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Practice Makes Perfect--Sometimes

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Ever wish you could be a big time basketball player? Let's face it, most of us have wanted to do that at some time in our lives--maybe you even played the game. Well, I had the chance to get a taste of what it's like to battle in the BIG EAST Wednesday morning when I joined a group of Cincinnati-area media women to do warmup drills on the court with the U.C. women's basketball team.

I learned a couple of things during that hour: First, I don't have a jump shot. Second, these players work really, REALLY hard.

Representatives from the Cincinnati Enquirer, WLWT, Fox19, Zipscene and bleacherreport.com were part of the "Media Madness" morning warmup, invited by Coach Jamelle Elliott and her staff to meet the players and see what goes into making a championship team. Stretching first, then about 35 minutes of drills.

Some of the observations I noticed, is first, this group is very disciplined. Yes, I know that most of these players have been doing these drills since elementary school. But you still have to know what to do.

Second, there is speed when the Cats take the court. One thing that fans will notice different this season, is that this team will run. They still have set plays and work the half court offense, but they're not afraid to burn down the other end of the court. It's going to be a fun offense to watch.

Third, for someone (me) who came along before Title IX, it is so gratifying to watch these young women have an opportunity I didn't have. I would have given my right pinky to be able to play organized basketball, even at a high school level. We didn't have that chance. The closest I came was our three-on-a-side p.e. class game when you weren't even allowed to cross half court. I'm living through these players' lives and opportunities. And it is so fun to watch.

Fourth, the entire team and staff were very patient with us as we ran into each other during drills, bounce passed to the wrong people and generally slowed down their usual tightly-scripted practice. They were kind, encouraged us, and cheered when we finally made a shot (me again--took me all practice!).

So thanks to Coach Elliott, her entire staff and the Bearcats' women's basketball team. It was a terrific experience, and makes me appreciate even more what you do every week to represent this city and the University. Tipoff for Coach Elliott's first game is Sunday at 7 p.m. at Fifth Third. Come watch the Cats.

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