Road trips aren’t easy.
From packing the right shorts, sweatpants and flip flops, it can get complicated.
Then there are the travel delays and missed connections. And, of course, school.
The UA women’s basketball team is playing a rare Thursday-Saturday schedule this week, meaning they flew to Seattle on Wednesday — and, as a result, missed three days of classes.
The Wildcats (15-7, 5-6 Pac-12) beat Washington on Thursday, and will take on Washington State (7-16, 2-10 Pac-12) Saturday at 1 p.m.
As they talked by phone Friday, the Wildcats were witnessing a snowpocalypse in the state of Washington. There were 165 cancelled flights out of Seattle-Tacoma Airport by 8 a.m. Friday. Security was backed up for at least an hour by the time the Wildcats arrived. Things are so bad that Saturday’s Washington-ASU game in Seattle has already been cancelled.
The UA, as of the Star’s deadline, was hoping to avoid a similar fate in Pullman.
“I lived here for 14 years and I never saw it like this,” UA coach Adia Barnes said. “We need this game not to be cancelled.”
Strange things happen on the road. Just ask junior Dominique McBryde, who endured a travel nightmare at her last school.
“We chartered flights at Purdue,” McBryde said. “We were heading to Iowa in a small plane and the weather was terrible. They didn’t cancel the game or the flight. Taking off was one of the worst experiences and I don’t have a problem with flying. On the initial takeoff and landing we were going side-by-side and it felt like we were upside down at one point. We were saying our prayers and hanging on to each other. That was one of the most terrifying times.”
Teammate Destiny Graham also had a scary experience her freshman year in 2016 — though hers came on the ground. She was rooming with former teammate Breanna Workman before a UA game at Cal when they had a paranormal experience.
“Apparently they found dead bodies in the hotel or someone got killed there. They had ghosts haunting the hallways,” Graham said. “Bre was gone and I was in bed. She came back into the room and didn’t have to use her key — she just pushed the door open. She asked me if I left the door open for her. I didn’t. It was so creepy. We both stayed up for a while after that. It was hard to sleep. I am glad we never stayed there again.”
Then there are the funny things.
McBryde’s roommate, UA forward Sam Thomas, has the same bedtime routine and a series of other superstitions.
A small mix-up — like wearing the wrong shoes — can be problem.
“We wear the same size shoe and we had our flip-flops next to each other and we were trying to figure out whose were whose,” said McBryde. “We went to great lengths to figure this out — from which ones were dirtier and which ones smelled like us. In the end I was surprised when Sam said ‘I don’t care’ — because she is a germophobe.”
Then there’s the food. Graham said she’s typically on the receiving end of botched orders. Take Thursday night, when her postgame food order was, well, forgotten altogether. The restaurant apologized and offered a Graham a gift card, which came with its own set of issues.
“I’m not from Seattle and I’ve never seen that restaurant anywhere else. Like, I can use that card,” she said. “It never fails. My food comes last or never comes. It’s always something. I’m so excited to eat and then I go through this.”
- UA guard Aari McDonald is the fastest player in program history to score 500 points in a season, and heads the list of most points scored as a sophomore with 556 in 22 games. She is currently fifth on UA’s single-season scoring list, trailing only Dee-Dee Wheeler (558 points in 2004, 564 in 2005) and Barnes (598 in 1997, 653 in 1998).
- The Wildcats played just one game last week, against ASU. The physical break was much needed.
“It was good for us and our bodies having that extra day off, not having that wear and tear,” McBryde said. “I am happy we split the games. It is a grind especially for the upperclassmen. It’s hard for our bodies as we get older, which sounds funny cause we are young. But, this is the hardest part of the season and it takes a toll on our bodies. It was a good way to stay mentality tough and rest.”
- Tee Tee Starks injured her shoulder against Washington, and will most likely not play against WSU. The injury is not considered serious, just painful, Barnes said.