That's how Coach Frese described the USA National Team at her Maryland Media Day press conference this afternoon, and you won't be hearing any disagreement from the BasketCases. Not when the National Team includes the likes of three-time Olympian and superstar Lisa Leslie, and other WNBA stars Diana Taurasi, Seimone Augustus and Sue Bird. Players that some of the Terps no doubt grew up watching if not idolizing. If you are as excited as we are about the matchup Wednesday evening, imagine how the Terps are feeling! Team USA isn't just the best team that Maryland will be playing all year, it's also the first team they'll be facing. And for freshmen Drey Mingo, Marah Strickland and Kat Lyons, it will not only be their first game of the year, but the first game of their college careers. (Relax kids . . . it only gets easier from here!)
Coincidentially, Drey Mingo and Lisa Leslie both spent time in Atlanta in the summer of 1996. Lisa was playing basketball in the Georgia Dome in front of 40,000+ fans, winning an Olympic Gold for the United States, while 7-year-old Drey was, we guess, riding her bike (way too young to drive!) and, no doubt, following every moment of our National Team's spectacular performance. Which makes us wonder whether Drey (or Marah or Kat) back then could possibly have dreamed that in her very first college game she'd be stepping onto the court to face Lisa Leslie. They may not have dreamed it, but we doubt they'll ever forget it!
Wednesday's game not only marks the start of Team USA's 8-game college tour, it will also be Lisa Leslie's much-awaited return to competitive basketball afer sitting out this summer's WNBA season following the birth of her daughter, Lauren, in June. (Perhaps Lisa has some tips for Coach B on the challenging task of juggling basketball and parenthood.) The BasketCases are also looking forward to seeing USA Team member Kara Lawson, who got her start playing ball right here in northern Virginia; seeing standout Kara play in high school was great fun, and let's not forget that the 2000 USA National Team lost only one game on their way to the Gold . . . And the winning shot in that game? Scored by college freshman Kara Lawson!