then video. We will have another scrimmage at 5 p.m. against the under-17 boys. I will be tired, but my day will end early which will allow me to rest longer.
July 9, 2008 (Barrie, Ontario)
Today was a pretty good day. We had breakfast at 10 a.m. and then we held our first Development Team meeting. We talked about team goals, personal goals and our strategy against our opponents that we will face in China. Then we had our one hour core and stretching workouts, and then we ate lunch. The therapist at Georgian College, where we are now, offered us free one hour massages for each player once a week. I had mine today and it was amazing. I had a deep tissue massage which put me to sleep. Then I went and chilled with one of my teammates - Tamara Tatham. We (USF) played against her team (UMass) my freshman year. We then had to take team pictures at 4:15 p.m. right before practice at 5p.m. We did a lot of transition drills, competitive shooting drills and scrimmages. We are trying to put all our plays together because tomorrow we are scrimmaging a men's team to get us ready for our exhibition (trip to china). Then the best part came when I found out that there is a Tim Horton - aka Dunkin Donuts - 10 minutes away. So we went at 10:30 p.m. and grabbed us some sweets. LOL. Well, tomorrow will be a long day as we are having two three hour practices with my day starting with 7:30 a.m. with breakfast.
Aurevoir et a demain,
July 8, 2008 (Barrie, Ontario)
Team Canada held an open try-out which I got invited to on July 2nd. I was among 30 players fighting for a spot to advance to the second try-outs which were going to be held the next two days. First we did ball handling and full court layups to warm us up and then we had to do 17 sidelines (sprinting from one side of the court to the other) in one minute. When I heard that I went in shock, because at school I am used to doing 16 sidelines in one minute and five seconds. I thought the coach was joking but when I saw the guards running I started to try to find a strategy to get through it. Well, it didn't work because I was only able to do 16 sidelines. LOL. I came in second among 14 post players. We then did lots of offensive and defensive drills which was exciting because they were things I haven't seen before. The coach divided us in four teams for us to scrimmage each other for 10 minute segments. They gave each team plays to run and for us to execute. It was interesting because I wasn't the tallest one on my team which forced me to play the three or four position which gave me a chance to shoot a lot and to make a couple of three-point shots. LOL. After playing, the coaches got together and picked six out of the 30 players to attend the National Team tryouts on July 3 and July 4. There were 29 players at camp and only 24 will remain and either play on the Senior Team or Development Team.
On July 3 and July 4 we had practice from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. We basically did a lot of drills and learned new plays, and then we all did a 30 minute stretching session and core workouts. We ate lunch and relaxed until our next practice from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. which was mostly a revision from the morning practice and lots of scrimmaging. At the end of the last try-out day (July 4th), the coaches held meetings with everyone to let us know if we will be staying or leaving. Among the six players who came to the first try-outs only three made it which was exciting. Then, finally on the July 5, we had the morning off. We had 45 minutes of stretching and core workouts and then we rested until 4:30 p.m. practice. Since I've been here I realize that they are really strict about eating healthy and body stretching. We do Pilate's which is almost like yoga. The food that we eat is nothing like I eat at home. I'm really looking forward to the dollar menu at McDonald's because I have not eaten anything greasy in eight days and I can really devour three doubles cheeseburgers. LOL.
On July 8 we had our first individual workouts. My group did a lot of drills, ball handling, post moves, and driving to the basket. The way inside post player's play here is different from what I'm use to. We run a lot of motion sets and set a lot of screens. We shoot a lot of jump shots and drive a lot to the basket. One thing they emphasize is defense. They want us to live low and stay low to the ground when we play defense or have the ball in our hands. One of my favorite shooting drills is called Storm Shooting. They divide the groups equally and, as a team, and we have to shoot seven three-point shots then one player has to make two free throws in a row. If she misses one then you have to shoot seven more three-pointers until everyone makes 2 free throws in a row. What I realize, so far, is that everyone who is here can play basketball and every time we step on the court, things get very competitive. We push each other to our limits and fight for every possession. We are all a family. When someone is down we lift them up. We all have goals so we help each other to reach those goals. Everyone brings a positive energy which makes the time go by much faster. Well that wraps up the days that I’ve have been here. Tomorrow brings a new excited day and hopefully I can find a doughnut shop somewhere. LOL.