Women's Hoops: Team retreat photo story

The women's basketball team spent the final weekend of the pre-season on a team-building retreat at a local Girl Scout camp. The media was invited to come out for a visit on Saturday, and VandyMania's Whitney D accepted the invitation. She shares these photos from the day. (Click on photos to view a larger image.)

For years, "Girl Scout Day" has been a regular feature in Memorial Gym. On Friday, the women's basketball team turned the tables and traveled to Camp Holloway for a weekend retreat. Members of the local media were invited to join them on Saturday. It was an offer I couldn't refuse.

When I arrived, there were two activities in progress -- climbing at the "Climbing Tree" and archery. This group had just finished climbing and posed for a photo before heading down the hill to the archery range.

From left: Freshman point guard Merideth Marsh, Assistant Coach Stephanie Norman, freshman guard Ashlee Bridge, junior post Liz Sherwood, sophomore guard Jen Risper, senior guard Caroline Williams, and senior post Carla Thomas.

The other half of the team arrived from the archery range, put on their climbing belts, and learned the rules. Senior point guard Dee Davis was the first to give it a try.

After learning about the "magic knot" and how to move up and down, Dee was ready to begin her ascent. While her teammates were getting started and "learning the ropes", I went to the archery range.

At the archery range, the preliminary instruction was already over, and the first group of archers, including Carla Thomas, were taking aim.

Bullseye! Ashlee Bridge hit the bullseye on her first attempt.

Here's the proof!

Jen Risper had a great first round, too.

Jen Risper and Merideth Marsh

When I returned to see how things were going at the Climbing Tree, it was full of basketball players.

I was told that the coaches had been in the air earlier, but when I was there, their feet were firmly planted on terra firma. From left: Head Coach Melanie Balcomb, Assistant Coach Stephanie Norman, Assistant Coach Lisa Cermignano, Director of Basketball Operations Justin VanOrman.

Redshirt freshman post Amy Malo

Freshman guard Lauren Lueders

Freshman post Amber Norton

Down on the ground, Assistant Coach Vicky Picott and Justin were watching their players, especially Tina Wirth, who had climbed as high as her rope will take her and relished every minute of her time in the air.

Sophomore guard/forward Tina Wirth

D-fense!! D-fense!! Robin Hood and his merry ---- oops, make that Jen Risper and her merry band of archers posed for a photo before they headed back to the lodge. From left: Merideth Marsh, Liz Sherwood, Caroline Williams, Jen Risper, Ashlee Bridge and Carla Thomas.

What's a Girl Scout trip without a s'more? Fortunately, the lodge had a fireplace, and someone had remembered the marshmallows, Hershey bars, and graham crackers -- and Caroline knew how to put them together.

After lunch, Carla showed me her shoe box from one of the Friday night activities. You start with a shoe box and a stack of magazines. On the outside of the box, you put pictures that represent things people know about you, and the pictures on the inside represent things that people don't know. Then each person in turn explains their box to her teammates.

After spending the weekend building team chemistry off the court, the team will soon get the chance to test their chemistry on the court. The first exhibition game of the season will take place on Thursday, November 2, at 7 p.m.

After a second exhibition game on Monday, November 6, the regular season tips off on November 12 in Boulder, Colorado. The home opener will be on Saturday, Novemember 18, when the 'Dores host Dartmouth.

Season tickets are still available through the Vanderbilt ticket office. Prices start as low as $25 per seat. For further information, visit vucommodores.com or call 322-GOLD.

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Photos copyright 2006 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com.

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