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January 16, 2008

Greetings Blazer Fans!

It's No. 32 Fatiha Salaam back to update you on all that has been happening with the UAB Women's Basketball Team lately. Last time I wrote, I left you all off on a semi-bad note, but I have extremely good news for you this time. We ended our non-conference season with a loss to Mississippi State, but I told you all that we were getting ready to turn this thing around.

We are currently 3-0 in Conference USA and on a three-game winning streak. Our first conference victory was over Memphis. The team and I were very prepared for that game. Even with the lost to Mississippi State in the book, we all knew that we were about to set fire and get focused on getting back on the right track. We did just that by defeating Memphis, 76-63. We celebrated our first conference win, but got back to business and focused the full week that we had ahead of us on our upcoming games against East Carolina and Marshall.

Starting with ECU, I must say that the ladies and I were beyond ready to play them. They put us out of the Conference USA tournament last year and went on to win the tournament. We were all hungry for this win. I guess you can say we were on a mission to get revenge. This game was very intense. We started out hyped up and ready to play, but for some reason we lost all that hype that we started the game with and ended up being down by 10 four minutes in the second half. With the non-conference teams we played and the predicaments that we were put in during November and December, we knew what we had to do to turn the momentum around. We played defense, boxed out and grabbed rebounds. The lead changed several times and we ended up going into overtime with ECU for the third straight year. We took over in overtime, letting ECU know that this is our court and we defend it 24/7, without a doubt. We defeated ECU 84-77.

Marshall was the second weekend game and our last home game before we started a three-game road trip. We knew that we were not going to let Marshall interfere with our focus of defending our home territory. Both teams were 2-0 in conference, knowing that somebody's win streak was about to end. We were determined for it not to be us that got that first conference loss.

Once again we came out ready to play in the first half, but gave up a nine-point lead to Marshall early on. After Coach Smith talked to us and got our minds right, we went back out there and really focused on the task at hand. We played defense and rebounded on the defensive end, but for some odd reason the ball would not fall for us second half. We took a lot of good shots and got the hole at will, but the ball was just not our friend during the last five minutes of regulation. The only good thing was that we got stops on the defensive end, not allowing the ball to fall for Marshall as well. We stayed on 58 points for the last five minutes of the second half and, like I said before, it is anybody's game in C-USA. Marshall kept playing and fighting. The game was tied at 58-58 with seconds left in the game. With the ball in UAB's possession, we just could not finish the game off and we went into overtime for the second straight game.

With all the running that the ladies and I do in practice, we were not tired and we were ready to get overtime started. We were already put in this situation a couple days earlier against East Carolina and we were not about to let Marshall try to get a win on our home court. The crazy thing about this overtime was that we only scored 19 points in 20 minutes of the second half, but ended up scored 21 points in the five minutes of overtime. That's crazy! I guess the ball was on our side in overtime and knew how bad we wanted this win. We defeated Marshall 79-64.

The team has been doing well in conference and we are celebrating each and every win, but we know that after each win, we have to prepare for another opponent. This week we are preparing to play UTEP Friday night in El Paso, Texas. They are also on a winning streak. Friday night, somebody's winning streak is going to have to come to an end. I'm sure that UTEP is just as hungry as we are for this win, especially since we defeated them last year on our home court.

Well Blazer Fans, I believe that about sums up our last three wins. We are playing hard and trying our very best to focus on each task at hand, taking it one game at a time to get closer to achieving our long term goals of being Conference USA Champions and going to the NCAA tournament. I hope you enjoyed reading!

Until next time,

Fatiha "Fat" Salaam

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