Even with the end of the semester approaching for Whittier College, the season will not be ending for winter sports. Over the break, women’s basketball will not have to worry about the cold temperatures that Southern California has to offer, as they will fly to Hawaii on Dec. 16 and will return to Whittier College on Dec. 23.
The Poets will play against George Fox and Puget Sound on Dec. 18 and 19, with a few days to enjoy the pleasant scenery and weather Hawaii comes with. Before the Poets can take off their shoes and enjoy their short break, they will play two games against the top teams within their division. Last year, the Purple and Gold were defeated 60 – 39 by George Fox, and they will be playing Puget Sound for the first time since the 2013 – 14 season.
“The teams we’re playing in Hawaii are top teams, so it’ll give us a chance to compete and learn from the games [and] help us as we move on with our season,” said second-year Guard Daisy Cardenas. “I’m super excited. I know a bunch of us have never been, so it will be nice to experience this,” said second-year Guard Teani White. “At the same time, we have to remember that it is a business trip first.”
Head Coach Roy Dow made this trip to Hawaii for his team possible by having the team fundraise. “We [had] to raise money for this trip,” said White. “Each player was responsible for finding at least 15 family friends who were willing to donate and help us raise enough money to be able to not only go to Hawaii, but also take advantage of certain events that can enhance our team chemistry and allow us to have a more complete Hawaii experience.”
During last year’s spring break from March 16 – 25, Women’s Soccer had the opportunity to venture abroad to Spain, where they explored the cities of Barcelona and Madrid. For any team that wishes to travel abroad, it would be up to their head coach to plan everything — from the flight there and back, to hotel bookings, and any extracurricular activities they would do. “Coaches do like to travel out of state every other year, or at least one every three years,” said Associate Athletic Director for Communications Lance Franey. “[It] depends [on] how much they can fundraise for the trip.”
Before enjoying the beauties Hawaii has to offer, the team will need to play against top-contending teams within the National Collegiate Athletic Association. “I think, as a team, everyone will be excited at first — of course; cause this is a huge first trip for us — but I think it is important that we remember why we are going there, and that we bring the same level of energy and togetherness that we’ve been displaying for these games,” said White. “After our two games, though, I think we all will take advantage of this mental break and being done with finals and just be able to relax, bond, and enjoy our surroundings.” However, there will be more games as the season progresses.
After competing against the two teams, Whittier will have two to three days to enjoy Hawaii and relax before coming back for the chance to make noise in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), with the goal of reaching the SCIAC postseason tournament. Not many people could say they went on a trip to Hawaii, so it is best to run in the sand and enjoy the memories spent with those who you are around. “While we’re in Hawaii, we have practice and obviously games, but we plan to go to Pearl Harbor,” said Cardenas. “Hopefully, we go zip-lining, because that’s something that we talked about possibly doing — and, of course, [go to] the beach!”
With a team that has been off to the strongest start to a season they have had yet, the team has formed good chemistry. “This will definitely help with team chemistry because we’re going to be with each other literally [every day]. We are going to [get to] be able to know more about each other by just being in the same room overnight.” said Cardenas. “I would say we are a pretty close team because we get along so well, but it can always be better. “By improving our chemistry, we’ll also be able to trust each other more and have the ability to perform better on the court,” said Cardenas. “A lot of girls on our team have a unique personality and are so funny. I do not know if we are going to be able to rest.
Women’s basketball will return from their trip on Dec. 23 and will begin a two-game homestead as they host the Holiday Inn La Mirada Purple and Gold Poet Classic. They will play against Brooklyn College at 3 p.m. on Dec. 28, and on Dec. 29 at 3 p.m. they will play against Illinois Wesleyan University.