BRISBANE- The Tigers have arrived in Australia! Day 1 is set to begin, though it is technically Day 2. We departed Atlanta on Saturday, but the combination of almost 20 hours of flight time and crossing the International Date Line we landed in Brisbane just before 5 a.m., Monday (even though it is still Sunday for you guys back in Auburn).
We are still here in the airport, though. Only about half of everyone's bags made the trip across, so we are waiting for them to fill out their paperwork and see where their stuff is. We do have a nice view from the waiting area here at the international terminal with lots of palm trees lining the outside. We were just able to watch the sun rise on Australia from our comfy seat here.
Once we left Atlanta, we had a layover in Dallas. From Dallas, it was a 16-hour flight over to Brisbane. Everyone split their time up on the flight either sleeping or watching movies and TV shows. The plane had TVs built into the headrests and had a great variety of shows and movies (but, I guess that is essential when you specialize in cross-Pacific flights).
It was also a balmy 45 degrees out when we landed. It is Winter here in Australia, so we can expect highs in the low 70s and lows in the mid 40s during our time here.
9:30 a.m. - We finally made it to the hotel and were able to enjoy the great breakfast buffet. Not all the rooms are ready so everyone is hanging out and planning out their day. The beach, called "Surfer's Paradise" is just a few blocks away from our hotel. There are plenty of shops and restaurants in the area. There are also some waterparks and amusement parks that some are planning trips to.
On the drive in from the airport, we saw a whale just off the coast. It was blowing water out through its blowhole and it looked as if it was a mother with her calf alongside her. This is a heavy migration season for whales and some of us, including a good bit of the staff, are planning to go on a whale-watching trip this afternoon before meeting back up with the team for dinner.
9 p.m. - What an exhausting day! For a team and staff that is sleep-deprived after the long trip over to Australia, we did not waste much time once arriving at the hotel. Almost everyone got changed and headed down to the beach, using our tour representative Brad as a guide. Everyone was able to experience "Surfer's Paradise" Others chose to experience part of Brisbane on their own and took advantage of other sightseeing opportunities in the area.
We re-convened at 6:30 p.m. to head to a little Italian place down the street for dinner. It was good, we all got just enough food to fill our stomachs and make us yearn for our beds. And, on that note, I'm heading to bed. We play tomorrow night against the Logan Thunder, a WNBL professional team. Hope you guys are able to follow along. War Eagle!
BRISBANE- Some sleep last night was pretty amazing. Day 1 in Australia was a lot of fun, yet exhausting at the same time. Landing early in the morning on minimal sleep, we hit the ground running and I believe most everyone passed out immediately after dinner. But, today is GAME DAY, so we have to get ready to play some basketball.
We got to sleep in this morning and had the amazing breakfast buffet here at the hotel again. We have some free time this morning until our pre-game meal. Some are going back to the beach and some are going shopping. But, once that pre-game meal comes at 1:30 p.m., it is all business from there. We will leave the hotel around 4 p.m. for our 6 p.m. game against the Logan Thunder of the WNBL. (Read the Logan Thunder preview here.)
Live stats should be available on the WNBL website, for those of you that would like to get up at 3 a.m. CT, to watch. You can check those out here.). Live updates will also be available on Twitter by following @AuburnWBB.
11:30 p.m. - Back at that hotel after the game. It was a rough one, but it was just the first step of many as we get ready for this season. You can read the recap the see the stats here.
Tomorrow is another day and we are looking forward to getting back on the road and heading to our next destination. Here we come Cairns!
Day 3: Brisbane & Cairns, Australia
August 8, 2012 - 5 a.m.
BRISBANE- Another day, another early wake-up call. Today we depart Brisbane and travel to Cairns. It takes a while to get to the airport here in Brisbane and we have a 9:45 a.m. flight. The good thing is we will make it up to Cairns early enough in the day to be able to get out and enjoy the city some. Cairns is in the far northern part of Queensland and is another coastal city. It has a lot of good beaches, a port and is near a large rainforest. Cairns also has a tropical climate, so the weather should be pretty ideal with highs in the low 80s while still getting cool at night.
We will also shake thing up today and have a guest blog perspective. Junior Peyton Davis, who had a big game against Logan on Tuesday, will tell us all about her day in Cairns.
Peyton Davis Blog
G'day mates! Today was another travel day, we were up at 4:30 a.m. to grab breakfast and load the bus after not getting back until around 11 p.m. after the game the night before. No complaints here though! Most of the team caught up on some Zzz's on the hour-long ride in to the airport, even some coaches snoozed too (*cough cough* Coach Ty).
We got to the terminal after pretty painlessly getting through security. Our flight to Cairns took off around 10 am and we landed somewhere near 12:30 pm. Brisbane was beautiful, but here in Cairns we all feel like we're REALLY in a different country. The mountains and greenery are so gorgeous! Once we got to the hotel we were able to change out of our travel suits- which is one thing I adore about this team, we all loooove to dress well and look nice.
We took to the streets for some pretty intense shopping and to grab lunch. Nicole & I set out for sushi while majority of everyone else had some type of Chinese. I may or may not have bought a few cheesy souvenirs but I feel like that's expected when visiting a foreign country.
This afternoon was probably our greatest amount of free time so far and we enjoyed every minute of it. One thing I've noticed is how blunt people here are. Instead of an "exit" sign, they'll say "way out". Restrooms are just "toilets," and instead of a "merge" sign, it's just "form two lanes". The women also wear extremely sensible shoes. All I've seen are flats or 2-inch heels at the MOST, which is crazy to me because some girls walk to class at Auburn in 5-inch stilettos.
We had to be back at the hotel at 5:30 but most of us made it back well before then, worn out and broke. Some of us took naps before dinner but I couldn't fall asleep so I sat on the balcony (we have a balcony!) and read one of the books I brought. At 6:15 p.m. we met in the lobby to walk to dinner since the weather was so nice.
I'm pretty sure everyone would agree that this was our favorite meal so far. It was true Australian cuisine. When I say "true"- I mean the whole nine yards. I had crocodile and prawns, others had kangaroo, wallaby and lamb. Everyone tried a little bit of everything and it was such a great experience. The food tasted fabulous too!
We just got back to our rooms, and now we have to get ready for tomorrow which consists of snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and afternoon tea. It's a hard life. We're growing closer as a team, improving on the floor and having fun while doing it. I couldn't ask for anything more. War Eagle everybody!
Day 4: Cairns, Australia
August 9, 2012 - 8 p.m.
CAIRNS- An amazing day in Cairns today. We got up early and went out to the Great Barrier Reef, the Agincourt Reef, to be specific. It was unbelievable and everyone had a great time out there. Freshman Nicole Tanner did a blog to tell us about her day.
Nicole Tanner Blog
It's been an AUssie day here in the Outback! To start off my morning I woke up for team breakfast on the patio of our hotel. It was a little bit chilly but nothing tops time with my Auburn Family. It was a very pretty view from the patio of the harbor here in Cairns, not a bad way to start your day.
Following breakfast we headed to Port Douglas to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Boy, was that not the longest trip ever. It toook us almost two hours to reach the Boat to travel to the Reef and then another hour to get there on the boat. The ride there was very enjoyable though as the bus traveled through the mountains on the coastline. The ride on the boat was also a nice cruise through the Pacific Ocean, so that's not bad either.
I was looking forward to seeing whales and other animals and I did get a glimpse of dolphins jumping out of the water. Prior to our arrival I had my mind set that I wasn't getting in to the water because I didn't want to get my hair wet. But then getting there and seeing everyone so excited I decided I didn't want to miss out on this experience.
So as i got into the water there were huge fish surrounding my legs, which scared the heck out of me. I put on my head gear and held my breath and... the sight of the reef was breath-taking. Literally!!!!! I couldn't breathe. I had forgotten that i was snorkeling and didn't breath. It took a while getting used to, but I eventually came around.
We had lunch on the boat and ice cream, because it got PRETTY hot!!! As we were departing the reef heading back to the port the boat stopped and you hear screaming. WHALES!!!! ONE FIN... TWO FINS.... it was a mother and baby humpback whale. The most beautiful sight I have ever seen in my life. I am so blessed to have an experience like this and a chance to encounter what some people don't have the chance to.
Finally, to close out my day we finished with a wonderful team dinner. The topic of dinner was "Old TV Shows"... this had to be the most laughable night we have had yet. And to top it off we went to the underground market. No explination needed for what happened there....girls...money...shopping...SUCCESS!!!!
That's all for now. WDE!!! Have an AUssie Day!!!
Here is a video of freshman Chadarryl Clay recapping the trip to the Reef:
Day 5: Cairns, Australia
August 10, 2012 - 4 p.m.
CAIRNS- It's Game Day! ..... It's also Zoo Day. Today the team got up and traveled to the Cairns Tropical Zoo. There we got to interact with kangaroos and koalas while also seeing the crocodiles. We even saw a crocodile feeding.
We also have a couple videos of Tyrese Tanner and Pascale West checking in from the zoo, you can watch them below. The team is enjoying some downtime right now before pre-game dinner. We play our second game of the trip tonight at 8:30 p.m. (5:30 a.m. Auburn time), against the Cairns Dolphins.
After the game, it is a quick turnaround as we leave the hotel at 4:30 a.m., tomorrow to head to the airport. From here we will travel to our third and final stop: Sydney.
Here is a video of junior Tyrese Tanner talking about the kangaroos:
Here is a video of senior Pascale West recapping the day:
11 p.m. - We Won! Just got back from the game and it was a great one. Cairns gave us a run there at the end, but we were able to hold on and pull out the win. Blanche Alverson had a great game with 23 points and freshman Chadarryl Clay added 20 points. Hasina Muhammad also scored in double figures with 16. The win was Auburn's first in Australia and the first for Coach Flo at Auburn.
Now the fun begins. We have a quick turnaround from here with the early morning airport departure. Everyone got to bed pretty quick to prepare for tomorrow. You can read the recap from tonight's game here.
You can also watch a post-game interview with Coach Flo here:
Day 6: Cairns & Sydney, Australia
August 11, 2012 - 9 p.m.
SYDNEY- What a long day! Alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. this morning and we arrived at the Cairns airport at 5 a.m. for our flight down to Sydney. Pretty sure almost everyone in our group was passed out asleep on the plane the whole want to Sydney. But, the good thing about the early start was that we arrived in Sydney early enough to get to enjoy the day and see some of the city.
After checking into the hotel, everyone got some time to unwind and relax for about an hour. Then we met up and made our way down to the harbor to catch a ferry. The ferry station near our hotel is the main one and is right by the Sydney Opera House. So, we were able to get some great photos of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as we were cruising through.>/P>
The ferry dropped us right by the Sydney Aquarium and everyone broke out to find something for lunch. After eating, we met back up and spent the afternoon in the Sydney Aquarium. They have some great exhibits there, including one on the Great Barrier Reef, which was cool to see as we were just there a few days ago. But, the stars of the Sydney Aquarium has to be their shark exhibit. It was really cool to walk through, especially going through the underwater tunnel where you have sharks swimming all around you.
Courtney Strain talks about arriving in Sydney and going to the Sydney Aquarium:
To cap off the day, we had a nice dinner at a restaurant down on the water with a great view of the bridge and opera house. It was a great end to a long, exhausting, but fun day in Sydney.
Day 7: Sydney, Australia
August 12, 2012 - 9 p.m.
SYDNEY- It's Game Day here in Sydney! We are halfway through the trip as far as games, with two done and two left to play, but are actually in the final days of our time in Australia. We play this afternoon (10 p.m. CT for those back in Auburn) and tomorrow evening, and will head out the day after that.
Today's game is against the Sydney Flames, a member of the WNBL - the top professional league in Australia. The Flames play Auburn today and will take on Oklahoma later in the week. The games are tune-ups for Sydney in preparation of the WNBL season, which begins Oct. 5.
You can follow today's game on Twitter @AuburnWBB. Live stats are available, they can be found here
6 p.m. - Another good day at the gym. Hasina Muhammad had a great game, really taking control late in the first half to lead Auburn out of an eight-point deficit and on to the win. After scoring 20 points in the first quarter, Sydney was held to eight points in both the second and third quarters. Auburn led by as many as 20 before holding on to win by nine. Blanche Alverson had another good game as well, hitting some timely 3-pointers in the second half.You can read the recap here
The win puts us at 2-1 on the Tour with our last game coming tomorrow evening. After spending tomorrow morning at the Sydney Opera House, we will take on the Sutherland Sharks in the evening. The game will wrap up the Australian Tour as we will get up early Tuesday morning to start what will be a 40-hour day for the Tigers traveling back.
We are about to head out for our final team dinner of the trip. Looking forward to another night in Sydney.
Coach Williams-Flournoy talks about Auburn's win over Sydney:
Day 8: Sydney, Australia
August 13, 2012 - 3 p.m.
SYDNEY- 3 p.m. - Last day in Australia, can't believe we have almost reached the end of the trip. This morning we got up and had team breakfast before heading out to the Sydney Opera House. It was amazing! We got to see two of the three theaters and both concert halls there. The architectural aspects and the setting of it were amazing.
Blanche Alverson talks about the team's trip to the Sydney Opera House:
After the tour, everyone was allowed to go do some final sight-seeing/shopping in Sydney. Trying to get in every last bit of the city we can before we leave.
We got together for pre-game meal at 2 p.m. and everyone is resting up now, getting ready for the game tonight. We will leave at 4:15 p.m. (1:15 a.m. CT) and will play at 6 p.m. against the Sutherland Sharks.
Back to the hotel after the game tonight and it is back to the U.S. tomorrow. We will leave Sydney around 1:30 in the afternoon and with the time change, and many, many hours of flying, we should be back in Auburn around 9 p.m., Tuesday night.