From August 11-22, the LSU women’s basketball team will spend 11 days touring four cities across Spain and playing four exhibition games. The Lady Tigers will take in the sights and sounds of one of the world’s most beautiful countries, while getting game experience prior to the official start of practice in October.
NCAA regulations allow teams to take a foreign tour once every four years. Prior to the trip, LSU spent nine days practicing and took a roster of 10 players across the Atlantic. They will experience a once-in-a-lifetime journey into a new culture while coming together as a team. Follow their experience here on LSUsports.net.
Don’t forget to reserve your season ticket for the upcoming 2013-14 season for a special price of $16 at www.LSUtix.net.
Day 5: Friday, August 16 -- Valencia
Valencia is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Today, the team got to see Europe’s largest fresh market and largest aquarium. In addition, LSU spent time in the center of the city where the Romans founded it in 138 BC. Cathedrals, statues and even ruins back to 138 BC were all part of the tour.
After a few hours, the Lady Tigers then traveled through the modern part of the city and down to the beach. LSU got to see Valencia’s Formula One racing track and the site of last year’s Americas Cup. All of the team took photos in front of the massive and unique architecture of the Valencia Science museum.
A few blocks from the hotel, LSU got in for dinner at 7:30 p.m. For Spaniards, dinner usually comes between 9 and 11 p.m., so the team had the restaurant to itself. More seafood paella and cheesecake made up the fabulous dinner. It’s lights out as the squad will depart for Alicante in the morning and prepare for its third game at 8 p.m. CET (1 p.m. CT) tomorrow against the Catholic University of Murcia.
Day 4: Thursday, August 15 – Cambrils/Valencia
The morning after a victory is always good, and the Lady Tigers say goodbye to Barcelona before making their way down the coast of Spain. It’s a four-hour bus ride to Valencia, so the team cuts that ride in half by stopping at the touristy coastal spot of Playa Cambrils. Mountainous terrain, beaches and restaurants for miles all along the coast, they actually step into the Mediterranean Sea for the first time.
August is one of the largest tourist months for this area, and tourists take photos with the team along the beach. LSU then made its way to Valencia, the third largest city in Spain behind Madrid and Barcelona. The Lady Tigers’ hotel, the Westin Valencia, is just two blocks away from Mestalla Stadium, the 55,000 seat home of the Valencia CF futbol team.
LSU then ate a fabulous Italian meal in old Valencia that consisted of a variety of pastas, breads, cheeses and chocolate cake.
Day 3: Wednesday, August 14 – Barcelona
Nothing better than starting today at the prized tourist site of all of Barcelona, historic Sagrada Familia. The church, which has been under construction since 1882, can seat over 9,000 people and its spires scrape into the sky at over 560 feet. For the team to tour this venue, they must wear pants and they had to have a reservation days in advance. Sagrada Familia is one of the most visited tourist sites in all of Europe and Coach Caldwell and the team were able to take several photos in front of the historic church.
The best part of exhibition play? You get to face the same team the next day. LSU got its shot again against France, and the Lady Tigers worked hard for a 55-52 win behind a solid defensive effort. Read more about the game here.
The team took Caldwell’s stern lesson after yesterday’s game to heart. Even though it was an exhibition game, she expected to see the LSU team that plays from start to finish with unselfishness. “When you have L-S-U across your chest, there is an expectation every time you take the floor.” Everyone contributed in the victory, especially with hustle plays from assists to offensive rebounds. After yesterday’s loss, France and its fans sang the French national anthem as LSU walked off the floor.
Tonight, LSU fans sang the American national anthem as the Lady Tigers walked off the floor when the final horn sounded. It’s a patriotic moment but more importantly, the first taste of a win for this new team. They head to Valencia in the morning and won’t play again until Saturday.
Day 2: Tuesday, August 13 – Barcelona
Hola Barcelona. It’s Gameday. LSU spent the morning taking in the sights of several historic Gothic churches and other monuments of the city. The Lady Tigers visited Barcelona Cathedral, which was constructed in the 13th century. The squad also got to get an unbelievable panoramic view of Barcelona from the hilly terrain of Parque Guell.
It was back to the hotel for a conventional pregame meal and a 45-minute bus ride to a gymnasium on the coast where the Lady Tigers geared up for their first game against a France All-Star team composed of several former collegiate players. Read more about the game here.
Though LSU lost a close game, this is going to be an excited team to watch. They push the tempo and play as a group. The three newcomers are mature and can adapt to the adversity of a game. France held a distinct height advantage with its roster of foreign players. The gym had its one similarity to that of the PMAC with the number of LSU fans in attendance. The Lady Tigers have a traveling party of over 20 people, including several players’ families. The family of Anne Pedersen, a native of Denmark, got to see her play.
Day 1: Monday, August 12 – Barcelona
A nine-hour flight from Miami to Barcelona ended at 9:30 a.m. Central European time (plus seven hours from Central time zone) and the Lady Tigers were off and running in Spain’s second largest city and sight of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, sits on the Northeastern coast of the country.
Nothing better to get through the effects of jet lag than a stop at Barcelona beach on the Mediterranean Sea. For most of the time, it’s their first time overseas and even out of the country. They got their first taste of Spanish lifestyle, including a lunch on the beach that featured seafood paella, similar to the jambalaya that can be found in Louisiana. The beach is also adjacent to the old Olympic Village of 1992 and the team got to see where the athletes were housed. None of the current LSU team was even born when the “Dream Team” won its first gold medal.
In just two days, you can tell this is a very tight-knit team and chemistry will be no problem at all. The three freshmen – Rina Hill, Raigyne Moncrief and Jasmine Rhodes – certainly do not act like freshmen. Hill’s family made the trip from Japan over to Spain. Not a bad trip for a first-time Lady Tiger.
LSU has the perfect hotel location in the middle of Barcelona at the Renaissance Hotel. After a few hours on the beach, the Lady Tigers headed to a welcome dinner at La Tramoia and a Flamenco Show, a popular form of Spanish folk music.