A trip to New York over Thanksgiving might thrill true parade aficionados.
But TiVo would serve as a good substitute for any Gonzaga University women’s basketball player who needs her fix of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The Bulldogs are instead headed to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for Thanksgiving break, giving the program its first major trip since a visit to the Virgin Islands seven years ago.
Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said his school originally attempted to schedule two games in New York during the Thanksgiving break, but one of the games fell through.
The Bulldogs secured a late ticket to the Hardwood Tournament of Hope when an opening popped up.
Missing out on turkey and stuffing with relatives doesn’t seem to bother the Bulldogs.
“I think that any basketball player knows that Thanksgiving is a team deal,” said Graves, whose wife and three sons are going to Mexico. “We’ll give them five days off at Christmas. We play Dec. 20 and we’ll release them right after the game.”
As luck would have it, the field in Mexico turned out to be deep, starting with today’s 6:30 p.m. game against Missouri State. The Bears won 24 games last year and last week lost by three points to 21st-ranked Oklahoma State.
The Zags would draw either Louisville or Central Florida for Wednesday’s middle game. Seventh-ranked Louisville is off to a 3-0 start.
Gonzaga could also bump into Oregon State or Mississippi State at the tournament. Freshman guard Jamie Weisner (Clarkston) and senior forward ShaKiana Edwards-Teasley (North Idaho College/Lewiston High) play for OSU.
“It’s awesome to get out and get in the sun,” said junior guard Haiden Palmer, who has never been to Mexico despite growing up in Southern California. “We’re playing some great teams down there, too, so we’re trying to handle business.”
“We’re going to have a lot of tough competition while we’re there, but at the same time it’s going to be Thanksgiving break,” Zags senior guard Taelor Karr said. “We’re going to be on the beach and are going to have a lot of free time, as well, to do our own thing and hang out.”