Excitement, anticipation, enthusiasm, innocence, hopes, dreams, focus, determination, hard work, togetherness. You don't need to be a basketball junkie to know what October means. This week is the dawn of a new day for basketball teams across America as October brings the day we've all been waiting for . . . the official first day of practice.

If you've been following Catelyn's Countdown, you will know that tomorrow is our official first day of practice. There is nothing better than the squeak of new shoes, the bounce of new balls, and the glimmer in the eyes of young (and not so young) competitors as the championship quest begins.


For the first time since 2004, the Phoenix Suns are back on NAU's campus. The Suns arrived in Flagstaff Monday night for a five-day training camp in preparation for their 2013-14 NBA season. Under the direction of first-year head coach Jeff Hornaceck, the Suns will hold four closed practices Tuesday through Friday in Rolle Activity Center. The training camp will culminate on Saturday with an open-to-the-public scrimmage in the Skydome at noon. NAU women's and men's basketball teams will be holding "Morning Madness" before the Saturday scrimmage starting at 9:30am. Both teams will participate in basketball skills contests and will be introduced at halftime of the Suns scrimmage.


A favorite poem of many teachers, "They Ask Me Why I Teach" by Glenice L. Harmon, sums up the honor and thrill felt by educators every day as they are surrounded by bright minds, big hearts, and talented souls.

An excerpt: They ask me why I teach, And I reply, Where could I find more splendid company? There sits a statesman, strong, unbiased, wise, Another later Webster, silver-tongued, And there a doctor whose quick steady hand can mend a bone, or stem the life-bloods flow . . .

Bradlee Cotton is a freshman from Denver, Colorado and is double-majoring in Environmental Engineering and Spanish. In a recent class, Bradlee was assigned to do an autobiographical speech. Bradlee presented her autobiography in the form of a poem in front of her class. She was then assigned to present it to me. (See the video below). This year, I am fortunate to coach 13 young women like Bradlee. Where could I find more splendid company?


Our lone senior, Amanda Frost (Riverside, CA) shares her thoughts on the first day of basketball practice: "Everything I have ever worked for begins when I walk in the gym for the first day of practice."


Our goals for the 2013-2014 season:

Win the Big Sky Championship,

Maintain a team GPA of 3.0 or higher,

Perform 150 hours of community service.

Freshman Catelyn Preston (Oregon City, OR) keeps tabs on important dates and numbers for our program. Drumroll please . . .

Days until our first day of practice (October 3rd) = 1

Days until our home opener (Hawaii, November 10th) = 39

Days until semester grades are posted = 94

Days until the Big Sky Championship = 127

Hours of community service performed to date = 52


Thanks for your interest in, and support of, NAU Women's Basketball. Until next week please:

1. Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NAUwomensbasketball), Twitter (@NAU_WBB), and at www.nauathletics.com

2. Wear the Blue and Gold with pride (Especially on Friday)

3. Make it a great week to be a Lumberjack!

Go Jacks!

Sue Darling

Head Women's Basketball Coach

Northern Arizona University