March 20, 2005
Knoxville, Tenn. - Saturday started early for many members of Western Carolina's travel party. Pre-tournament meetings to review procedures and touring of the facilities and amenities of Thompson-Boling began at 8:00 am and lasted through mid-morning.
After a quick lunch, the Lady Catamounts boarded up for a trip to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. All of the participating teams have made their way to this "Mecca" of women's hoops while in Knoxville. After watching a quick introductory video -- which did include a clip of Western's head coach Kellie Harper as a player at Tennessee -- the Lady Cats continued to tour the displays.
The highlight of the afternoon had to be the interactive fun that sits on the ground floor of the Hall of Fame. There were three mini-courts and baskets from the missions of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Members of the WCU team took turns dunking on a shorter goal, as well as playing games of horse, etc.
Then, it was down to business. After a 30-minute press conference, the team took to the court at Thompson-Boling for the first time for an open practice session. The squad drew cheers from the nearly 50 people in attendance -- both for the Lady Cats and for Harper. After the open shoot around, WCU practice again on-campus in a closed session in preparation for Sunday's game.