My March Into The Madness

The NCAA Tournament is one of the most popular events in the sports world. Much like the Super Bowl, it has the power to attract the average non-sports fan to arenas and television sets around the country. The only thing more exciting than office pools, cracking the code on bracketology and watching all the action, is being on the court.

As we settle in to enjoy the madness of this month, will sit down with some players to discuss their experience and favorite moments in the NCAA Tournament throughout their collegiate careers. Sure, not every one of them was able to walk away with a ring or Championship trophy, but as youíll discover itís more about being there than anything else.

Today, weíre chatting with guard Ashley Battle, who finished her Husky career with 7.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 1.7 apg, as well some national championship titles.

What was your most memorable moment of being part of the NCAA Tournament?
Beating Loree [Moree] in the Finals. Just joking! She didnít play because of her injury, she says that if she had played, the outcome would have been different. With that aside, the experience is completely different from any other game that is played throughout the season. You are performing on a stage for the entire country who marvel at the art of your sport.

Were there any funny moments that you can remember from the NCAA Tournament?
When Maria Conlon lost her shoes. We had practice and Maria didnít have any shoes.

How did you prepare yourself for such a highlighted event?
Well we took each round as 2-game mini tournaments and it was very important for us not to look ahead. The mindset was to keep the routine as normal as possible, but I feel that it was very important to take one game at a time because there is no tomorrow if you donít take care of business today.

What did you take most from any loss in the Tournament?
Well as you know that didnít happen very often during my years at UCONN. But I can remember the first NCAA Tournament lost my freshman year (2000) against Notre Dame. I was not able to play because of a season ending injury to my elbow. What I do remember was sitting in the locker room expressing my emotions when ďThe FamĒ who was Morgan Valley, Maria Conlon, Diana Taurasi and Jessica Moore and myself vowed that we never wanted to experience this feeling again. The rest is history. The second was during my fifth year against Stanford. I was heartbroken from that loss only because I knew that my career ended with a loss when so many others before me were able to go out with a National Championship.

As a team, what were some of your game day preparations for the tournament games?
Well we tried to keep our routine the same as the regular season. We would get up way to early to eat breakfast, have shoot around, lunch and a walk through in order to stay loose for the game. Everything was loose so that we never felt pressured and always remained focused.

Do you feel like your play improved during the Tournament?
Yes, the tournament was a time that everyone had to step up and play above and beyond their regular season performance. It also helps to have a little luck on your side and I felt like I did.

Did your team win in any dramatic fashion to get a tournament bid?
No, we made sure we took care of business in the regular season so it didnít come down to that

Has there been anything thatís come close in life to the excitement of playing in the Tournament?
Last yearís playoff run.

See Battle and the Liberty in action this summer at The Garden! Season tickets and ticket plans are on sale now. Click here to get started!