Coast Guard Academy guard Kaitlin Ward is on her way to Rome, Italy today for an 11 day trip with American International Sports Teams to play three exhibition basketball games with other Division III players representing the United States.
The players departed on May 24th and come back home on June 4th. The trip begins in Rome before they travel up the coast and eventually depart from Milan.
Ward started all 25 games this season for the Bears and averaged eight points and 4.6 rebound per game. She was second on the team with 27 assists and 28 steals as the team finished 10-15 overall and 8-10 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). The Bears qualified for the NEWMAC tournament for the first time since the 2009-'10 season.
We will keep you updated on Kaitlin's trip a few times. see her blogs below
Since I've last updated my blog the tour has visited Siena, Florence, and The Republic of San Marino; all beautiful scenic sites with much to explore. In Siena, we climbed the tower of a church to see to a horizon filled with old buildings and fields of olive trees and grape vines.
Florence was a city packed with history, it had a church that took 140 years to build because of the complex architecture, the oldest bridge in Italy and much more. It also had a street market you wouldn't believe, where bartering for an item is a must.
Finally we visited San Marino, a country independent from Italy. It was located on a mountain and the remains of three towers from ancient war remained and are the trade mark of the country. The views of the valley and horizon were breathtaking, especially at sunset. Next we will be visiting Venice on Friday.
We've been playing basketball with European rules this week. The main difference is that there are four ten minute quarters and the team fouls reset. This is because on the 5th team foul the other team shoots two free throws, as opposed to shooting one-and-one at seven free throws and two shots at ten fouls.
The other difference is the paint which is about a foot wider on each side resulting in a bigger area and no three second rule. For free throws, the numbers in the paint must be the same for both teams, so the extra defender that is usually present must be out. The differences don't really seem to affect the play or speed of the game.
We lost our second game tonight 63-57 to a Italian club basketball team. They told us after the game that they are considered one of the top ten club teams in Italy. Turnovers killed our game and the refs seemed to prefer them over us but all aside it was a good game. I ended with seven points and five rebounds.
Until next time, Ciao!
Delay after delay and 10 hours on a plane, we finally arrived in Roma! Straight from the airport we left to see the sites the city had to offer. Jet lagged and all, we made our way to to visit the Pantheon, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters basilica. Of course there was time to squeeze in a little authentic Italian lunch followed by gelato. Words cannot describe the beautiful architecture and amazing paintings that we saw. It took a whole 3 hours for the Vatican City itself. We even got to watch the precession of a mass by the Pope.
We woke up early Sunday to head to the gym to play College Italia. The competition was comparable to the NEWMAC level, however the shortest girl was my height at 5' 6"; they were all tall and lanky and very fast. I played at the post position which was a good experience and ended the game with 11 Points, two steals, and five rebounds. Overall we won the game with a final score of 60-57.
Following the game we had a full day ahead of us, including the Colosseum, Roman Ruins, Trevi fountain, and Spanish Steps. After today we are all beat but enjoying everything that Rome has to offer. Tomorrow we leave Rome and head to the region of Tuscany. Ciao!
May 24th --
CGA Athletics Family and Friends,
Well May 24 is finally here and I'm off to Italy to participate in a European basketball tour representing USA and most importantly the U.S. Coast Guard Academy basketball program.
The tour consists of three teams, two female and one male, each consisting of ten Division-III players from around the United States. We start in Rome, Italy where we play our first game against a local club team. From here, we go north to the region of Tuscany and make daily stops in both Siena and Florence. We will then travel to play our second game in San Marino as part of the Vicenza basketball event on the Northeast Coast. Our final game is played in Milan where we then depart back to the United States.
This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would like to thank the Athletic Department and my coaches for this absolutely amazing experience.
On Wednesday, I was sitting in the stands of Cadet Memorial Field watching my friends and teammates walk across the stage beginning their Coast Guard careers. For me it marks the beginning of my final sports season here at the Academy and the end of my sports career. I couldn't imagine a better way to start off the final year I have left. I'm going to have to put in a lot of work in this off-season in order to achieve the goals I have set for myself. It really is now or never at this point in the game.