Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pink shoelaces as modeled by none other than the Terps' style diva, Crystal Langhorne

Terps Fans and Pink Shoelaces. Either you were one of the 17,950 mostly Maryland fans packing Comcast or you were home watching on ESPN2, so you already know the story . . . the Terps fell behind by 20 (poor shooting, too many turnovers --- not to mention a little help from the team wearing black and white stripes -- and great play by Carolina), only to make a furious charge in the second half, closing to 1 point, but never regaining the lead. Final score: 84-71 (woulda been 2 pts closer if it hadn't been for the "cheap" shot by the Heels in the final seconds).

Nevertheless, it was an exciting night and an exciting game. In honor of Hoops for Hope (Breast Cancer Awareness) all the ACC teams playing today sported pink laces in their shoes (the BasketCases are sure it was tripping on those new laces that sent Shay Doron sprawling late in game . . . oh well, it was for a good cause!). We got to hang out with Vicky Bullett before the game . . . what an extraordinary person! VB is back home in West Virginia teaching special ed, middle school and coaching 8th grade basketball. She looks absolutely marvelous! The Heels brought a sizeable and enthusiastic bunch of fans to College Park . . . we would have preferred they'd stayed home, but we do admit that their presence signifies a growing interest in the women's game and a developing rivalry among ACC teams. The Maryland fans --- including the students --- showed up in record numbers and behaved like good fans should . . . loud and loyal! Perhaps it's time to stop writing and let some more pictures do the talking . . .

The largest crowd ever to watch a women's ACC game, and the first sell-out for a women's game at Comcast Center

The Terps' all-time leading scorer, Vicky Bullett, was one of three honorary captains tonight (meanwhile, ref Lisa Mattingly is whispering, "make sure you tee-up the blonde")

The Terps' Number One Fan, LaMont Jordan, and young friend with ESPN's Mark Jones

"Onced I saw the BasketCases blog, I been fixin' to find a Heel fan who can write so mah team can have a blog too."

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases


The BasketCases just had the great pleasure of chatting once again with Vicky Bullett, who is right here at Comcast for the UNC game and who looks absolutely FABULOUS!!! The house is packed and rockin' More later!

(BasketCases live mobile blogging)

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Heels, Welcome To Hell in a Shell.

Alright Terps' fans, let's review the rules of engagement for tonight's battle against the Heels:

1. Arrive Early. While the Heels are warming up, let 'em know they're in the Red Zone and we are not happy to see them!

2. Come in Uniform. RED, BLACK, No Blue! (Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness is OK . . . pink is sorta red-lite, so pink not only honors those struggling with the disease, but expresses support for the Terps.)

3. Be Loud. From the moment KT's face appears (before The Shot) on the opening video to the buzzer at the end of 40 minutes, MAKE NOISE!

4. Be Louder. Stomp your feet! Cheer the Terps . . . on every possession, offense and defense. Yell (respectfully) at the refs when if they miss a call. MAKE MORE NOISE.

5. Be Loudest. No matter what, no matter the score, no matter even if the Heels manage to make a run . . . rally all the fans in your section and KEEP MAKING NOISE. It's time to show today's (and everyday's) opponent, as well as a national tv audience, that playing at M-A-R-Y-L-A-N-D is HELL IN A SHELL!

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One Maryland fan who needs no instruction is Terps alum LaMont Jordan. In today's Washington Post, Kathy Orton has a great (page 1 of the Sports Section!) feature on the Terps' "biggest cheerleader".

Tonight's game didn't go unnoticed in the other area papers: Milton Kent of the Baltimore Sun writes about what a pressure-packed game this is for both teams. His colleague, columnist Rick Maese, hints that this game could carry serious implications for things to come . . . particularly in March at the ACC tournament and beyond, for seeding in the NCAA tourney later on. In the Washington Times, Ken Wright is pretty blunt in pointing out that the Heels are looking for payback. And, from outside the area, Rachel Carter of Carolina's News Observer writes about the maturity (??) of the Heels' Ivory Latta.

Finally, in case you missed it . . . yesterday, Graham Hays and our favorite sportswriter Mechelle Voepel both wrote on about the Terps.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Breaking News Re Sunday's Game! Okay folks, it doesn't get much better than this. Where do the Venn diagrams of the BasketCases' two favorites basketball teams intersect? Why, with Vicky Bullett of course!! Vicky was a huge star at Maryland (class of '89) -- among other things, she's the Terps' all-time leading scorer -- who thankfully was so skilled and took such great care of her body that she was able to play in the WNBA a decade later, including three seasons with, yes, you guessed it, the Washington Mystics. And the Mystics, being the smart marketers that they are, know full well that nearly 18,000 (!!) women's basketball fans will be at the sold-out (!!) Comcast Center this Sunday evening to see the Terps take on the Tar Heels. So with the generous cooperation of Maryland, the Mystics will have a table on the Concourse at Comcast throughout the game on Sunday, AND, are you ready..... VICKY BULLETT will be at the table signing autographs before the game. Need we say more???? (Of course, if you were so foolish as to not have snagged a ticket long before now, well, as they say in Latvia, you are up the Dubna without a paddle.)

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Saturday Morning Update: The Baltimore Sun looks at the Terps' fabulous, conference-leading, and still-growing attendance numbers, including the two upcoming sell-outs, but wonders, as we all do, why the students still aren't showing up. The virtually empty student section at Comcast (there are several rows of wonderful, loud, rabid and ribald student fans at every game) hasn't been overlooked by the campus paper, either, which in an editorial on Friday urged the student body to start supporting the women's team.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Half Time Poem. Okay, the BasketCases have a confession to make. Writing a blog takes time! (You didn't think we just tossed this stuff up here, did you?) And when there's a 7pm game on a school night, well, waiting until after the game to start blogging means a fairly late night. So given that Maryland was playing at Clemson and we could sit at our computer and blog while listening to the game, we thought we'd get ahead of the curve by drafting our blog during halftime, when Maryland was up 48-30 after a great run, including Kristi Toliver's incredible 5 of 5 three-pointers. We were so inspired by Maryland's first half performance, we wrote a poem. (Well, okay, we stole someone else's poem and changed a few words.) Unfortunately, the poem that we wrote wasn't justified by the second half of the game. But we wrote it and now it's late, so we are going to share it with you anyway. So here is it, our half time poem:

Tigers, Tigers, Burning Bright
In the Carolina night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Terps of course with game on fire,
And burning eyes of great desire.
To Kristi’s threes they all aspired
And with great hands they scored much higher.

While on Lang's shoulders all took part
To twist the sinews of each heart.
And when their hearts began to beat,
They ran the court with swifter feet.

What the hammer? What the chain?
Why cause Clemson so much pain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Had the Tigers closely clasped?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
The Terps were there to smile and see,
How well they played and shot the three.

Tigers, Tigers, burning bright
In the Carolina night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Maryland 48, Clemson 30. [Final score: Maryland 76, Clemson 62]

with great apologies to William Blake

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Friday Morning Update: Double Yow. Don't miss Rick Maese's column in today's Baltimore Sun about Debbie Yow and big sis Kay, who, thankfully, has just returned to her Wolfpack team even as she continues chemotherapy to battle the recurrence of breast cancer. NC State's Hoops for Hope game against Boston College is this Sunday in Raleigh.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

And The Magic Number Is . . . 100,000!!! That's right, folks, this Sunday, some lucky fan will walk through the doors of the Comcast Center to see the Terps play Carolina, and will become the 100,000th person to attend a Maryland home game this season. According to the Terps' web site, this will be the first time Maryland has ever hit that remarkable attendance number. And, with three more home games still to be played after Sunday, including the sold-out game against Duke on Feb. 18, the record will be even higher when the final buzzer sounds on the regular season. As for that lucky fan number 100K on Sunday, what special prize does he or she get? Well, apparently . . . nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch. C'mon now, Maryland, how about a kiss from Testudo at the very least?!

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Hold that Tiger: The Terps are in action Thursday night at Clemson. Game time is 7pm, and you can listen on the radio via the Terps' web site.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Regulation Is Our Time! Last season, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons inexplicably took Maryland to overtime in Winston-Salem. The Terps were having none of that today, racing out to a 10-0 lead and never looking back, winning 83-60. Still, it appeared that it was hard for Maryland to play focused basketball for an entire 40 minutes against a team that hadn't won since December 17 and that had come into Comcast 0 and 5 in the ACC (with none of those losses against teams named Duke or Carolina). In fact, the most exciting play of the day was made by three Maryland cheerleaders, who formed a human pyramid late in the second half in order to dislodge a ball that had become wedged between the rim and the backboard. This garnered a well-deserved round of applause from the crowd of 10,526, who had braved snow and icy roads to do something far more fun this afternoon than watch football.

Next up for Maryland: the Clemson Tigers on Thursday at Clemson. The Terps are then back at home next Sunday for the sold-out game against the Tar Heels.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Are You Kidding Me? The BasketCases just got caught up on last night's episode of Under the Shell (Wednesdays on Comcast at 11 PM!), in which Harp (Final Four MVP Laura Harper) wondered if the fans would still be there for the Terps after that disappointing loss to Duke. We repeat: Are You Kidding Me?

Harp, you think your fans are that shallow that they would desert you after one loss? Give us some credit here, girlfriend . . . we (your fans) are so much more loyal than that! How could you even think such a thing?

We'll see you tomorrow night (Friday) at Comcast when you face the Cavs. And, yes, in case you're wondering, we'll be cheering as loud and as long as ever! We are the Turtle Nation . . . we are your fans for life . . . like it or not!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And The Winner Is . . . the Washington Mystics, who will be hosting the WNBA All-Star Game on Sunday, July 15, 2007. That was today's big announcement by the team and the league, who held a press conference this afternoon featuring WNBA President Donna Orender, Mystics' owners Sheila Johnson and Ted Leonsis, new D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, and the Mystics' (and D.C.'s) very own Nikki Teasley. Also on hand were Olympic Gold Medalist and Women's Sports Foundation exec Dominique Dawes, as well as WNBA All-Stars Katie Smith and Swin Cash.

The Mystics invited season ticketholders to the event, and even provided free food!! A good time was had by all. The best line of the day came from our new Mayor (Yo, Adrian!) , who said that he'd turned down talking points for the event from his staff because all he needed to say to WNBA fans was, "Visit D.C. Spend money." Sounds like a good idea!

Summing it all up, Sheila Johnson -- self-proclaimed "hostess" of next season's ASG -- said of the game, "this is a fitting occasion for the Mystics as we celebrate 10 years in Washington."

Mystics season ticketholders also learned today that we will be able to purchase our own, or the best available, seats for the ASG. The BasketCases believe this is unprecedented for the game (the league typically takes over the best seats for corporate types), and give a big shout-out to the Mystics' front office for negotiating this for their best fans.

Photo Credit: D.C. BasketCases

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mystics To Make Special Announcement. On Tuesday afternoon at the Verizon Center, the Mystics are due to make a special announcement about the 2007 season. It's so special, they've even invited season ticketholders! Ever since the BasketCases received their invitation, we've been on pins and needles wondering what the big news could be . . . particularly now, in the middle of the WNBA off-season. What top secret news is about to be revealed?

After scratching our heads and brainstorming, here are the possibilities we've come up with . . .

1. Sheila Johnson has worked out a deal with the NCAA to trade the Mystics en masse for the Maryland Terrapins. (This deal was negotiated prior to the Terps' loss to Duke, but neither Sheila nor the BasketCases are having any second-thoughts about this trade.)

2. Charm ("Fear the Bunny") is being brought back (by popular demand!) as the Mystics' mascot, while Pax the Panda is returning to the National Zoo where he (she?) really belongs.

3. Alana Beard is engaged to a star of the Moldovan National Team.

4. WNBA Commissioner Donna Orender has tallied the votes and concluded that Mystics center Zane Teilane has the "Coolest Name for a Baby" in the entire WNBA (although the BasketCases think there was some ballot stuffing by the Latvians).

And, while we think this next possibility is highly unlikely, we'll throw it out there anyway:

5. The 2007 WNBA All-Star Game will be held in Washington, D.C.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Keep Smiling. Anybody who thinks yesterday's loss in Durham is reason to lose heart has a very short memory. Maryland suffered a similar defeat at the hands of the Blue Devils in Comcast last season, lost again in Durham, and then went on to win the National Championship.

There are no indications that this Terrapin team is one that stays down very long. They have the will, determination and talent to bounce back! As this morning's Washington Times reports, those two losses to Duke last year served "as catalysts in [the Terps'] beating their conference rivals in an ACC tournament semifinal and eventually, the national championship. "It's a game that will motivate us to improve to get better," Coach Frese said. "That's what I'm excited about -- to be able to come away with this game and find a lot of areas where we can improve the next time we get back for practice." The BasketCases are excited too . . . we can't wait to see the Terps back in action Friday night when they host the Wahoos.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Sun Sets on Maryland's Streak. At the end of the day, Duke and Carolina remain the only two unbeatens . . . as the Blue Devils handed the Terrapins a good ole fashioned ass-whupping, 81-62

The better team today was Duke. No excuses. Indeed, Coach Frese had none, graciously saying "we were outworked, out-hustled, out-coached ... you name it." The only good news is that the Terps get a rematch at Comcast on February 18th.

We're Not in Kansas Iowa Anymore. From the amount of pre-game coverage that today's game has received, the BasketCases were wondering if perhaps they had slipped through a worm-hole in the time-space continuum and ended up this morning in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where pre-game press coverage isn't such an unusual occurrence. Usual or not, today's Terps-Blue Devils rematch has got it!

In the Washington Post, Kathy Orton has a (tear-jerker) article about Jade Perry and her sister, Jasmine. Ken Wright in the Washington Times writes about Kristi Toliver. Milton Kent of the Baltimore Sun believes that the Terps, win-less at Cameron for the past six seasons, now know how to handle Duke at home. Rachel Carter of the Raleigh News & Observer gives a Duke perspective, reporting that the Blue Devils' Abby Waner keeps a picture of Toliver on her wall as motivation. (The article is strangely headlined "Duke's Second Chance." Here's the thing, Rachel, even if Duke wins today, the Terps don't have to give back the Natty -- ever!)

Lot's of good stories . . . well worth reading

Friday, January 12, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth. Yesterday, Vice President Al Gore interrupted his Democratic presidential primary campaign in New Hampshire . . . racing to New York's LaGuardia airport to catch a commercial flight back to Washington (the first time a VP has flown commercially on official business) in order to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

The date this story was reported? February 3, 2000 --- which just happens to be the last time the Maryland Terrapins beat Duke in Durham at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 9-11 hadn't yet happened. Brenda Frese was nearing completion of her first season as a head coach . . . at Ball State University. Kristi Toliver wasn't even in High School. Shay Doron was a freshman playing in New York at a school named (as Shay's Mother told the BasketCases) after that famous Jew, Christ the King. And, Maryland was on its way to a 5-11 finish in the ACC.

A lot has changed since then. When the Terps take the floor at Cameron tomorrow, they will do so as the reigning National Champions . . . a fact not exactly lost on the Blue Devils. Two of the only remaining three D-I undefeated teams (ACC rival UNC being the third) will be facing off, guaranteeing that there will only be two unbeatens when the sun sets tomorrow. The two teams who battled for the Natty in what can only be described as an instant-classic NCAA final will be meeting each other for the first time since that game last April. If that isn't enough to get the adrenaline flowing, what is?

Al Gore and his staff won't be the only ones glued to their TV sets at 12:30 PM Saturday (on Comcast SportsNet). This is the one Terps' fans, Blue Devil fans and women's basketball fans everywhere have had circled on their calendars, highlighted on their schedules, and have been excited about since the match-up was first announced. It's almost here!

Let's Go Terps!!!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hurricane Brenda stormed ashore in Florida this evening, inflicting major damage on the University of Miami's women's basketball team. Although Miami Coach Katie Meier was hoping to receive only a glancing blow from the long-predicted storm, alas the destruction was substantial. At the end of the first half, the Terps were up 59-20. Maryland hit 7 0f 12 three pointers before the break, while Miami was 0 for 11. The final score was 111-53, as the Terps hit a season high in points and handed Miami its worst home loss in school history. Six Terps were in double figures. Significantly, the two leading scorers were Jade Perry and Ashleigh Newman, each of whom had 19 points off the bench. Jade also added 14 rebounds for her second double-double in a row, and in racking up her 19 points, Ashleigh hit 6 of 7 three-pointers! OK, it's time to tell it like it is. Maryland doesn't have a "bench" . . . Maryland has a Second Wave. Another member of the Second Wave, Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood, added 8 points and 9 assists. Tonight's award for Best Post-Game Quote goes to Miami guard Maurita Reid, who said of the Terps, "They didn't even seem like they wanted to play us hard."

Well, Maryland certainly will need to "play hard" with both their First and Second Waves when they participate in a re-match of the National Championship game at a sold-out Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday at 12:30 PM.
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Thursday Morning Update. Christine Brennan of USA Today has an interesting column today featuring Coach Frese and discussing the media assumption that "basketball = men."

Sorry, You're Out of Luck! If you were planning to attend the rematch of the national championship game between Maryland and Duke, but hadn't gotten around yet to buying your tickets --- well, you're out of luck! The Terps announced yesterday that the February 18th game at Comcast (yes, that's right, over a month away!) is SOLD OUT! (And, as of this morning, no more tickets are available either for this weekend's match-up in Durham between the Blue Devils and the #1 Turtles.)

This is the first sell-out at Comcast for a women's game in Maryland history! But it doesn't look to be the last --- as of yesterday, only 1,000 tickets remained for the game on January 28th when the Terps host last season's ACC champions (and the team they beat in the national semi-final), the UNC Tarheels. So if you don't have your tickets yet for that game . . . better act now! As that great philosopher, Soupy Sales, used to say, "He who hesitates, waits a long time until the next rest area."

Another Reminder . . . tonight the Terps face their second ACC opponent of the season, taking on the Miami Hurricanes in Miami at 7 PM. If you can scrape up $3.99, you can follow the action via a webcast from

And, Yet Another Reminder . . . Under the Shell (scroll down for more!) premieres tonight at 11 PM on Comcast SportsNet.

Photo Credit:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Get Ready to Set Those DVRs! Tomorrow night (Wed.) at 11 PM, Comcast SportsNet kicks off another season of the BasketCases' favorite TV show, Under the Shell, a weekly, half-hour, behind-the-scenes documentary about the Terps.

Reportedly the brainchild of Maryland AD Debbie Yow, Under the Shell eschews the typical format of a coach's show to bring viewers a truly "all access" look at the Maryland team. You get to be an eyewitness to locker room pre-game pep talks by Coach Frese, follow the team through some of its practice sessions, enjoy in-depth player interviews, game coverage, bad hair days and much much more. If you haven't seen it before, you've definitely missed out on some great reality TV! But it's not too late --- you can still watch last season's episodes online on the Terps' web site. Even if you have seen it before, it's actually pretty amazing to go back and watch some of them again. In last season's premiere, for example . . . not even two minutes into the show, players and Coach B are already talking about how they plan to win a National Championship. OK, true confession time --- back when that show aired, the BasketCases, hearing that, chuckled a little, thinking, "Isn't it nice that the team sets such high but unrealistic (or so we thought) goals for themselves?" Hmmm . . . guess the team had the last laugh on us! So, if you have seen it before, then we just know you've been looking forward to this season's premiere as much as we have.

Under the Shell is a must-see for all Terps fans! So get out those TIVO and DVR manuals, and make sure you record every episode . . . of course, you can actually watch the broadcast live (if, unlike the BasketCases, you're able to stay awake on a school night until 11 PM) . . . but, trust us, you'll still be glad you recorded it, so you can watch it again and again and again.

Under the Shell airs every Wednesday on Comcast Sports Net at 11 PM.

VOTE FOR ZANE! Blogster Nancy is conducting a poll of the Coolest WNBA Name for a baby on her blogsite . . . and one of the ten players with cool names who made the cut is none other than the Mystics' own Zane Teilane! So, loyal blog readers (especially all of you in Latvia!), click the link and VOTE FOR ZANE!

And the BasketCases don't want to hear any excuses from you Maryland fans who might be tempted to complain, "I'm not a Mystics fan . . . I couldn't even tell you the difference between Zane Teilane and Nakia Sanford." Well, not to worry, neither could the Hartford Courant's WNBA reporter, Lori Riley! And in case you're thinking, "How can I vote for a name I don't even know how to pronounce?" Well, that's the best part --- you can pronounce it all different ways . . . which makes it the perfectly most coolest name for a girl baby, a boy baby or even a panda baby!! So, as the saying goes, Vote Early and Often!!! And together let's make Zane the Coolest WNBA Baby Name EVER!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Crystal, Don't Act So Surprised! That's right . . . you are the ACC Player of the Week! How could you not be?
Did you forget that you just happen to be leading the nation in scoring percentage (77.7%)? Didn't you just score 28 points on Saturday in 28 minutes against a Top-20 team? And, didn't you make 13 of your 14 field goal attempts that day, while going up against a 6'9" player? Come on . . . you earned it . . . so enjoy it! Congratulations on a well-deserved honor!
Photo Credit: Washington Post

And With the Sixth Pick in today's dispersal draft of the defunct Charlotte Sting, the Washington Mystics select . . . Teana Miller. Okay, did you say, "Teana who?" That's all right, the BasketCases have to confess that we did too. Teana is not exactly a household name . . . Because the (former) Sting's Tammy Sutton-Brown and Allison Feaster are unrestricted free agents, they were not available in the dispersal draft. So when the Mystics got down to what was essentially the 8th player on the Sting bench, well . . .there you have it. Teana is a 6'3", 220-lb forward/center out of Tulane (2003). (And that's TU-lane for you folks not from the south.) Teana, welcome to the Mystics!!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"Hi, I'm Brenda." That's how Coach Frese introduced herself this afternoon to a roomful of the Maryland faithful at a post-game reception. Needless to say, she didn't really need any introduction. And as the Maryland team demonstrated today on national television, neither do they.

If you're reading this blog, then chances are that you were at the game along with the BasketCases at Comcast Center watching the awesome performance that the reigning national champs put on in pounding , dismantling, and routing the #19 ranked Michigan State Spartans by a score of 97-57. If you weren't there --- because you live too far away, or you're forbidden to travel on doctor's orders, or perhaps you're serving time in prison (and the BasketCases want to give a special shout-out to all those inmate fans of Coach B!) --- hopefully you watched CBS's broadcast of the game on national televison. So, we're assuming you saw what we saw, and we only have one question for you . . . wasn't that fun?

Today's win set a Maryland record for best start ever, 17-0, marking the first time that the Terps have concluded nonconference play undefeated. Once again showing tremendous balance, the Terps had five players in double figures. Crystal Langhorne, who, during the fall non-conference schedule, had been quietly putting up double-digit scores, dominated in the paint today against MSU. In the early going, 6'9" Spartan center Allyssa DeHaan blocked a few Maryland shots, but then Lang decided it was time to show the freshman how an All-American responds. Lang finished with 28 points (on 13 of 14 shooting) and 9 rebounds. Kristi ("the shot") Toliver helped Lang break the game open early, hitting four (4!) three-pointers in the first half, leading MSU Coach Joanne P. McCallie to call KT "the key to the game." Then, coming off the bench (and what a bench it is!), Jade Perry recorded a double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds) in only 17 minutes.

Until today, no team this season had scored more than 71 points against Michigan State. Until today.
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Note: In the last game of CBS's "triple-header" today, Tennessee managed to hang on to beat UConn in Hartford, thus removing the Huskies from the ranks of the undefeated. This leaves only three Division-I teams in the unbeaten column, and they all happen to be . . . you guessed it . . . from the ACC: Maryland, Carolina and Duke.
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Sunday Morning Update. The Washington Post's George Solomon leads off his weekly column with some very flattering remarks about the Terps.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases (Coach B waving to her favorite bloggers)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Just the Right Mix. Don't miss the article in today's Baltimore Sun in which Milton Kent discusses the "lighter recipe" that Coach Brenda Frese has chosen to follow in cooking up the Terps' non-conference schedule.
"To be quite honest, we feel, with the [Atlantic Coast] conference we have, you're playing the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the country [North Carolina and Duke] ," Frese said. "You really have to balance the scale. It's a long season. You're playing 25-, 30-plus games. You can't have every game with the hype of 1 vs. 2 or 1 vs. 3. You have to balance it from both ends. It's really a fine line, too, to be able to work on a lot of different things and a lot of different combinations."
Meanwhile, legendary Coach Pat Summitt employs a different mix, loading up the Lady Vols' early season schedule with more ranked teams than does any other team in the nation. The Sun's article tells us:

"In all, the Lady Vols, by season's end, will have played 15 games against teams receiving votes in this week's Associated Press poll, eight of them on the road. 'When you play quality opponents . . . I think it gives us an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and identify where we need to get better,' Tennessee coach Pat Summitt told the Raleigh News & Observer. 'That is why we play the tough opponents that we face.'"

Milton Kent also reports . . .
"Next season's schedule, Frese said, will include a West Coast swing to UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, a visit to James Madison to honor guard Kristi Toliver and a home game against Ohio State as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge."
. . . "a West Coast swing?" The BasketCases may just be feeling a "roadtrip" coming on!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We interrupt our regularly scheduled coverage of the Terps to bring our loyal blog readers news of some WNBA happenings this week. First, the league has just released its schedule for 2007. Mystics fans, put this info in your PDAs now!

Second and third: two sad notes . . . the league announced this week that the Charlotte Sting are folding, and that a dispersal draft will be held for its players next Monday, January 8. The Sting had been owned by Robert Johnson, ex-husband of Mystics' owner Sheila Johnson. Bob acquired the team when he bought the Charlotte Bobcats. Unlike Sheila, he never had much interest in the WNBA, and recently turned the team back to the league (kinda like returning a pair of socks?). And Houston Comets Coach Van Chancellor, coach of the very first WNBA champions (and a few more), announced his resignation on Wednesday. Coach Chancellor was known for throwing candy to fans before each game . . . perhaps the new Verizon Center rules forbiding outside food (as a security/anti-terrorism measure, of course) may have had something to do with his decision to retire. The BasketCases will miss Van, and we wish him all the best.

Disclaimer: This blog is not related in any way to ESPN's PTI, though we think that Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser definitely qualify as "basketcases."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Numbers Game. The Terps' win tonight over NC State, 80-61, gave Brenda Frese her 100th victory as the Head Coach of Maryland. (Her overall record as a head coach is 156-75.) It also set the school record for consecutive wins at 22 (dating back to the first game of the NCAA tourney last season). And it tied the Maryland record for best start to a season at 16-0. In addition, Shay Doron, who scored 10 points tonight, moved into second place on Maryland's list of all-time leading scorers. Shay now has 1,681 career points, trailing Vicky Bullett's 1,928. Meanwhile, Crystal Langhorne moved up to ninth place on the same list. Congratulations to Coach Frese, to Shay, to Crystal, and indeed to the entire Terrapin team!

Apart from these impressive milestones and some beautifully executed plays by the Terps, however, tonight's game was not particularly memorable (except, of course, that Maryland opened ACC play with a victory!). The Terps struggled a bit against the Wolfpack's full court pressure (as they did at Temple), sometimes having difficulty inbounding the ball, and sometimes having difficulty moving it up the floor. But the Terps' offense is so powerful and their shooters are so talented (five Terps were in double figures) that they were able win easily despite these problems. (In fact, before tonight, no team had scored more than 68 points against NC State this season.) The outcome of the game was never in doubt, but NC State nonetheless exposed a few things that Maryland will surely be working on before they host #19 Michigan State on Saturday in a nationally televised game on CBS.

Front Page Story. The BasketCases have written a good deal recently about Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood's debut as a Terp, and it wasn't our intention to single her (or any one player) out today as Maryland kicks off ACC Conference play this evening -- particularly since the Terps epitomize the word T-E-A-M -- but we couldn't ignore the front page of this morning's Washington Post sports section that has a huge picture of Sa'de accompanied by a wonderful and interesting article by Kathy Orton, who reports on how well Sa'de is fitting in as a Terp. Now, our loyal blog readers already knew that . . . but this is still very welcome and noteworthy coverage by the Post.

BTW, if you haven't already done so, check out Dan Steinberg's D.C. Sports Bog (a Washington Post on-line blog) . . . yesterday in his Week Five Local Poll of top area men's basketball teams, the Maryland Women received one first place vote!!! (What, only one???)

Photo Credit: Gail Burton/AP

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Let's Get It Started In Here. While it's been great fun watching the Terps roll through their non-conference schedule these past few months, the real action begins at Comcast Center on Wednesday night (7 PM) when the Terps tip off their ACC Conference play with a game against NC State. Now, you would think that being the reigning National Champs would be enough to make the Terps the prohibitive favorite in their own conference, but NO, the ACC just happens to include the teams that are currently ranked second and third in the country!!! (Carolina and Duke). So while Maryland undoubtedly would like to add an ACC Championship trophy to all the bling bling on display at Comcast (particularly as a graduation present to seniors Shay Doron and Aurelie Noirez) and while they definitely have the weapons to do it, it won't be easy.

Wednesday's game will be an emotionally difficult one. Naturally, the BasketCases will be looking for a Maryland win. However, as loyal blog readers know, legendary NC State Coach Kay Yow (sister of Maryland AD Debbie Yow) is on a leave of absence as she gets treatment for a recurrence of breast cancer, a disease she has been courageously battling for many years. We can only wish Coach Yow all the best and keep her in our prayers. This is a good time to point out that NC State's Hoops for Hope game will take place in Reynolds Coliseum on January 28, 2007 against Boston College, benefitting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Last year, the Wolfpack's Hoops for Hope game was against our own Terps, who graciously took up a collection at Comcast before a Maryland men's game and brought the collected funds with them down to Raleigh to contribute to the event.

But getting back to Wednesday's game . . . let's get this ACC schedule started! Go Terps!!