Hello, Eugene!

Happy Thanksgiving Badger fans! The Wisconsin women's basketball team arrived safely in Eugene, Ore., on Thursday and is ready to get things started at the World Vision Invitational, which begins today. The team had a full day of travel on Thanksgiving, along with quite a few laughs and of course, some great food.

**Check out the photo gallery from our first day in Eugene.**

The day began bright and early when our bus left the Kohl Center at 7:10 a.m. For that early in the morning, the team was relatively awake and very spirited when we arrived at the Madison airport. A group of players decided to play a card game, and while I'm not exactly sure what the premise of the card game was, it required loud voices and repeating the word "hippo" over and over. A card game I've never seen before but I think the whole airport heard it going on.

Our first flight of the day was to Denver, and unfortunately for Jade Davis, we had a very short layover. Jade was very excited to be back in Colorado and told us she lived just about 20 minutes away from the airport. We have a longer layover on the way back so she's hoping to enjoy being in her home state for a little bit longer, even if it's just the airport.

Despite the short layover, a number of players and coaches called to check in with their families to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving... and a few others (present company included) checked in to see the score of the Packer game.

Our flight from Denver to Eugene was a bit longer than the one from Madison and Tara Steinbauer decided to make friends with the flight attendants. Tara, who is anything but shy, chatted with Sarah our flight attendant and even got her to give the Wisconsin women's basketball team a shout out over the plane's PA system once we landed. It's probably a good thing Tara became friends with Sarah because when we were waiting for our bags, Sarah showed up with Rae Lin D'Alie's sweatshirt that she had left on the plane. I know Rae Lin appreciated it!

Once we got into town, the team was starving. Trying to find something open on Thanksgiving though was quite a task. Eventually we pulled into a grocery store that was still open, got some snacks and then went to the hotel to relax a bit before practice.

We were greeted by a downpour when we arrived but even amongst the rain, Eugene is a very scenic place. Our hotel is surrounded by tree-filled mountains and the fall colors are still showing. Not surprising, we saw a few people running in the rain, even on Thanksgiving. Eugene is described as the track capitol of the world and I guess that even holds true on Thanksgiving. Usually on Thanksgiving I eat so much I can barely walk, let alone run!

The team practiced later in the afternoon at McArthur Court, which is the home court for the World Vision Invitational, and the Oregon Ducks. It is a very old building, and according to Oregon's Web site, was built in 1926, making it older than the UW Field House (build in 1930). It's a very unique building that kind of has a high school gymnasium feel, but has four separate levels and I can imagine it gets VERY loud. A new facility is on the near horizon for Oregon as Matthew Knight Arena is projected to open for the 2010-11 season, so this is the final year on the historic McArthur Court.

I have to give the team a lot of credit for coming out and practicing hard after a long day of travel. You could tell the team was really working hard and Coach Stone stressed to the players that we're not here to sight see, but we're here to get back down to business and win three games. The message was loud and clear, but the team did have a few laughs after practice. Assistant coach Ty Margenthaler has taken a liking to Oregon's mascot and has been quacking quite a bit. If Aflac is looking for a new voice for the duck, they should probably call Ty because he has the quack down pat. He also wanted to pose with the Duck pictures on the doors of McArthur Court... check out the photo gallery to see him, a few players and coaches take their photo with the Duck.

After practice, it was finally time for Thanksgiving dinner! We had a fabulous meal that included turkey, prime rib, roasted potatoes, salad, fruit and an apple crisp for desert. Even though the team didn't get to spend Thanksgiving with their immediate family, this was the next best thing with great food and the Wisconsin women's basketball family.

Now it's time to play. Bring on Portland State!