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By Josh Arntz
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tia Gibbs, VU freshman guard, saw the first minutes of her collegiate career last Sunday, Nov. 2, when the Commodores opened their season with an exhibition against Tusculum College at Memorial Gym.
"I was nervous," said Gibbs. "I think when Coach told me to get in I looked at her like, `Huh?'. When I first stepped out there, I felt like I was lost for a second, but then when the ball was put in play I was fine."
Gibbs lit up the scoreboard in just 14 minutes of play with 14 points, sinking 5-of-8 shots including three 3-pointers. The freshman from Louisville, Ky., also grabbed a defensive rebound while contributing a steal to the `Dore defensive effort and dished an assist.
"I think I did better than I expected," she said. "I think on defense, it was a lot of work, and offensively, my teammates set very good screens to where I was open a lot."
As Tia was making a splash in her debut, her teammates on the bench weren't the only ones jumping to their feet when she swished a shot. Spectators could hear Gibbs' family yelling from the seats behind the opponent's bench.
"This time, they did their best to embarrass me," Tia remarked about her family. "That was their goal. It makes me feel like I'm still in high school when I see them in that corner.
"Having them there was very comforting. At first I thought I was going to be more nervous, but on the bench, just glancing up at them, it made me feel back at home."
Gibbs and her family return home tonight for another VU exhibition game against Love & Basketball at 7 p.m. in Memorial Gym. Despite the success she displayed last Sunday, Tia realizes that she still has more work to do as the season progresses.
"I want to get my defense to the top level, because it's not very good right now," she noted. "I feel like that'll help the team more than anything."
The Love & Basketball team will test Gibbs and the Commodores tonight in only their second game of the season. Love & Basketball consists of former, college basketball players, who will challenge the inexperience of younger players. Gibbs, however, is ready for the task.
"I'm still nervous, but I feel like I know more than I did before the first game, which is a lot more comforting. I think the first game jitters are out, though.
"I think with more practice and games it'll come easier to me. I'll be more comfortable by each game. As the season builds, I think I'll be fine."
Free live stats and webcasting through GameTracker and All-Access are available for tonight's exhibition. Tune in at 7 p.m. to watch Gibbs and the rest of the Commodores take the court.