May 24, 2014
Day 6: Leaning Toward a great day in Pisa
Women's Basketball: The Italian Blog

A beautiful Saturday morning started when we were welcomed to the day with a scrumptious breakfast. Much like many of the others we have had on this trip, the familiar taste of bacon and scrambled eggs with the odd croissant and pastry adding that slight touch of Europe. The sun was glistening off the windows and through the picturesque courtyard outside of our hotel. Although some were ailed with sickness (readers never fear, only a sore throat and cough were present) we journeyed onward to the lovely city of Pisa.

En route to Pisa a similar landscape to what we had been seeing could be observed: rural areas of Italy along with a somewhat rural-industrial image that would accompany any major city. It was evident that we were in the outskirts of major cities (Florence and Pisa). But enough about Florence as we would learn later (in great detail) during our tour in Pisa how intense the Pisa-Florence city rivalry really is.

After taking history early in my school days, I never would’ve thought that I would become up close and personal with the Leaning Tower. Little did I know I would become lucky enough to travel here and gain such rich and enlightening experiences. The breathtaking architecture of the surrounding buildings and the Basilica could not do any description justice. It was a perfect sunny Italian day although I was a little anxious about walking up the tower. Could I fall off? I hope not!

After checking our bags, we were able to cross the threshold and enter the world famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was a surreal experience. I have never felt so disoriented within the first floor of a building! The lean took hold and the tower took matters into its own hands with a few of us being nearly caught off balance.

Copious amounts of stairs (number I forget) took some cardio and determination as we made it up to the very top! Fortunately there were no causalities in the battle of the angles as walking up the lean took charge even more the higher we climbed. The panoramic view of the surrounding city was absolutely stunning, breathtaking as you could tell with all of the girls stopping for a moment to take it all in. Many pictures were taken to commemorate the occasion as this, for most of us, would be a once in a lifetime experience. One well worth doing and one, I, personally am extremely grateful for.

Later our friendly and informative tour guide, who provided us with the relevant facts and passed on her knowledge about the Leaning Tower, greeted us. She also spoke to us in depth about the surrounding landscape and architecture. We learned that the Tower itself took 200 years to complete, starting way back in 1173. After a plethora of pictures, many steps ascended and then descended, we headed on back to Montecatini Terme to enjoy our pregame meal. Consisting of spaghetti, chicken and potatoes, as all other Italian meals have been, was very palatable and delicious. After the meal we prepared ourselves for the game ahead of us, got on the bus, and set off!

After the game we were invited to have dinner with the Division 1 Italian team who we just played. We were personally asked to join them on the Yacht that the president of their club owned. As the sun set, the scene looked absolutely phenomenal around the harbor. An already spectacular site was transformed into an even better one. How lucky we were to enjoy such a wonderful and memorable experience here in Italy. After too much pasta and tiramisu we hopped back on the bus and headed home after a very special day.

- Maddison Penn #15

Hokies down LaSpezia, 87-41

LaSPEZIA, Italy - The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team defeated LaSpezia, 87-41 on Saturday evening in Italy. Tech took control of the game early, jumping out to the 29-7 lead after the first 10-minute quarter. Virginia Tech extended its lead and was up 44-13 at halftime. Today’s blog writer, Maddison Penn, had 10 points along with Uju Ugoka’s 10 points at the break.

In the second half, LaSpezia never got anything going on the offensive side as Tech continued to control the game. The Hokies recorded 11 steals, including four from Taijah Campbell. On the offensive side, Tech shot 52.2 percent from the field as a team, including connecting on 12 three-pointers.

Ugoka led five Tech players with double-digits, recording a high 18 points while Penn tallied 17, including five three-pointers. Campbell had 12 points to go with her four steals and Vanessa Panousis tallied 11 points and handed out nine assists. Samantha Hill rounded out the double-digit scoring with 10 points. Hannah Young grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

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