May 22, 2014
Day 4: Colosseum and game one on the final day in Rome
Women's Basketball: The Italian Blog

After two exhausting days, our adventures continued to the Colosseum. On this warm day, we were shadowed by such beautiful arches; walking through these only led to something bigger and better. The history of this place was just magnificent as our tour guide enthralled us with her knowledge. We couldn’t wait to take our cameras out and capture such amazing views

Our day began in the Roman Forum where we discovered ruins that date back to at least eighth century BC. The Forum was a site of triumphal processions, elections, public speeches and markets. There are so many shrines and temples that stood in the Forum including the ancient royal residence, the Regia and the Temple of Vesta along with the Complex of the Vestal Virgins.

It is interesting to see the ruins and how they built up on each other as the centuries have passed. Temples were built up on the spots of older temples and residences up on residences.

Following the forum, we visited one of the most well-known landmarks in the world, The Colosseum or Colosseo. Construction began in 70 AD and was completed 10 years later and it is one of the the largest amphitheaters in the world. It is estimated that it could hold 50,000-80,000 people.

It was an unbelievable experience standing inside of this truly ancient building. Despite parts of it having collapsed in the past, it is amazing how well it has held up for over 1900 years! Our current sporting arenas are still modeled after this ancient building.

Visiting the colosseum was definitely an experience we will all remember.

Evening to Santa Marinella and Game Time
In the evening we traveled to Santa Marinella for our first game of the trip. The arena where we played was not really something we are used to as it was much smaller than most of the places we play during the season.

Before the game started, Santa Marinella brought out an American flag and played the Star Spangled Banner, which was a very nice touch. The two teams had a gift exchange (t-shirts, hats, travel bags) prior to tipoff and after that we were ready to get the game started.

Taijah Campbell shares her thoughts on playing in Santa Marinella:

"There really is something about this place. I don't know if it's the people, the history, the food, their passion and pride, but there's something. And it's something special.

As we all are getting ready at the hotel for our game we can't help but be excited. We are about to experience something not very many people can say they have. Something some of us could only have dreamed about. We have traveled across the world to play a sport that we all love. Counting down the hours, minutes, even seconds until tipoff, the atmosphere is electric. There's nerves and there's anxiousness but above it all, there's love. Love for each other, love for this sport, and love for our countries.

While I sit on this bus, for this hour and a half bus ride, I can't help but notice everyone marveling at the beautiful Italian countryside, in awe of our surroundings - truly soaking everything in.

Walking into a gym full of such generous people, it only confirmed how lucky we all really are.

Hearing both of the national anthems playing, only reminded us all why we were here and who we have to thank for being here. As I glance to my right and then to my left, Im standing alongside the girls who I have grown closest too over the season. I'm standing next to a group of girls that I consider to be like sisters and some of my closest friends. I couldn't imagine having this experience with anyone else but the girls on this team.

I snap out of it just in time, because it's 7:30 pm and it's time for tip-off,

Let the games begin..."

The Hokies took an early 21-8 lead, but Santa Marinella chipped away and cut it to 31-24 at the half. In the second half, Santa Marinella dropped in nine three-pointers and was on top 50-42 with 5:55 to go in the game. Tech responded late though and cut it down to 59-57 with 31 seconds remaining. Santa Marinella connected on 4-of-4 from the line in the final seconds to help secure the 65-61 win. Vanessa Panousis led the Hokies with 26 points while Kelsey Conyers tallied 12 points. Hannah Young grabbed 12 rebounds and Campbell pulled down nine.

The team will leave Rome tomorrow to travel north in to the Tuscany region of Italy, stopping in Florence for a tour including the Accademia Gallery which is home to Michelangelo’s David. In the evening the Hokies will check in to their hotel in Montecatini Terme.

Arrivederci for another day Hokie fans!

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