Friday, November 30, 2007


What happens when the #1 team in the Big Ten meets the #1 team in the ACC? The answer's simple . . . a 24-point rout by the ACC's Maryland Terrapins of the Big Ten's Ohio State Buckeyes (final score 77-53) in the premier match-up of the 2007 (inaugural) Big Ten/ACC Conference Challenge.

In this corner, representing the ACC, the 2006 National Champion Maryland Terrapins.

10,255 fans in Comcast (and many more at home tuning in to ESPNU) watched as the Terps dominated the Buckeyes from tip to buzzer. Ohio State never led and the Terps were never threatened. Marissa Coleman drew the assignment of defending Marscilla Packer, OSU's leading scorer and Wade Trophy candidate. Packer came in averaging almost 18 ppg. Tonight, however, at the end of 20 minutes, Packer was scoreless, finally hitting the first of her two baskets of the game in the second half while Marissa was on the bench. Despite working so hard on her defensive assignment, Marissa also managed to score 14 points for the Terps. She was one of three Maryland players in double figures. Crystal Langhorne led all scorers with 17 and Laura Harper had 13. Correction, make that four . . . Kristi Toliver dished out 11 assists (along with scoring 9 points), also putting her in double figures! And though Marah Strickland didn't hit double figures, the BasketCases want to give her a special shout-out. Marah had another outstanding game tonight (8 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists). It wouldn't have been easy for anyone, no less a freshman, to step into the shoes of the legendary Shay Doron, but Marah has done a terrific job, making us forget at times that she's just a rookie.

As winning coach of tonight's Challenge game -- as well as head coach of the first team in the nation to notch 10 victories this season (in only 21 days!) -- Coach B was in demand for post-game interviews.

Prior to the game, the fans were invited to participate in the World's Largest Baby Shower by bringing toys to donate to Toys for Tots.

The U.S. Marine Corps, which sponsors Toys for Tots, sent a few good men and women to accept the many donations from the Maryland fans.

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

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Big 10/ACC Challenge: ACC 1, Big Ten 0. Thanks to Maryland's win, Virginia's vanquishing of Wisconsin (84-60), the Hokies beating Minnesota (68-62), and the Seminoles' win over Indiana (85-78), the ACC tonight clinched the inaugural Conference Challenge (making Duke -- which meets Penn State on Sunday -- more or less irrelevant).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Eleven. That's the number of member schools in the Big Ten Conference. Really. And the top-ranked team among them? Ohio State. The ACC's top-ranked team? The Maryland Terrapins, of course. And tomorrow night (Friday) at 7 PM in Comcast, the Big Eleven's Ten's #1 team faces off against the ACC's #1 in the 2007 (and inaugural) Big Eleven Ten/ACC Women's Basketball Challenge.

With two whole days between their last game and tomorrow's (practically an eternity!), the Terps should have no problem getting up for a little inter-conference rivalry. Plus, the Buckeyes just happen to be the last non-ACC team to beat the Terps on their home floor in College Park (2005 2nd round of the NCAA tournament) . . . so Maryland may also be looking for a little pay-back. OSU is currently ranked #17/19 in the polls and has one of the top freshmen players in the nation, center Jantel Lavender, who comes in averaging 16.7 points and 9.3 rebounds. It should make for an exciting game in this inaugural event.

As of now, the ACC leads the Challenge 2-1 -- thanks to wins last night by Wake Forest (over Northwestern) and Georgia Tech (over Iowa); Miami lost earlier to Michigan. Tonight, Clemson plays at Michigan State, Illinois plays at NC State, and UNC hosts the Big Ten's 2nd ranked team, Purdue (7 PM on ESPN2). [By the way, what is it with the 'Heels playing all their games at home? Counting exhibitions, tonight's contest vs the Boilermakers will be UNC's 11th game of the year . . . every one of them at home in Chapel Hill! Perhaps Coach Hatchell is wearing an ankle bracelet (à la Paris Hilton) so she can't leave the area? But we digress.]

If the game isn't enough reason to head over to Comcast tomorrow, don't forget that in honor of Coach Frese's being "in the family way," the University is throwing the World's Largest Baby Shower to collect gifts for Toys for Tots. So, bring a new un-wrapped toy to donate, and help a less fortunate child have a happier holiday season.

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Friday Morning Update: Following last night's games, the ACC is now leading the Big Ten 4-2. UNC cruised to an easy win over Purdue, 90-72; Khadijah Whittington led NC State past Illinois, 61-47; and, Michigan State notched the Big Ten's only win by defeating Clemson, 68-51. Three Big Ten/ACC Challenge games (besides ours) are on tap for tonight: Minnesota plays at Virginia Tech, Virginia hosts Wisconsin and Florida State travels to Indiana. Last but not least, Duke heads to Happy Valley on Sunday to meet Penn State in the final game of the Challenge.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Congratulations to (former) Mystics Assistant Coach Marynell Meadors, who was named today as the first ever head coach and general manager of the WNBA's new Atlanta franchise! The Atlanta fill-in-the-blanks are very lucky to have someone of Marynell's experience and talent . . . not to mention she's just one of the nicest coaches who's ever sat on the Mystics bench -- and that's drawing from a pretty large sample!

We wish Marynell the best of luck with the new franchise . . . except, of course, when they're playing the Mystics.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fill 'er Up. The Terps opened the regular season on November 9th with a win over the Ivy League's Princeton. Tonight -- 18 days later -- they recorded their 9th victory of the young season with a win at Comcast over the Big East's Pitt Panthers, 90-77.

In those 18 days, the Terps have beaten the #4 team (LSU), the #6 team (Oklahoma), and the #23 team (Notre Dame). Tonight's opponent, Pitt, opened their season ranked #20. The Terps have played on national television twice. They've traveled cross-country during the Thanksgiving holiday rush (perhaps their greatest feat of all!). They've played a couple of games in California with their head coach back East following the action on TV or the web. They've played games with a couple of starters fighting the flu. They spotted an opponent 16 points with under 7 minutes to play and still pulled out the win. They've played and beaten teams from the SEC, the Pac-10, the Big XII, the Big East, the Big Gulp and some other conferences, and, after this brutal and thoroughly exhausting schedule, they are still undefeated. Give them a day to refuel between games, and despite the obvious fatigue, they've found a way to get the job done. The Terps' early season performance has been nothing short of amazing.

This schedule even makes bloggers tired. But before we call it a night, a few highlights to mention . . . Laura Harper recorded her 1,000th career point as she led the Terps with 21 points (again missing the double-double by only a single rebound, 9). Congratulations to Harp! Three other starters (the usual suspects) also finished in double figures (Kristi had 20, Marissa 16 and Crystal made it clear she's baaack with her first double-double of the new season, 15 points & 13 boards). This was another game with lots of fouling and lots of free throws. Maryland's exceptional performance from the free throw line -- the team hit 30 of 36 attempts -- helped the Terps maintain a comfortable cushion over the Panthers from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

But in case you think the worst is over . . . it ain't [intentional grammar malfunction]. In the next six days, the Terps defend the honor of the ACC (more on that in an upcoming blog) against the Big 10 defending champ, #17 Ohio State (Friday at Comcast), and in another nationally-televised game, they meet last season's national runner-up, the Big East's # 5 Rutgers in the Jimmy V Classic on Monday in New Jersey. Amazing.

Remember . . . Bring a toy to Comcast on Friday (the "World's Biggest Baby Shower") to donate to Toys-for-Tots. Between now and then . . . try to get some rest!

Back on the Bench.

Tonight the Terps take on the Pitt Panthers of the Big East Conference (7 PM at Comcast). Thanks to Milton Kent's feature in today's Baltimore Sun, we learn that
[Coach] Frese . . . expects to be back on the bench for tonight's game against Pittsburgh and against No. 19 Ohio State at home Friday and Monday at fifth ranked Rutgers. She said she should be able to coach through December, when the schedule's demands lessen, though she will be in a particularly risky period into the first week of January.
Excellent article by Kent -- don't miss reading it before heading to College Park for tonight's game.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Incredibles. It can't be a coincidence that the cartoon superheroes, the Incredibles, wear Red & Black. Those colors just happen to be the same ones worn by the Terps. And this afternoon, in the famed Pauley Pavilion of UCLA, a tired Terps team was nothing short of incredible in the way they battled back from a 16-point deficit to deny the Bruins an upset win.

Did we mention that the Terps were tired? Well, they were. Loyola at Comcast on Tuesday. Cross-country flight early on Wednesday morning (in the midst of the Thanksgiving holiday rush). A game on Friday against the Gauchos that took all 40 minutes to win. And today, Sunday, their 8th game in 16 days, against UCLA.

Just like on Friday, Maryland burst out to an early lead, only to lose it to a more energetic opponent early in the second half. Even Coach Frese, by telephone, acknowledged to the FSN announcers that her team was a bit tired. Which, of course, makes their comeback that much more . . . well, incredible. Down 16 with less than 6-1/2 minutes to play -- and to make a long story short -- they won by 4, 79-75.

For the second game in a row, Marissa Coleman played all 40 minutes. She recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 boards. Incredible. She was joined today in the 40-minute club by Kristi Toliver, who led all scorers with 22 points, (hitting 6 3-pointers plus dishing out 8 assists). Incredible. Crystal Langhorne, Ms. Incredible herself, was back in the line-up . . . she didn't start, but came off the bench to add 12 points. Laura Harper also finished with 12 and fell 1 rebound (9) short of a double-double.

Congratulations to the Terps on an incredibly exciting victory! And a special congratulations to Coach Daron ("She'll get my voicemail") Park on the job he did filling in for Coach B on this tiring and testing west coast swing!

Monday Morning Update: Dick Patrick of USA Today has a very interesting and flattering article about Maryland's point guard, Kristi Toliver. It's a must-read! And, speaking of KT, the BasketCases learned that Kristi fell ill prior to Friday's game at UCSB and was still under the weather when she played 40 minutes for the Terps Sunday night. Laura Harper also played through sickness last night . . . she fell victim to the flu on Saturday and struggled to make it through yesterday's game. Did we happen to mention that these young ladies are incredible?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Two Men Enter. One Man Leaves."

The Terps escaped from the Thunderdome tonight with their winning streak still alive . . . but just barely, as they survived the Gauchos 75-71. UC-Santa Barbara did not play like the same team Maryland beat last season by more than 60 points, nor did the Terps play like the #3 team in the nation. Much credit goes to the Gauchos, who fought back from a double-digit deficit early in the game to take the lead by as many as 4 points in the second half, refused to give up, fouled early and often (slowing the pace of the game) and made Maryland work hard for the slim 4-point victory.

This was one of those ugly games where just about every move drew a whistle and the game seemed to take forever (for the record, it started on Friday EST, but didn't end until Saturday morning). It wasn't exactly much fun to watch. (But the UCSB announcers were great . . . some terrific one-liners!)

Maryland attempted 46 free throws, making 36 . . . and the free throw line was where the game was won. The Gauchos actually outshot the Terps (by a good margin) from the field, including from outside the arc. The last time she faced UCSB, Marissa Coleman notched a triple-double. Tonight, Marissa and her career-high 30 points (including 18 of 20 FTs) had a great deal to do with preventing the upset. The other Terps in double figures were Kristi Toliver, who added 19 points, and Laura Harper, with 15. (Harp also pulled down 12 boards, for a double-double.) It wasn't pretty, but Coach Park got his first W (filling in for Coach B) and the team moved Beyond Thunderdome to play another day . . . and that day will be Sunday, when they face the UCLA Bruins.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Coach B Calling.

In a major departure from Coach Frese's normal, very personal coaching style, tonight as the Terps take on the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos, if Coach B wishes to communicate with any of her coaches or players, she'll be forced to do it in a far less personal fashion . . . by telephone.

According to today's Santa Barbara News-Press,

"[Coach Daron] Park . . .[is] taking the reins in place of head coach Brenda Frese, who is pregnant with twins and was advised by her doctor not to make the transcontinental flight to California."
Which means that Coach D (not B) will be prowling the sidelines of the Thunderdome. And it also means that for the first time ever, Coach B's view of the game will be exactly the same as that of the BasketCases . . . we'll all be watching the webcast on (except that Coach B's $4.95 pay-per-view charge will be tax deductible).

You too can follow the action via the web. The game tips off at 10 PM EST. (A link to the webcast is also available from

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from the BasketCases!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Freshman Four.

Games like tonight's -- while they don't test the Terps the way a game vs LSU or Oklahoma or Notre Dame may -- can serve a valuable purpose nonetheless. They provide an opportunity for young players to get valuable minutes and valuable experience in game situations.

Last season our only new member of the Terps roster, Emery Wallace, was redshirted due to a knee injury. Tonight, the red-shirt Freshman led the Terps with 18 points, in only 16 minutes of play. Emery hit all three of her 3-pt attempts and remained perfect for the season from the foul line, as Maryland nearly lapped the Loyola Greyhounds, 98-50, at Comcast.

The other 3 members of the Freshmen Four also had impressive outings. Freshman Drey Mingo (the Terps 2nd leading scorer in tonight's game) was close behind Emery with 16 points (and 6 rebounds). Freshman Marah Stickland (who started for Maryland) scored 12. Meanwhile Freshman Kat Lyons chipped in with 6 points and 8 assists (vs zero turnovers). Add them up and you'll see that the four freshmen outscored Loyola 52-50 and accounted for more than half of the Terps' points! From what we saw tonight, the BasketCases would have to say the future looks bright for Maryland basketball.

None of the Terps played more than 28 minutes in tonight's contest, which should leave the team well rested as they tackle perhaps their toughest opponent of the early season . . . Holiday Travel! The coaches and players will leave on an early flight out of BWI tomorrow morning, with their ultimate destination being L.A. They'll be celebrating Thanksgiving in California and then, on Friday, the Gauchos of UC-Santa Barbara (whom the Terps hosted at Comcast last season) will welcome the Terps to their home court. After that . . . it's UCLA on Sunday. Then back at home a week from today (Tuesday), they take on the Big East's Pitt Panthers.

To the Maryland team and coaches and to any of our loyal readers who may be hitting the road (or taking to the skies) for the holiday . . . we hope you have a safe and easy trip!

Leaving on a Jet Plane. The Greyhounds' bus will be pulling up to the loading dock at Comcast this evening as the Terps face their Baltimore neighbor, Loyola, before hitting the road for a 2-game west coast swing. But Maryland won't be taking the bus. Actually, they'll be joining the throngs of holiday travelers in airports this week, as they head to Los Angeles for a game on Friday against the Gauchos of UC-Santa Barbara and a game on Sunday vs the UCLA Bruins.

Send them off in style. After all the fun they've provided us this season (and it's only just begun!), the least we (the fans) can do is give the team a proper send-off. So the BasketCases expect to see you all at Comcast this evening (7 PM) as we cheer the Terps to another victory (hopefully) and wish them bon voyage.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More Hardware. At some point, the Terps may need to add an annex to their trophy case if they keep accumulating more bling-bling. This afternoon, they added the very large, very impressive, very gold . . . and very much deserved WNIT Championship trophy to their collection by beating a very good #4 ranked LSU, 75-62, at Comcast.

While LSU boasts one of the most dominant individual players in the nation in Sylvia Fowles (24 pts & 13 boards), Maryland, once again, turned in a dominant team performance, as 4 of their starters scored in double-digits, led by Kristi Toliver, who had 23 points. Laura Harper put up 16 points, Jade Perry followed with 14 (to go along with her 11 rebounds) and freshman Marah Strickland scored 11 for the Terps. (By the way, Marissa Coleman, the only starter not in double figures, missed out on a double-double by a mere 2 points.)

Even more impressive was the fact that Maryland handled the highly ranked LSU without the Terps' All-American Crystal Langhorne. Coach B said after the game, "I'm so proud of the champions we have in this locker room." And she should be. The Terps have notched convincing wins against every team they've faced this season, including three ranked opponents in the last 8 days. They've shown a focus and intensity that, quite frankly, has made them lots of fun to watch!

Returning to Hardware . . . Not surprisingly, KT was voted Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, and, much to everyone's obvious delight, Jade Perry was named to the All-Tournament Team. Congratulations Kristi and Jade . . . and congratulations to all the Terps players and coaches . . . well done!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hey, Irish . . . You Looking for a Fight?

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame sparred fairly evenly with the Terps for most of the first half of tonight's game, by playing practically turnover-free basketball. But a flurry of three-point punches by Maryland early in the second half put the game out of reach, as the #3 ranked Terps scored a knockout of the #23 ranked Irish in tonight's semi-final of the WNIT, 75-59.

The Terps put on a three-point shooting clinic en route to the win over Notre Dame, collectively nailing 12 from behind the arc and tying the school record for three-pointers in one game. Five of those threes were made by Kristi Toliver, who missed only two of her long ball attempts. It seemed that every time the shot clock ticked down into the single digits, the Terps simply left the ball in Kristi's hands and she cooly drained a 3. Amazing! KT finished the night with 25 points and 7 assists; not quite another double double but a remarkable performance nonetheless. Marissa Coleman scored on 4 of her 7 three-point attempts, while Laura Harper recorded another double double (17 points and 13 boards). Jade Perry, starting in place of still-injured Crystal Langhorne, had another strong performance -- her numbers may not show it (in part because she wasn't feeling a lot of love from tonight's crew of officials), but her contribution to the win was obvious to the fans in Comcast.

Tonight's win sends Maryland to the WNIT Championship game on Sunday against LSU. The Tigers of LSU are ranked #4 in the nation, just behind Maryland. They've been to the Final Four for four straight years. Their team is led by 6'6" Senior center Sylvia Fowles, one of the most dominating players in college ball, and is coached by Hall-of-Famer (and former coach of the Houston Comets) Van Chancellor.

As one Terps fan remarked to one of the BasketCases before leaving the arena, "Know anybody who wants Ravens tickets?" (On the 50-yard line no less!) She is not about to miss Maryland vs LSU . . . neither should you. This game is a Don't Miss! (Sunday, Comcast, 3 PM).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Home Cookin'. Following their big win over Oklahoma in Chapel Hill on Sunday, the Terps returned home to Comcast tonight, where they sliced, diced, braised, broiled and fricasseed the overmatched Delaware Blue Hens, for a blowout 91-43 victory in the second round of the preseason WNIT. The Terps were obviously having fun; the Delaware team . . . well, not so much. For Maryland, this one practically qualified as one long highlight reel; for the chickens Hens, it was more a horror movie.

Tonight's contest provided an opportunity for Maryland to execute some pretty sweeet plays . . . no doubt exactly as the coaches had diagrammed them. The Terps may have to work a little harder to score on those plays against Notre Dame (and LSU) . . . but it sure was pretty to see the way they were executed tonight!

Every Terp who suited up (which did not include Crystal Langhorne -- probably giving her tender ankle a little rest) played, and every one of them scored . . . and that includes Emery Wallace who, we're excited to report, hit her first career points. Congratulations, Emery! And Christie Marrone impressed us, coming off the bench late in the second half and immediately nailing a long three. Speaking of threes, Ashleigh Newman, also off the bench, lit it up from long-range, hitting 4 of 7 from behind the arc (finishing with 18 points), while Kristi Toliver also hit 4 (out of 6) of her 3-point attempts. One of KT's threes came as Marissa Coleman dribbled the clock out very late in the first half, set a screen for KT, and passed her the ball. Count it. Another -- a bomb from well beyond the NBA three point line -- came as the shot clock was expiring. Kristi finished with yet another double double, 19 points and 10 assists!

Marissa had only (just kidding) 16 points, but did manage to notch her 1,000th career point. Congratulations, Marissa! Meanwhile, Jade Perry (starting in place of Lang -- just as she did when Laura Harper was hurt Freshman year) has shown once again how indispensable she is to the Terps' success, stepping in and recording another double double (11 points and 15 boards). The three freshmen -- Drey Mingo, Marah Strickland, and Kat Lyons -- all acquitted themselves well, particularly hitting the glass, as they combined for 20 rebounds. In fact, in the early going, when the Hens managed to tie the score at 8-8, it was Drey Mingo's 3-pointer that ignited the Maryland rout.

The crowd tonight was a bit sparse . . . but enthusiastic! If you weren't among the 4,600 fans in attendance, you missed a really really fun game! So be sure to be there on Friday night, when the Terps face Notre Dame in the WNIT semi-finals. The BasketCases can provide you with a full report . . . but it's not the same as being there!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Must Read. Perhaps's Mechelle Voepel took the BasketCases' off-hand comment last week to heart -- about her colleague Graham Hays possibly being our new favorite sportswriter . . . after he served up an excellent piece about the Terps ready to move. This morning, MV not only returned serve, but hit an ace, with her feature Coleman, Terps back to form. Here's a preview . . .
The offseason was a time to refuel the fire Maryland had played with in 2006, and nobody was more ready to do that than Coleman. We got to see her at her best Sunday as No. 4 Maryland beat No. 6 Oklahoma 76-66 in the nightcap of the State Farm Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic at North Carolina's Smith Center. The game wasn't really that close -- the halftime score of 42-24 was more reflective of how much better Maryland was in this matchup. The Terps looked very much like national-title contenders again -- as much as any team can in November.
Read the whole article . . . you'll be glad you did!

Monday PM Update: To no one's great surprise, today Marissa Coleman was named ACC Player-of-the Week. Congratulations, Marissa!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Worth the Trip!

Whenever you travel to a game that you could easily watch on TV at home, you wonder whether it'll be worth the trip. As these happy fans can attest, today the trip was definitely worth it!
Fans weren't the only ones on the road today . . . Among the many Terp family members in the house were new Terp Drey Mingo's Mom, Brother and Uncle. The BasketCases had the pleasure of making their acquaintance. We're so glad that Drey (and they) are now part of the Terrapin family. The Terrapin's Number 1, Crystal Langhorne, finally made her season debut, after being benched by a bad ankle in the Team USA exhibition and the home opener against Princeton. She's not yet in her best form, but her presence and leadership were very welcome additions to today's game. Laura on Courtney . . . USA U21 teammates facing off. Every game she plays, Harp's WNBA stock just keeps rising! Today she put up another double double -- 16 points and 11 boards. Coach B's first roadtrip of the season . . . a great success! Laura: "Shoot it Marah!" And she did. The rookie notched her first national TV start and scored 14 points. She's a keeper!
Of course, the player of the game had to be Marissa Coleman . . . 20 points (including one highlight reel in-the-air tip-in off a KT lob! wow!) and 12 boards. Kristi, by the way, also had another double double -- 16 points and a remarkable 11 assists. And, for the third game in a row, Kristi hit a buzzer beater to end the first half. Other big contributors to the win today were Coach B's new Assistant Coaches, Daron Park and Diane Richardson, here giving some pointers to Marissa and Jade.

We assume that if you weren't here in Chapel Hill you saw the game on TV, so we won't say much more, except that the team looked great, it was a fun afternoon, and the win was really bigger than the 10-point margin at the end. The Terps now get one day of rest before they meet Delaware in the second round of the WNIT at Comcast on Tuesday at 7pm.

Before we sign off, we want to hand out a special dyslexia award to the Tar Heels. Prior to the game, the Maryland and Oklahoma fans took the seats that North Carolina had assigned us, behind the two benches, only to learn when the teams took the court that the Maryland team was sitting in front of the Oklahoma fans, and the Sooners were sitting in front of the Terp fans. Way to go, Heels!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chapel Hill, N.C.

Generation Next. Last night's win over Princeton marked the beginning of the Terps' regular season. For fans of women's basketball, tomorrow's State Farm Tip-off Classic marks the beginning of the WCBB national television season . . . and are we ever excited that our own Terrapins are one of the featured teams in this doubleheader? The correct answer is Yes!

In the first game (or as we prefer to think of it, the appetizer), Coach Sylvia Hatchell's Tarheels face (newly appendix-less) Coach Charli Turner Thorne's Arizona State Sun Devils (ESPN, 2:30 PM). And in the second game (the entree), Coach B's Maryland team meets Coach Sherri Coale's Oklahoma Sooners (ESPN2, 5 PM).

One interesting thing about this year's Tip-Off Classic is that 3 of the 4 coaches are part of what the BasketCases think of as the "next generation" of great college coaches. Brenda is actually the youngest of tomorrow's group, at 37 (and the only one with a Natty). Sherri Coale and Charli Turner Thorne are both just a little over 40. By contrast, Sylvia Hatchell, age 55 (only 55?), is definitely part of the "old guard."

And speaking of the old guard . . . much has been written lately about Pat Summitt's ending the Lady Vols' annual televised matchup against UConn. The BasketCases are a little conflicted about this. On one hand, as basketball fans, it's always been fun to watch a long-time rivalry (particularly one in which we have little emotional investment). But on the other hand, we think it's a good thing for the sport that people realize women's college basketball isn't just the "Pat and Geno Show," and we think it's a good thing that more of the next generation of coaches (Coach B and her contemporaries) and, of course, their teams, get the exposure they deserve.

Off topic: "Not Afraid of Flavor." That's the slogan of the Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina, where the BasketCases ventured for dinner tonight. Whenever we are on one of our picaresque basketball adventures, we always try to sample a good local restaurant. This place came highly recommended, and rightly so. Excellent, well-prepared food, and exceptional service in a very comfortable setting.

And speaking of food, if you still have room for dessert after the Tip-Off Classic, ESPN will be serving up Stanford against Rutgers at 8pm. What a feast for women's basketball fans!

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Sunday Morning Update: Small World Department: Imagine our surprise to go down to breakfast in our hotel this morning to find the entire Princeton women's tennis team. Turns out they are here in Chapel Hill for a big tournament at which they will be playing Maryland this morning. Outdoors. (It's 34 degrees outside right now, so it's quite possible that those plans will change.) BC Judith, who always dresses well for breakfast, was decked out in her finest Maryland red 2006 National Championship regalia. This did not stop her from having a very nice chat with the Princeton coach, Kathy Sell, after BC Judith introduced herself as a Princeton alum. After all these years, two Princeton athletic experiences in three days! What's next?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Oklahoma On Their Minds? Last week the Terps played one of the best teams in the world. The day after tomorrow (Sunday) they play a nationally televised game (ESPN2, 5 PM) in Chapel Hill against a highly ranked opponent, Oklahoma, in the prestigious State Farm Tip Off Classic. Tonight . . . well, they played Princeton, an Ivy League also-ran (sorry, BC Judith, but it's true).

Perhaps the Terps didn't bring the same focus to this evening's game that they did to last week's and that they plan to bring on Sunday. Let's face it, the outcome was never in doubt -- Maryland won 76-52 -- but from a fan's perspective, it seemed like a slightly low-energy performance by Maryland.

We should point out, however, that the Terps were playing without everybody's All-American, Crystal Langhorne. Although Lang participated in warmups, she never left the bench after that. Coach B also spread the minutes pretty well among the starters and reserves, including the rookies. Despite limited minutes, two Terps finished with double doubles, Kristi Toliver (16 points, 10 assists), and Jade Perry (12 points, 11 boards), who started in place of Lang. But the BasketCases award the Play of the Game to the Maryland cheerleaders, who formed a human pyramid and tipped in a Kristi Toliver miss (of a ball that had become lodged between the backboard and the rim). After much discussion, the officials disallowed the two points because the cheerleaders' uniforms did not meet NCAA regulations.

As for the opponents . . . the Tigers played hard throughout and acquitted themselves well. (BC Judith wrote that line, but it's true.) Whitney Downs led Princeton with 14 points, and Meagan Cowher was close behind, with 13. Meagan's famous Mom -- and Dad -- were in the house. BC Judith enjoyed chatting with them before the game.

That's all for tonight. The BasketCases will be hitting the road to Chapel Hill tomorrow so we can cheer for the Terps on Sunday. (We're also pretty excited about our first chance to see the Paris twins in person. . . Courtney and Ashley . . . 6' 4" identical twin daughters of NFL star Bubba . . . and, no doubt, a Mom who gets very little press.) As usual on our road trips, we will be filing remote blogs, so stay tuned!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

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Saturday Morning Update (rant alert): The quote below was contained in the non-bylined AP story that we linked to last night; it was repeated in the game report (again, no byline) in today's Washington Post , as well as in David Ginsburg's bylined article in today's Baltimore Sun:
"Meagan Cowher, the daughter of former Pittsburgh Steelers
coach Bill Cowher, scored 11 of her 13 points in the first
half. Bill Cowher watched from the stands about 15 rows behind
the Princeton bench. "
Now returning to our regularly scheduled programming rant . . . that sentence taps into one of the BasketCases' pet peeves about the media and female athletes -- whenever there's a famous dad, the moms are almost always neglected. It's as though the daughters were born in a petri dish, and dad was a single parent. (How many times have WNBA fans heard TV announcers say that Cheryl Ford is the daughter of Karl Malone? Never mind that the Mailman, who was not married to Cheryl's Mom, had just about nothing to do with Cheryl growing up, and that Mom raised Cheryl.) It's not that we have any problem when parents (famous or otherwise) are mentioned, but it takes two to tango (unless mom has a turkey baster handy). In Meagan Cowher's case, the omission is particularly egregious, and stupid, since (as our loyal readers know but the AP couldn't bother to find out) Mom Kaye -- and her twin sister Faye, Meagan's aunt -- were college and then professional basketball players. And as our loyal readers also know, Mom Kaye was at the game last night, watching right alongside Dad.

Today's the Day! Tonight, 7 PM, at Comcast, the Terps open the regular season vs Princeton. This game also marks the kick off of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The Sun's Milton Kent has a nice feature about the Terps' New Wave and the Examiner's Ron Snyder has an interesting story about the Golden Girls. Meanwhile, the Washington Post does its annual "Women's Preview" (pdf) -- a single page (much of which is taken up with a large picture of Candace Parker) -- after spending four days previewing the "Men." Could they spare it?

Speaking of the Media . . . if you missed any of these articles and preseason accolades, now's the time to catch up: (There will be a quiz.)

Preseason AP All-American? Crystal Langhorne!'s Best Player at the Wing Position? Marissa Coleman!
One of's Top 5 at the Center Position? Crystal Langhorne!
Maryland's Preseason Ranking in Both National Polls? 4th!
Terps named to the (National Player of the Year) Wooden Award Watch List? 3 of the 30 . . . Crystal Langhorne (again), Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver.
Excellent Feature on by Graham Hays (our new favorite sportswriter?): Maryland Ready to Move
Good Season Preview by Charlene Curtis: Maryland picked to finish 1st in the ACC.
Recently Engaged? Billy Cornfed Fennelly and former Iowa State star point guard Lyndsey Medders. Congratulations!!!

See you tonight!

Friday Afternoon Update: And if those props aren't enough, here's more announced today . . . Preseason First Team All-American? You guessed it, Crystal Langhorne! Preseason Second Team All-American? Marissa Coleman!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hold That Tiger!

Ever since the Terps announced their 2007-08 schedule, the BasketCases have been eagerly awaiting this Friday night. Not only because it marks the official start of the college season for Maryland (not to mention the first round of the preseason WNIT!), but also because, for the first time EVER, the Terps will be playing Princeton, which just happens to be BasketCase Judith's alma mater.

Now, if you're a women's basketball fan living in our national capital area, and you graduated from an Ivy League school, let's face it, you need to adopt another team. And so BC Judith did. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have a keen interest in seeing how her Tigers do on Friday night, or that she isn't feeling just a wee bit nostalgic about Old Nassau. Indeed, expect to see her at Comcast on Friday in a bright orange Princeton Tee amidst the sea of red (but still cheering for the Terps, of course).

One Tiger we're excited to see play is senior forward Meagan Cowher, who inherited some pretty good DNA as far as athletics are concerned. Maybe you've heard of Meagan's Dad, Bill Cowher. He's had a little bit of success in the NFL over the years. But when it comes to basketball skills, it's pretty clear Meagan gets those from her Mom's branch of the family tree. Meagan's Mom Kaye (nee Young), along with Kaye's rhyming twin sister Faye, played basketball at NC State for the legendary Kay Yow (non-rhyming sister of Maryland AD Debbie Yow). (Hey, what's up with all these ACC twins, anyway?) After college, Kaye and Faye went on to play in the now-defunct predecessor of the WNBA, the Women's Professional Basketball League. They also got a gig pitching "full pints" of Dannon Yogurt (which, for twins, is kind of like being first runner-up to "Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun, Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint Gum"):

Thanks to Title IX, though, Kaye's daughter Meagan has had and will have more opportunities to pursue. She had more college scholarship offers than Mom did, and will graduate into a world that now offers sufficiently talented women the chance to make a living playing professional basketball without also having to be a pitchwoman for dairy products. And, in case she ever wants it, Meagan has a pretty good entree into the WNBA front office . . . Mom Kaye and Aunt Faye played with WNBA Commissioner Donna Orender (then Donna Geils) on the New York Stars. That's Donna O, No. 14 below; Kaye is third from the right, back row, and Faye is the one who looks just like Kaye in the back row on the far right.

Of course, with her Princeton degree, Meagan just might decide to pursue other interests. We kind of like the sound of future WNBA Commissioner Meagan Cowher. Or how about NFL Commissioner? Or maybe she'd just like to "settle" for being CEO of Dannon Yogurt.

Good Luck to Meagan and her Tiger teammates Friday . . . against our Terps, they're gonna need all the help they can get!

Photo Credits: (top) Martha Rial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Meagan Cowher and mom Kaye); center and bottom:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Still Going!

Yes, the Mystics Front Office is Still Blogging! Monday through Friday . . . a different blogger each day.

Earlier today, GM Linda Hargrove shared her impressions of Laura Harper in the Terps' game on Halloween against the WNBA stars from Team USA. She also enjoyed some of the costumes sported by Terps fans.

If you haven't checked the blog in a while, perhaps it's time to get caught up. Whatever you do, don't miss last week's entry by Coach Tree Rollins about his fishing trip with Chubby . . . and the wrench!

And, by the way, new COO Greg Bibb is definitely a quick study. He posted the (formerly missing) link to the BasketCases on his blog last Thursday. Thanks, Greg!

Tuesday AM Update: Today the Mystics introduce Guest Blogger Alana Beard! Funny and informative!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Waiting Game.

The only thing for a basketball player that is more difficult than coming in as a college freshman . . . having to work harder than ever before, having to prove yourself all over again and having to fight for every minute of playing time . . . has to be coming in as a college freshman and suffering a season-ending injury (before the season even starts!), so that you suddenly find yourself on the sidelines, watching the game you love, waiting, with no actual chance to compete.

The BasketCases have already mentioned how excited we are about Maryland's three healthy freshmen, Drey Mingo, Marah Strickland and Kat Lyons. But the Terps have two more outstanding freshmen talents, who, unfortunately, find themselves in exactly that difficult situation, Kim Rodgers and Anjalé Barrett. Both 5'9"guards are redshirting this season as a result of ACL injuries.

At the moment, they have veteran company on the sidelines. Senior Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood continues to be plagued by leg problems that predate her arrival at Maryland; she underwent surgery last April, but, despite intensive rehab in the off-season, is not yet cleared to play.

But make no mistake. Kim, Anjalé and Sa'de, though sidelined, are very much part of this season's Terrapins. You can see them at practices, at team meetings, and at games. They are all working hard to get healthy; they are learning the team's offensive and defensive schemes; but mostly they are waiting.

And when it comes to waiting, they have an excellent role model in Emery Wallace, a Red-shirt Freshman in her 2nd season with the Terps, who suffered not one, but two major knee injuries last season. Emery stayed remarkably positive throughout her ordeal, rehabbed intensely and, we're pleased to report, is now actually back in uniform and able to play. It may take her some time to get back to pre-injury form, but if anybody can do it, we believe Emery can!

On Friday, the season begins in earnest when Princeton comes to Comcast, and we won't be hearing those sidelined players' names mentioned much after that. So the BasketCases want to give a big shout-out to three VITs (Very Important Terps), Sa'de, Kim and Anjalé, who face possibly the toughest job of all this season, waiting. To them . . . we say remember, as poet John Milton wrote, "They also serve who only stand and wait." (And if you think we're quoting 17th century poetry just because the Ivy Leaguers are on their way to town, then you know us pretty well!)