Freshman Drey Mingo (here shooting a FT) may have been a 7-year-old when Lisa Leslie won her first Olympic Gold, but tonight she played like a veteran! Maryland's third rookie, Kat Lyons, also played well, launching -- and hitting -- a couple from downtown!
The present (Sue Bird) and the future (Kristi Toliver)
Mike Thibault: "Hey Drey, how 'bout you skip college and sign with the Connecticut Sun?"
After the game, fans were invited to an autograph session with a few players from each team (Crystal Langhorne and Drey Mingo pictured here) as well as Mystics' WNBA All-Star Alana Beard, who, like Crystal, is counting the days until she can get back on the court.
As for the game . . . The National Team won, which was of course expected (they are the best team in the world, aren't they?). But the (Langhorne-less) Terps made a terrific showing and can only feel good about their effort. Indeed, the National Team was only up by 2 at halftime. Laura Harper in fact led all scorers (yes, all scorers) with 20, and was a force on both ends of the floor. With two WNBA head coaches, one WNBA GM and at least one WNBA scout in attendance, Laura certainly made an impression that should pay dividends come draft-time next April. Marissa Coleman was everywhere, and had a monster block against WNBA All-Star Seimone Augustus. And Kristi Toliver not only showed off her three-point shooting skills (she hit four from behind the arc), she also showed tremendous presence and leadership at the point, prompting Diana Taurasi to say:
"At the end of the game, I turned to Sue Bird and I told her that's the best point guard in college right now. I don't think anyone can control a game like she can with her scoring and her ability to push the ball up the floor, and get people open. She's a very tough player, she really is."
The rest of the Terps also played extremely well. Jade Perry, although giving up about a foot to USA center Katie Feenstra, hung tough on defense. And the freshmen? The BasketCases just can't say enough good things about them. What an auspicious beginning for the college careers of Drey, Marah, and Kat!
And what a truly wonderful and fun start to the season.
Photo Credits: DC BasketCases