Hawkeyes in Greece: Bluder Blog

May 21, 2007

The Iowa women’s basketball team holds its final two practices today and tomorrow before leaving for Greece early Wednesday morning.

Below is the first of many blogs in the coming weeks that will be posted exclusively to hawkeyesports.com. First, Coach Bluder shares her thoughts on the trip.

The Hawkeyes are expecting a long travel schedule Wednesday and Thursday and are slated to arrive in Greece Thursday afternoon. The next blog will be posted by junior-to-be Megan Skouby from Greece.

For the most up-to-date information, blogs, photo galleries, game recaps and video postcards, be sure to visit the Greece Central link.

The audio and video are free, but all visitors to Hawkeye All-Access, the multi-media pages of hawkeyesports.com, need to register.

Hello Hawkeye fans!!!

Well, it’s hard to believe but our trip to Greece is finally upon us. I feel like we have an exciting adventure on the horizon and we are eagerly awaiting our departure early Wednesday morning. For many of our student-athletes this will be their first chance to travel overseas and experience a new culture. And, what better way than to share this opportunity with friends and teammates. It has been so fun watching their excitement grow as they learn more about Greece and our trip.

Before we leave on Wednesday, we will have had 10 practices to prepare for our international competition and also implement some new offensive and defensive sets, mainly focusing on defense. This will help us get a jumpstart on next season. We have been pushing the players hard and they have responded with great work ethic. Unfortunately, Krista VandeVenter has not been able to participate in these practices due to her March shoulder surgery. But, it’s been nice to see transfer JoAnn Hamlin and Johanna Solverson continue their progress and development.

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Although Krista won’t be able to play in Greece, she will travel. JoAnn has looked great in practice and we can’t wait to finally see her in game action. We have decided to hold Johanna out of games next week, and also the Game Time League this summer, as a precaution. It’s amazing at the transformation of Johanna from her freshman year. I’m extremely proud of Johanna! She’s had to overcome two devastating ACL injuries to the same knee and has matured into a leader on our basketball team. Her commitment to her teammates is one of the reasons she has been chosen as a co-captain.

Like I said, we have worked our players really hard in practice. My philosophy on these trips is that you use the 10 days the NCAA gives you to practice and get better. When you go on the trip, yes, you want to compete and win the games, but more importantly, I really want them to sightsee and be tourists, enjoy the experience and build team chemistry. Those memories will truly last a life time. To be able to travel overseas with your best friends can be a life changing experience.

Our first stop will be Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city located in the northern part of the country. After a couple days in Thessaloniki, we will enjoy the scenic landscape as we bus down the coast to Athens. We will spend four days in the coastal capital, which will include a tour of the most important ancient monument in the western world, the Acropolis. The Acropolis is a faded remnant of the Pericles’ city made up of Propylaia, Parthenon and Theatre of Dionysos. We will also spend a day cruising 3 of the Greek Islands.

Our three games will all be against the talented Greek National Team in Athens, so it will be a challenge. Our games are slated for May 27, 29 and 31.

This is going to be a memorable trip and we hope you follow our journey on hawkeyesports.com and the Greece Central page. There will be daily player blogs, photo galleries and video postcards to highlight each day’s events. I hope that you will enjoy following the Hawkeyes in Greece and keep up with our team through this web site! Go IOWA!

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