Madrid, Spain - August 18, 2007.
Friday was "on your own" day for the Vanderbilt women's basketball team on their tour through Spain. Until the pregame meal at 3 p.m. everyone could do what they wanted, whether it was shopping, sleeping, sightseeing, or simply relaxing after the late-night arrival in Madrid.
And the weather was perfect for it. There's a saying about the weather in Madrid -- seis meses de invierno, seis meses de infierno -- six months of winter in six months of hell.
Last week, before the team arrived in Spain, the city sweltered in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, a little piece of "hell." In the winter, a chilling wind whistles through the canyons formed by the buildings between Gran Via and Puerto del Sol, but on Friday, the air was pleasant, comfortably warm but not too hot, with canopies providing shade across the pedestrian mall.
Then at 5:30 p.m. the bus loaded for the trip to the outskirts of town for the The game took place in the village of Majadahonda. On the ride to the game, the bus passed through some affluent suburbs of Madrid, including the areas which encompassed the royal hunting grounds of Spanish royalty of the past.
All across Spain, "roundabouts" are frequently used instead of stop signs or traffic lights, and this road sign shows the way to Majadahonda.
Once again, the game was in a multii-sport arena in a pleasant residential area, not far from a Tony Roma's Ribs and a Burger King. The gym is closed for the months of July and August, but it was available for this particular game. The officials for the game were coaches from local basketball teams.
Inside, the setup of the gym is similar to the gym from Thursday night - seats for spectators on one side of the gym, a wall on the other, and windows and skylights to amplify the natural lighting.
If you look at the uniforms and faces closely, you'll see that Caroline Williams is in uniform, and Jen Risper is wearing a shirt that's different from everyone else's shirt. Jen tweaked her ankle in Thursday's game, and as a precaution, the staff kept her on the bench. Caroline subbed in when necessary.
By a fortunate coincidence, the national team from Chile was training in Europe at the same time that the Vanderbilt's women's basketball team was traveling in Spain. After five days in Portugal, the Chileans traveled to Madrid, where the two teams met for a game on Friday night.
Fast-forwarding to the end of the game, Marsh led all scorers with 18 points on six 3-pointers (remember, the team is playing by international rules, which includes the international 3-point line.) Jessica Mooney scored 17, Amber Norton scored 14, and Liz Sherwood scored 12 points.
After the game, Head Coach Melanie Balcomb was pleased with the team's effort. After Thursday night's game in Valencia, she had talked with the team about areas in which she wanted to see improvement. "They took it to heart," she said. There was better communication, better defense. "We played a better team tonight than last night," she said, "and we held them to fewer points."
Following are some photos from the game:
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Photos copyright 2007 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com