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Women's Basketball Blog From Overseas - Day 9
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Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications
Release: 09/10/2011
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Day 9 (September 10)

For our final sightseeing adventure of Senegal we drove to Lake Retba, known as the Pink Lake. The lake is known for its high salt content and fisherman collect the salt from the bottom of the lake and export it. Unfortunately we got the lake on a bad day. The pinkish color is deeper during the dry season, and it's the rainy season now. The color of the lake turns pink when the sun is bright and when there is wind, which stirs up the algae in the lake, and unfortunately neither was happening. Our guides took us to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and we got out to put our feet in the water. The water was amazing, almost a turquoise color, and it was warm. A mini sand safari was next as our guides took us up sand cliffs and then would drive down them, like a roller coaster. It was an unexpected awesome surprise.

We boarded our bus and again had a police escort, this time, into Dakar. At one point we were driving on the opposite side of the road to get around an accident (photos in gallery). We ate lunch - chicken yassa again - at the hotel we stayed at our first night Lagon, where we will also be spending our final night.

Our final game of the foreign tour was at the International School of Dakar. The gym was small with a stage at one end. No three-point lines because the court is roughly 80 feet long instead of 94 feet. We held the lead over the Senegal National B Team and ended up winning 70-65 in OT as the Senegalese made a comeback in the fourth quarter. The officiating didn't go our way, like the first game, and we had some turnovers because of rules we are not used to. Such as no yelling on the court on a breakaway, which results in a technical foul, but the opponent's coach could start yelling and clapping when we were taking foul shots - just odd things that had to make you laugh, which we did. Alex had a stand out game and even had her own mini fan club after the game. The president of the Africa's international basketball program even remarked in his speech at halftime that he had just come from the men's final in Madagascar and he would have picked #5 (Alex) for his team.

"On a preseason overseas trip our hope is two put our team in various circumstances in which they can grow," head coach Courtney Bangart said. "Having to gut out an OT win with a depleted roster is one such example. We've had a very memorable time on this trip and have grown on the court and off."

After the game we showered and had our final dinner at Lagon 2. About half of us couldn't fathom having any more yassa and ordered pasta instead. With a 5 a.m., wake up call to catch our morning flight, we called it a night around 10:30 p.m. We can't wait to get home to share our experiences with our friends and family about this once in a lifetime trip that we took together - as the Princeton's women's basketball team.

Q&A with sophomores Alex Rodgers & Kristen Helmstetter

What is the first thing you want to eat when you get home?

Alex: A burrito from Qdoba

Kristen: Salad

What was the funniest moment on the trip?

Alex: Watching everyone attempt African dance

Kristen: When Coach Banghart fell during the team run. I think she rolled three times.

What has this trip meant to the team?

Alex: We experienced a lot together. We saw everything from the Louvre in Paris to the fishmarket in Senegal. Throughout it all we had fun and appreciated every thing we saw. We played our games very much exhausted but we learned to push through together, as a team.

Kristen: It was a great experience to all get a chance to bond from it.

How have you grown personally on this trip?

Alex: Now I have a greater desire to travel. Africa showed me to be thankful for all that I have and inspired me to keep working hard and to give everything I can to others.

Kristen: I've become more aware of other people's lifestyles, outside of America.

What was your most memorable moment of the entire trip?

Alex: The safari. Tracking a rhino and getting off the "safety" of the truck and being within 20 feet of it.

Kristen: The orphanage because it was a culmination of our trip. There was sadness but laughter and fun because we got to spend time with the kids and felt like we made a difference.

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