Danielle Rodriguez blog No. 2: Lessons learned

I really enjoy watching high school and youth basketball. I love watching the hustle, the fun they’re having, regardless of their talent or age, or whether they’re the girl that plays the most minutes or the girl that just gets in the game because her team has a sizable lead.

There’s something to be learned from every game I watch. It doesn’t matter if you’re the hero of the game, or if, in a sense, you bring nothing really to the game. Wait, that’s the thing: you are always something to the game, no matter how many times you step on the floor. And for (this season’s Utah team), that has been one of our key learning points over the last few weeks.

Toughen up, Together, TEAM. Three key words I think we learned will help take us a long way.

The Bahamas tournament was a great learning experience for us as a team. (In two games at the Junkanoo Jam over Thanksgiving, Utah lost games to Oklahoma and Boston College.) We learned what we’re capable of, and we learned some of our weaknesses. We competed our asses off with top 25 Oklahoma. The first three quarters proved that our potential was there. The next five quarters of basketball (the last quarter against Oklahoma and the next game vs Boston College) showed a flaw—that was, however, easily fixable.

When things get tough, when another team makes a run, when a teammate makes a mistake or misses a shot, or the ref makes a call we disagree with, we toughen up, we get together and we stay together as a team. As one. We never turn our backs on our teammates, no matter the situation. Whether you play 35 minutes a game, or get zero playing time, whenever you’re on the bench, your energy should be at an all-time high. Get excited for your teammates after every great shot, pass, or defensive play.

Since coming back from the Bahamas tournament, we’ve had two great wins and a loss to the team down south (BYU). In our two wins we took what we learned from the Bahamas and ran with it. In our loss we had the energy; we just needed to fix up some more basketball IQ things. We’re learning that great teams are consistent. If we can find that consistency we can be a pretty unstoppable team.

Game of life, with a twist—and shout. Twitter: @alleywhoops

Game of life, with a twist—and shout. Twitter: @alleywhoops