March 15, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Each day this week, a member of the Navy women's basketball team will chronicle their thoughts for NavySports.com in Navy's run-up to the NCAA Tournament. Today, Chloe Stapleton writes about being part of her first and Navy's second NCAA Tournament team.
"Hello, everyone. Are you ready to go dancing with NWB? It has been a great season and we are super excited to be playing Maryland in the first round.
"Looking back, the team prepared us in the preseason by allowing the freshman, including myself, to ask the upper class what the NCAA tournament was like. Kara Pollinger summed up the sentiments the best: "The most amazing feeling ever, there is nothing like it." The consensus was in. There were no if's, and's, or but's, we were going back to the tournament. The craving was strong and we had found our goal for the season. Now, we just had to achieve it.
"For our season opener at Navy I was excited to put on my uniform for the first time ever. Before going on the court to face Richmond, I sang "Go Mighty Navy" with the team for the first time. I stood next to Sam Himlin and Alissa Kain and we were excited and yelling. It felt awesome. The team made me feel comfortable out on the floor; I was nervous but they made me feel like it was almost just another practice drill. The team had such faith in me that I had faith in myself. Even as a freshman I felt like I belonged on the court with the team.
"Our season wasn't perfect yet the thought of the postseason never slipped our minds. Even through the rough patches, we kept our eyes on our ultimate goal: to reach the NCAA Tournament by winning the Patriot League. That consistent mindset helped us sort out any issues we were facing at the time to keep us heading in the right direction.
"Even with the confidence we could make the postseason, I feel privileged that we have the opportunity. It feels great to accomplish a goal we've set since preseason. Since I was little a dream of mine has been to play in the NCAA Tournament. It feels great to be considered one of the top 64 teams in the nation, especially since we are playing an ACC team in the first round. Growing up in Raleigh, N.C., I was surrounded by ACC basketball and to be playing a team from that same conference I basically grew up on is almost fateful.
"At NAPS last year, Alissa, Sam, and I watched the NCAA Tournament game against DePaul. Huddled in our room, we spoke eagerly of our time to come playing for Navy. Since that day, I couldn't wait to take the floor for Navy and to be in the NCAA Tournament. Saturday is the culmination of a year's worth of anxiety, eagerness, and anticipation. I can't wait to take to the court to represent Navy and to fulfill my dreams."