March 14, 2001
Santa Clara's women's basketball team arrived safely in Honolulu, Hawaii, just before 1 p.m. local time, 30 hours before tip-off for the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The Broncos met on campus at 6 a.m. Pacific Time (which is two hours ahead of Hawaii) and bussed to San Francisco for the five-hour flight. Those sitting on the right-hand side of the plane experienced Hawaii first, as Hawaiian Airlines Flight 11 made a complete pass over Oahu before turning around for landing. Five Broncos are experiencing their first time on the Islands: senior Annie Garrison, juniors Tammy Annas and Caroline Gruening, sophomore Jennifer Bradley and freshman Jennie Rondel. The newcomers share their first impressions of the most exotic state in the union while the rest of the team and coaching staff share past experiences and what's most important on this trip.
The First-TimersAnnie Garrison
On the view from the plane
"It's very pretty. I had no idea the ocean was so many different colors of blue. It's kind of warm."
"I'm excited. It's not much different too far. Out the window, the water was beautiful. It was a great scene. But I'm definitely not getting too excited. There's one thing on my mind and that's beating Hawaii."
"It's very hot and humid, but I like it. I like the ocean outside the window. The waves and the coral runway were cool. Denver is snowing right now, so I might make a few phone calls and rub it in."
"I was expecting to get a lei when I landed. I was a little disappointed with that."
20 minutes later when Bradley received a lei at the hotel
"It's everything I thought it would be and more. I love the lei! It smells good and it's very pretty."
"I'm looking forward to the sun and nice weather."
"Before arriving, I had pictured Hawaii as blue water and lots of beaches and sunshine. I haven't seen the beaches yet except from the air, and they were looking good so far. I'm looking forward to meet the beach."
On first time visits to Hawaii
Senior forward Jennifer Glysson
"The first time I was here in fifth grade with my family. My brother and me didn't like the beach so we didn't have much fun. We liked the pool better!"
Sophomore forward Courtney Cushing (three-timer)
"My first trip here was on a band tour in high school. I played the saxophone."
Assistant Coach Benita Martin
"I came here as a junior while I was playing for Colorado. The hardest part about being here is getting caught up in all the tourism. The coaches were trying to keep us--as much as possible--thinking about business and not pleasure."
Head Coach Chris Denker
"My first trip here was on my honeymoon three years ago. We spent our time in Maui."
On the basketball
"I think most of us are pretty serious about this game and that's our first priority." - Garrison
"It's just a great feeling being in my first collegiate postseason. Any chance to keep playing with our seniors is a great experience." - Rondel
"We'll let them have their fun after they win. We're reassuring them that the fun will still be there on Friday." -Martin
"We want to do both: have fun and maintain a business mentality. "We're going to enjoy it a little bit so that it isn't weighing on their minds. You want to let them go out and see it so they're satisfied. It's also important to get a cultural experience while you're out here, but we're going to put some time restrictions on it. We have a really nice, oceanfront dinner tonight and we'll let them enjoy that. We've talked at great length the last few days about how we're here for a game and it's a "lose and you're done type of game, you're season's over. They all understand that and their prepared to do their best." - Denker
Sophomore forward Julie Butler
"We're definitely here on business. We're here to defeat the Wahine."
Senior guard Kim Sorenson
"I think we're focused on basketball. That's our goal, that's why we're here. We'll have fun if we have time but we want to win the game. That's what's important."
Senior guard Kristin Franklin
" I'm excited to be here because we are playing. Anyone should be excited just to be here but I think it's even more exciting since it's March and we're still playing."
Sophomore forward Kendra Rhea
"We've got our priorities straight."
On the feeling that we're not in America anymore
"I'm not sure yet. I'm going to have to walk around a little more." - Garrison
"It does feel like a different country, especially when they asked us to fill out the agriculture form on the airplane." - Bradley
Other ImpressionsAssistant head coach Jeff Dow (a four-time Hawaii visitor)
"It's slightly humid and warmer than San Jose. There's some beautiful landscape. I've never been here for fun, it's always been for basketball, but one always finds time to mix in some fun.
Redshirt freshman guard Megan Nelson
"I'm looking forward to going into the ocean!"
"Aside from basketball, I'm really looking forward to hitting the beaches in the short time we have on Friday." - Rhea
Gruening, on celebrating her 21st Birthday on Friday
"I'd like to celebrate my birthday knowing that we beat the University of Hawaii on Thursday night while I'm hanging out on the beach Friday morning."