UMD Talks Night Before & Court Ahead of National Championship Game

The team had their final practice in Irving Friday morning before Saturday's title game.

DALLAS, Texas.- For most, if not all the UMD players, Saturday will mark the first time they have played on an NBA Court.

The UMD women’s team had their first chance at testing out American Airlines Arena on Thursday.

Here’s what they had to say on the differences and challenges of playing in a different setting.

“Well coach Pearson always stresses to run up and down and get the transition feel. Just so we understand the depth from behind the backboard. Kind of running down too, so you know where you’re on the court. We did that a few times yesterday. It’s a not a huge change. It’s a basketball court, we know it. So no matter where we are we’re going to play our game and we’re excited,” said senior guard Taytum Rhoades.

“Not having anything behind the hoop and just like the big open area is definitely a little different than what we’re used to. It’s just about adjusting to it and finding your shot on the court and just getting comfortable in that headspace is what’s going to help us,” added junior guard Taya Hakamaki.

But more than anything that was on their minds had to be the excitement of playing.

“It’s been a super surreal experience so far. The days are winding down here in Dallas. Super excited to get on the court tomorrow and play our game. We’ve been preparing all week for this moment. We’re really excited to get to it. We have a great scout. So we’re really excited to finally put it all together after a good week of practice,” said Rhoades.

“It’s a super big arena so nerves are probably going to be running a little bit. Our adrenaline is going to be high. But I think once we get going and stuff that’ll cool down a little bit and we’ll just start playing our game right from the beginning hopefully,” added Hakamaki.

The team had their final practice in Irving Friday morning before Saturday’s title game.


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