The University of New Mexico women basketball team’s excellent adventure to Italy started early Monday morning – with the travel party in line to check in at the Albuquerque International Airport at 5:30 a.m. (or earlier for some of the anxious players) for the 7:30 a.m. flight.
Most of the team – with the exception of assistant coach Joseph Anders, senior women’s administrator Janice Ruggiero and former Lobo player/team strength and conditioning coach Molly McKinnon – were heading out to Italy for the first time ever.
Including players, coaches and essential staff – including a blog writer – the Lobo women’s basketball traveling party numbered 27.
Most of the team dressed in matching dark grey “New Mexico Basketball” T-shirts with red warmups, and despite the early hour of departure, received several well-wishes from several Albuquerque travelers. It’s great to see the excitement for Lobo women’s basketball begin to take shape in August – more than three months before the first exhibition game at the Pit on Nov. 9 against Eastern New Mexico.
Direct flights from Albuquerque to Milan, Italy, are quite rare, however, so the team first flew into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and had a “brief,” five-hour layover. The only hiccup to the initial flight was that one of the players left her neck pillow on the plane.
Luckily, there was just enough time for the player to retrace her steps and collect the pillow, which reportedly was scared but unharmed.
With time to kill, the players were able to sample some of the famous “Southern” cooking at the food court in the international terminal. Then, it was time to break out the playing cards, computers and cell phones
The Lobos are scheduled to leave Atlanta at 5:45 Eastern Time and arrive in Milan at 9:05 a.m. Italy time, which translates into 1:05 a.m. Mountain Time. They are scheduled to arrive in the first city of the tour, Como, at noon, with a walking tour of the city (lunch included) at 12:30 p.m.
Translated for Albuquerque time, the team will get into Como at 4 a.m., and take the city tour at 4:30 a.m. Needless to say, it might take some time to get used to the time change. It’s probably a good thing that the Lobos’ first game isn’t until Thursday at 8:30 (12:30 MT).
Check back tomorrow for the Lobos’ arrival in Italy, when the team says “buongiorno” to Milan.
Until then, arrivederci.