While many were enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with family at home, The University of Montana Lady Griz basketball team was taking over Sin City.

Our Thanksgiving Day began with a morning practice in Missoula. We enjoyed the luxury of having a full hour to shower and get ready in the locker rooms before we had to head to the airport. Usually we are pushing about 25 minutes.

We arrived at the nearly-vacant airport to some delicious sack lunches, and I mean that sincerely. Someone took the time to make sure we had something for lunch, since none of the restaurants were open that day. Festively, most of us chose the turkey sandwich option to really get in touch with Thanksgiving Day.

We hopped on board and flew to Seattle. We were spoiled with another treat, as The Body Shop was having some great pre-Black Friday deals. We got to spend our little layover buying beloved lotions and lip-balms.

We then connected on our flight to Las Vegas. We arrived around 5 p.m. and organized into our shuttle vans. Did I mention that all of our luggage made it safe and sound?

After one van had an hour detour when it got lost, our whole group made it to Sunset Station, our hotel destination. Some of the players had family already in Vegas, so they were allowed to go to dinner and spend the evening with them. Others weren’t quite as lucky, but still were blessed with teammates to share their night with.

While one small group decided on The Oyster Bar for their Thanksgiving feast, mixing the tradition up with some shrimp scampi, another large group of players hit up a hotel buffet and went with the Thanksgiving goods. I was part of that group, gobbling down some turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans and pumpkin pie. We even held hands at the table and went around sharing what we were thankful for.

After dinner a couple of the team’s oldies pressed our luck on the slots. Unfortunately, none of us came out with the big bucks. I will tell you, however, that one of my teammates cashed out at 50 cents. That’s not something you see everyday.

To top the night off, junior point-guard Torry Hill turned 21 on Thanksgiving Day in Las Vegas. She was greeted in her hotel room with 21 chocolate covered strawberries, which came from a mysterious secret source, later to be discovered as her mom!

All in all, our first night in Las Vegas sharing Thanksgiving together really set the whole trip up as something we will all forever be thankful for.

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