BLOG #1: Time For Practice!

Evi Iiskola

May 20, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Hello Friar Fans!

It has been a little over a week since I left Friartown last Sunday. After two flights and 15 hours of traveling I finally got home on Monday afternoon. The long travel was exhausting but I was excited to see my family and friends. I got a good night sleep and I knew I had to rest because the National Team practices were to start on Thursday. I had couple days to get used to the time difference and get my body moving before the practices started. I practiced a couple times with my old club team in Espoo, and even though I was tired, I was extremely excited. We started on Thursday at 5 p.m. with a team meeting and practice was to follow. We knew we had two practice games against Sweden coming up during the weekend so we focused mostly on our team's stuff [offense/defense].

The plays were the same we had couple summers ago so I was able to remember them fairly easily. It felt great to be back on the court with the National Team! My teammates are so much fun and we really have a great time while playing. My first practice with them was about three hours long and we went through a lot of stuff. On Friday we had a team practice in the morning, where we focused again on our playbook and scrimmaged five-on-five.

After two long team practices I was pretty tired. It is always kind of hard to get used to the long practices and practicing twice a day. We had a shooting practice on Friday evening, where we focused on shots that we typically get from our plays.

Saturday morning we had a shoot-around where we ran five-on-zero and took shots. Our game against Sweden was in Helsinki at 6:30 p.m. Sweden is a very good team and last year they came seventh in the European Championships, which is only one spot away from going to the World Championships. We started the game well and we were playing good basketball considering that we had practiced as a team only three times. We led Sweden by almost 10 points, but then they came back. The game was tied with 20-seconds on the clock. Sweden had the ball and they were looking for their best player to make a play. She got the ball and despite some great defense by one of my teammates she was able to get a jump shot in the air and it unfortunately went in. We lost by two, but we played really well. I got to play a lot but I was still getting used to the pace.



We have a 24-second shot clock and only eight seconds to get the ball over the half court, which makes the game a lot faster. We can take two timeouts in the first half and three timeouts on the second half - so compared to the college game - that means less breaks and more running.

We played a scrimmage on Sunday but we played really badly. We ended up losing by 20 points and I unfortunately had a migraine during the game so I only played five minutes. All and all, it was a good start for the team and we got used to playing with each other again. We are going to Estonia on Thursday to practice and play against the National Team of Estonia. That is going to be fun (and hopefully I'll remember to take some pictures)!

I'll write again after we come back from Estonia next week.

Until then, and as always, GO FRIARS!! - Evi

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