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Oct. 26, 2010
By Bill Hass
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The ACC women’s basketball season began its symmetrical journey Tuesday on a day filled with smiles and excitement.
Symmetrical because it starts with media day in the Greensboro Coliseum and ends with the conference tournament in the same building in March. There were smiles all around because of the relaxed atmosphere. And excitement stemmed from the season being close at hand and competitive juices beginning to flow.
“I think it’s an interesting metaphor,” said Virginia coach Debbie Ryan, “because you start the year here in this particular building and then you come back to Greensboro for what is considered the best conference tournament in the country.”
This year’s gathering of 19 players and the ACC’s 12 head coaches was a day for talking to TV cameras and into tape recorders, a day for wearing warmups and participating in a shooting contest, a day for mingling with players and coaches from other teams.
“I think the smiles reflect their enthusiasm,” said Nora Lynn Finch, ACC Associate Commissioner for Women’s Basketball & Senior Woman Administrator. “Having the media day here at the Coliseum, coaches in warmup suits, players in warmups, I think they’re comfortable when they’re in that attire.”
Although some teams have been practicing for three weeks, media day signals the impending start of the regular season. Ryan mentioned coaches and players alike are “chomping at the bit” for games to start in earnest.
“It is very exciting that the season is right around the corner,” said Sthefany Thomas, a senior guard from Clemson. “I think everybody here has been working hard and is excited that it’s coming soon.
“Not having the fans here cheering and screaming during the game, it’s different but it’s a good atmosphere to start off the season with other players in the ACC.”
Finch said the players realize how close the season is.
“They begin to focus on, ‘OK, this really is here. We’re on the eve of playing and it’s time to focus on what this season is going to be. In two weeks we’ll be playing games and they really count.’ It does whet the teams’ appetites and they are really why we play this game. It’s all about them.”
Thomas took part in the shooting contest, which about halfway through turned into a half-court contest because those baskets counted 50 points.
“I attempted one and it was close,” she said, “but I should have stuck to my 2-point shooting.”
That was about the only lament of the day.
Bill Hass is a long-time observer of ACC sports. His career at the Greensboro News & Record spanned 36 years, from 1969 until his retirement in March 2006. He is now writing "Bill Hass on the ACC" for theACC.com. His weekly columns will keep fans plugged in to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
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