Stanford women's water polo enjoyed a busy first full day in Los Angeles Thursday, getting a pep talk from a Stanford legend, touring Staples Center, and being celebrated at the championship banquet.
After arriving in Los Angeles late Wednesday night following a lengthy bus ride, the Cardinal began the day with breakfast at the hotel. Following the meal, head coach John Tanner gathered the team in a meeting room and introduced a special guest, former Stanford basketball star and current Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen. The "Mad Dog" greeted the team and shared a pep talk, encouraging the Cardinal on its quest for a title and sharing some stories of his days playing for the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA.
Another fun excursion awaited the Cardinal afterwards, as the team loaded the bus and headed down Figueroa Street to the Staples Center for a guided tour. The Cardinal got to see the inside workings of one of the busiest arenas in the country, and enjoyed taking photos of the ice hockey setup ahead of Thursday's Stanley Cup Playoff Game 3 between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. The tour closed with a visit to the Nokia Theater next door and a view of L.A. Live.
The day wasn't without business, however. The team put together a one-hour workout at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center, where Friday at 3:30 p.m. it will open action at the National Collegiate Championship against No. 8 Indiana.
Following the workout the team returned to the hotel to get ready for the evening's championship banquest at the Galen Center. All eight participating teams attended the banquet, which featured keynote speaker John Naber, a five-time Olympic medalist. A player from each of the eight teams was also called upon to address the crowd, with senior Lexie Ross doing the honors for the Cardinal.