As Notre Dame's European tour reaches the halfway mark, senior guard Melissa Lechlitner writes of the team's trip around Lake Como, as well as its second game and the bonding experience with their opponents that took place afterwards.

Melissa Lechlitner Diary Entry From Europe - Day 6

May 15, 2009

Editor’s note: During the Notre Dame women’s basketball team’s 10-day foreign tour of Europe, senior guard Melissa Lechlitner will file a daily diary after talking by phone with the South Bend Tribune’s Curt Rallo. Following are Lechlitner’s thoughts on the trip.


Today was another fantastic day. We played an Italian team, GEAS Sesto San Giovanni, and won, 78-68. Lindsay Schrader scored 15 points, Natalie Novosel 13, and Ashley Barlow and Becca Bruszewski scored 12 points each.

The coolest thing was dinner tonight with the Italian team right after the game. We all sat with players from the other team. A few of them could speak English. We were joking and looking at each other’s phones, the pictures and text messages. They were asking us all kinds of questions, questions about Barack Obama and why was he speaking at our university. It was one of the best dinners I’ve ever had.

When I played with the USA (U19 World Championship) team, we would exchange gifts, but this was awesome, to sit and have dinner with the team. We talked to them about Italy, how much they play basketball. It’s awesome to get a different perspective on things. I felt so ignorant, because they were speaking such fluent English.

It was one of the best nights for the majority of the team, just the social aspect. And the dinner was excellent, as well. We had amazing cheese pizza and pasta. One of the girls next to me had a huge calzone, which she cut up and shared. Then we had cake, but it wasn’t like the normal kind of cake. It was different. The frosting was different, and it was really, really good.

The game was pretty good. It started out well. We had some ups and downs. Overall, it was a good learning experience. They were a good team. They were better than the French team. Before we came, we thought the French team would be better. This team had good skills and the tempo was a little quicker, and the defense was a little more intense.

This morning, we woke up, and we hopped on a boat and went to a little town called Bellagio. We hit some shops, and then we went to downtown Como and did more shopping. We had our team meal there. We went through downtown Milan and saw the fourth largest cathedral in the world. That was fantastic, and then our tour guide bought us all gelato right before the game. I say yes to gelato before every game. It’s amazing. There are 30 of us, we all got different flavors, and you had to try every flavor. It was so much fun.

The funniest thing of the day was at dinner. We were talking about boyfriends, and one of the Italian girls said she wanted to come to America to find a tall man, and then Erica Williamson said that’s why she came to Europe, because she’s trying to find a tall guy. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. And then they joked about how all the tall guys go for the short girls. It was a really fun day.