I’m excited about the direction we’re moving in

Duke Photography

Duke started off the New Year with two wins in conference play, over N.C. State and Boston College.

Happy New Year, women’s basketball fans!

The holidays are always a hectic time for us. After our trip to California, Coach P gave us some time off to spend Christmas with our families.

One of the coolest things about our team is the different places we come from. Chelsea Gray and Chloe Wells are both Cali girls -- Chloe from SoCal and Chelsea from the Bay Area. Katie Heckman is right next door in Colorado. Richa Jackson and Tricia Liston hold it down for the Midwest in Oklahoma and Chicago, and Alexis Jones for the Southwest in Texas. Jenna Frush, Ka’lia Johnson, Sierra Moore and I flew back to the East Coast.

Our lone senior, Allison Vernerey, had a 17-hour flight from California to her home in France. Everyone got some much-appreciated time with their families.

Before we got back to business as a team, a few of us got to travel to Charlotte to watch Duke football play in its first bowl game since 1992 (shout out to #dukegang). Duke’s student-athlete community is a pretty small one, and an incredibly connected one. Being able to watch our classmates and friends establish a new tradition for Duke football was an honor. Duke football has been a joy to follow, and they maxed out their season.

We can learn a lot from how they handled adversity, how they played together and got the most out of each other every week.

We have since started back full swing with conference play in the new year. We opened with a tough road game at Reynolds Coliseum against NC State, and shipped up to Bean Town to face Boston College, winning both.

Opening conference play is by far my favorite part of the year. We stay in a grind mode now, with games coming back-to-back quickly, all tough and familiar opponents in venues we’ve played in, and a regular-season championship on the line every night.

I’m excited for our team and the direction we’re moving every day now. This is a really important time for us to start building the kind of investment in each other that makes a team’s journey through the end of the season so special -- 2013 is going to be a memorable year!