Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

As our loyal readers know, the BasketCases like drinking champagne almost as much as we like watching basketball. Like any wine, champagne is something that can (and should) be enjoyed year round, no special occasion necessary. But New Year's Eve is inextricably linked to popping a bottle of the sparkling stuff, and so we bring you once again a BasketCases tribute to our favorite wine.

These lovely bottles are in a shop window in Reims, France, the heart of the Champagne region. We wish we had stores like this in our neighborhood!

This is where it all begins . . . the vineyards of Champagne.

Epernay, France, is home to one of the best-named streets in the entire world. The sign says it all!

The champagne houses in Reims age their wine in ancient Roman chalk cellars 100 feet below ground. The cellars are humid and stay at a constant (chilly) temperature of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit year round, perfect conditions for storing wine. The cellars are also quite dark, another benefit, as light is no friend of wine! These are the famous steps down into the cellars of Champagne Pommery.

The cellars in Reims and Epernay contain miles and miles of narrow galleries literally filled with millions and millions of bottles of aging champagne. If you are a fan of champagne, walking around in these cellars is like being a little kid in a candy store. (Except that you can't buy those bottles, or even take a sip!)

As champagne undergoes its second fermentation in the bottle, carbon dioxide is formed, resulting in those all-important bubbles. But there's another by-product of the second fermentation -- dead yeast and other sediment, called lees. That's the dark gunky stuff along the inside of the bottle above. Champagne ages "on the lees" (that is, with the lees in the bottle) for at least a year and, in the case of the finest champagnes, for many years. Naturally, the lees are removed (disgorged) before the wine is ready for sale.

In the "old days," after the champagne had aged on the lees, the bottles were placed at an angle in riddling racks, and were turned by hand a few degrees each day and tipped further upside down by skilled workers called riddlers, allowing the lees over the course of about a month to settle slowly in the necks where they could easily be disgorged. Good riddlers would turn thousands of bottles a day (a recipe for carpal tunnel syndrome). In most houses, the process has now been mechanized, with the bottles packed into metal cages and turned by machine. No doubt more efficient, but certainly not as romantic or picturesque.

The Eiffel Tower it isn't, but the barrel above -- the world's largest champagne barrel -- took second prize to that now-iconic structure at the 1889 World Exposition in Paris. (We have no idea what came in third.) The barrel was the brainchild of Eugene Mercier, founder of Mercier Champagne in Epernay, who wanted to (and apparently did) make a big splash at the Exposition. Getting the barrel the 90 or so miles from Epernay to Paris (and then back again) in the days before superhighways and 18-wheelers was no easy feat. It took about 20 horses and two dozen oxen . . . and five homes along the way had to be destroyed to make room for the giant cask. The barrel holds approximately 200,000 bottles of champagne, and is now on display at the House of Mercier in Epernay. Mercier champagne is not sold in the United States. But don't despair. It's not very good. Still, it's a fun place to visit, as you can tour the cellars on a little Disney-esque train, and of course see The Barrel up close!

We won't be drinking anything tonight as old as these vintages locked away in Veuve Clicquot's cellars in Reims (which might just have turned into vinegar by now anyway), but we promise you it will be good. If you'd like some personal recommendations from the BasketCases, just follow this link to our blog from last year. One warning, however -- with the dollar doing so poorly against the euro, expect prices on champagne to be higher. But still worth it!

And just remember: if it didn't come from Champagne, it isn't champagne. (But that's okay. As we've said before, there are wonderful other -- and often less expensive -- sparkling wines out there, especially from California. So enjoy!)

And whatever you may be drinking or not drinking, Happy New Year, everyone!!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Party of Threes

If any of our readers has ever been to a basketball game in which there were more than 27 three-point shots hit in regulation, please let us know, because we can't believe that what we (and 5,900 other Terps fans) experienced today at the Comcast Center happens very often. On their way to routing the UMBC Retrievers this afternoon, 98-56, the Terps set a new ACC record for most threes made in a game, 17! But the Retrievers were no slouches from behind the arc either, hitting 10 of their own. It was a veritable 3-pointer party in College Park . . . and another fun game for the fans.

Maryland's prior record for threes was (a mere) 12. That record was broken by freshman Drey Mingo, when she nailed the Terps' 13th trey with about 10 minutes left in the second half. About two minutes later, another freshman, Kat Lyons, hit Maryland's 14th . . . and then the Terps added three more . . . just for good measure. In other words, they literally shattered the old record! 17 . . . Amazing!

Five different Terps hit threes and all five Terps starters finished in double figures. Marissa Coleman hit a remarkable six threes (a career high), for 18 points (plus 6 assists and 8 boards). Kristi was right behind with five treys of her own (plus two additional points -- for a total of 17 -- as well as 8 assists). Lang had another double-double (14 points and 10 boards), while Harp added 16 points and Marah 12.

The New Year won't be rung in until Monday night, but the party started early today at Comcast!

* * * * * * * * *

Monday Morning Update. Having sent Kathy Orton to cover Saturday's game between the Terps and the Spiders, the Washington Post must have hit its weekly quota for in-person coverage of women's sports, as it once again today published a wire services account of a Maryland game. Boo and hiss to the Post's Sports Editor.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


For Terps fans who have followed the team through the frenetic season-opening 14 games in 31 days, it was refreshingly relaxing today to watch Maryland play a blowout game that was just plain fun. The Richmond Spiders, despite the 27 points put up by Brittani Shells, were simply no match for the Terps, who won by 30 points, 89-59.

Marissa Coleman led Maryland's scoring with 23 (including 4 baskets from behind the arc) on her way to another double-double (10 boards). Lang also finished with a double-double (15 and 15). And two more Terps, Kristi (16) and Jade (10), also notched double figures. In addition, KT dished out 7 assists . . . including one highlight-reel-worthy scoop pass to Lang.

The mismatch allowed Coach B to go to her bench early and often, as every non-injured player saw action this afternoon. It was particularly satisfying to see the freshman reserves get some minutes. Rookie Kat Lyons, who showed early in the season what a sweet shot she has, nailed two beautiful treys, while Drey Mingo pulled down 5 rebounds and added 5 points.

The Terrapin Creampuff Classic concludes with tomorrow's 2 PM game between the Terps and the UMBC Retrievers (who were beaten on Friday by the Spiders, 64-51). And then, finally, just a few more days of waiting, and the ACC season begins!

Friday, December 28, 2007

They're Baaack!

Unless you were crazy enough to blow off work and go careening out I-66 to catch the Terps' game at JMU a week ago yesterday (now who would do something like that?), then you haven't had the treat of seeing Maryland play (live) since December 9 (doesn't that seem like a lifetime ago?).

The good news is that your wait is over (finally!) as the Terps return to action tomorrow at Comcast to close out 2007 with the Terrapin Creampuff Classic. The three-game round-robin event actually begins this afternoon (Friday) at 1 PM, when the Richmond Spiders face off against the UMBC Retrievers. If, like many Washington-area residents, you're not at work this week between the holidays, and if, by now, the kids and/or the in-laws are driving you absolutely bonkers, load up the Prius, the SUV or the mini-van and bring the whole extended clan to College Park! Since the Terps aren't playing, admission to today's Richmond vs UMBC game is free! It's hard to beat a deal like that!

The Terps themselves take to the floor on Saturday, at 2 PM, when they face the Richmond Spiders, and then again on Sunday, also at 2 PM, when they meet the UMBC Retrievers. (Admission to these two games will not be free.) If for some reason you can't make it to those games, you can watch a live web cast via ACC Select or listen on the radio.

According to this morning's Washington Times, the Terps had a good rest over the holidays and are ready to rock in this weekend's tournament and roll into the ACC season after the New Year. We fans are well-rested too and looking forward to this weekend's Classic, some good champagne on Monday night, and, most important, the start of ACC play next week!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Thursday, December 27, 2007

They're Watching!

According to recent press reports (see here and here), Maryland has four players (Crystal, Laura, Marissa and Kristi, 1-2-3-4!) on the pre-season watch list released late last week for the prestigious (but kinda ugly) Naismith Trophy. That's the most of any school in the country! The Naismith is awarded at season's end to the individual considered to be the national player of the year. Having four players in contention for this honor just shows how deep and balanced this Terps team really is.

Congratulations to Lang, Harp, Marissa and Kristi! We'll be watching!

ACC Player of the Week. It's hard to believe she's never won it before, but for the first time in her career, Laura Harper was named this week's ACC Player of the Week. It seems like a long time ago, but her HUGE game at JMU last week (which helped the Terps end the Dukes' longest home win streak in the nation) clearly caught the attention of the voters. Congratulations Harp!

By the way, with Laura's selection, four Terps (yes, the same four named to the Naismith watch list) have now won the ACC Player of the Week award this season. And also (by the way) in last week's JMU game, Lang pulled down her 1,000th career rebound (and added a few more for good measure), making her the first female Terp (and only the second Maryland player ever) to hit that remarkable milestone. Lang is closing in on Terp Len Elmore's record 1,053.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays From the BasketCases

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases (top); University of Maryland (bottom)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Packed House

As you've already seen from our live mobile blogs below, the BasketCases had an abrupt change in plans yesterday and decided that we simply had to be there in person for the conclusion of the Kristi Toliver Love Boat cruise. But we didn't come to that decision until early in the afternoon, so it was a mad dash from Washington, DC to Harrisonburg, VA (a trip of about 135 miles). Or rather, a bit of a long crawl, as I-66, even well before rush hour, was a veritable parking lot. But we made it to the JMU Convocation Center, affectionately known locally as the Convo, with time to spare. The Convo is an ancient arena (no Jumbotron!), built at a time when architects thought that women never had to go to the bathroom. You know those kinds of places . . . four toilets.

And that was indeed a challenge last night, as five thousand people turned out for KT's homecoming, packing the Convo to the rafters. (The crowd was the fourth largest in JMU history.) When the Terps were introduced, KT got a huge ovation, with many of the JMU fans rising to their feet. The students, of course, behaved rudely as students everywhere do (and if you've ever been to a game at Comcast you know what we mean), yelling "Traitor" whenever KT had the ball. But they were in the minority, as we found the crowd to be quite friendly. Many of them had connections to the Toliver family. Indeed, the guy across the aisle from us told us about how his wife used to babysit for Kristi.

Unfortunately, KT drew two quick little touch fouls a mere two minutes into the game, and had to sit out most of the first half. Maryland's offense simply was not the same without her, and at halftime, the score was tied, 33-33. After the break, the Terps still could not quite get their offense going, recording 5 turnovers before finally scoring their first points of the half. Meanwhile, JMU was methodically pulling away, and managed to build a 10-point lead fairly late in the second half. The crowd, sensing an upset and hoping to extend the nation's longest home winning streak, was loud . . . and wild. But somehow, some way (as their loyal fans have seen them do before) the Terps crawled back into the game, making several critical shots and free throws when they counted most, and eked out a 71-65 win. It was truly heart-stopping there for a while, if you were a Terps fan . . . and there were several rows of us plus other sprinklings of red-shirted fans throughout the house.

Laura Harper had a BIG game for Maryland, scoring 24 points, while Marissa Coleman (19 points, 11 boards) and Crystal Langhorne (11 and 11), each had a double double. An unusually nervous (and after those early fouls, somewhat frustrated) homecoming queen, Kristi Toliver, finished with a below-average 8 points but an impressive 7 assists in limited minutes.

We want to give a big shout out to JMU Coach Kenny Brooks and his staff, who very kindly offered Coach B (and she accepted) the use of a rolling office chair much like the one she's been using at home games. This proved not only important to her physical comfort last night, but was of great assistance as the creative officiating prompted her to leap to her feet quite often to encourage her team as well as to engage the refs in a few heart-to-heart conversations.

So the JMU streak is now history. And Maryland's modest 4 game win-streak is still alive. And a couple of BasketCases are off to their offices this morning, tired but happy.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Thursday, December 20, 2007

n the Road...

The BasketCases are heading home from Harrisonburg after witnessing Maryland's heart-stopping come from behind win over JMU, 71-65. The Terps were down by as many as 10 in the second half, but the cardiac kids pulled it out, ending the longest home win streak in D-I basketball. We're driving north on I-81 at the moment, so that's all for now. But a win always makes the drive home feel shorter.

BasketCases live mobile blogging.

Live From Harrisonburg

Change of plans. The BasketCases are here. Big crowd. More later!

BasketCases live mobile blogging.

Homecoming Queen. Returning to our cruise aboard the Kristi Toliver Love Boat, we see that the sports section in today's Harrisonburg, Virginia, Daily News Record is pretty much all KT. "She's Back" the paper proudly proclaims in a feature about Kristi's return to her hometown. Tonight the Terps take on James Madison University, the team with the longest home winning streak in the nation (30 games!), at 7PM at the JMU Convocation Center.

Unlike the coaches of other Maryland opponents, JMU Coach Kenny Brooks (a Toliver family friend) did not wait until after the game to shower KT with some love. Nope, Brooks has already boarded the Kristi Toliver Love Boat, proclaiming Kristi "the best point guard in the country." In another article in today's News Record, Brooks also acknowledges the extraordinary talent of KT's teammates. "They're all McDonalds All-Americans," he says. (Two articles in the same paper about a game that hasn't even been played yet? Amazing!)

Meanwhile, clear across the Old Dominion, today's Richmond Times-Dispatch also has a preview of tonight's game, noting that JMU is expecting a crowd of more than 6,000 to see KT's homecoming. And Coach Brooks is looking for a big game from KT: "I hope Kristi scores 40 and we win by one."

Back home in Maryland, the Baltimore Sun's Milton Kent also booked passage on the Kristi Toliver Love Boat (no doubt with the ship's dashing young Purser, Rhet) before Captain Brenda and First Mate Daron steered it away from the dock in College Park.

JMU will be doing their best tonight to extend their D-I best win steak and the Terps will be doing their best to end it. So there's a lot on the line tonight . . . besides KT's homecoming. If, like the BasketCases, you can't make it to Harrisonburg, you can listen to the game via the Terps' web site or, better yet, watch it via a pay-per-view JMU web cast (which you can subscribe to here). It looks like the cheapest subscription option is $7.95 (expensive!), but we think it should be worth it (if the technology works) to catch the conclusion of the cruise. All aboard!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Interrupt our Kisti Toliver Love Boat cruise to bring you this important announcement article . . .'s front-page feature this morning is a long, interesting (and flattering) feature by Mechelle Voepel about Coach B's pregnancy titled "Playing for Two."

"Coleman . . . said that after the twins arrive, maybe they'll get to help the Terps cut down some nets in the postseason. Hearing that, teammate Laura Harper cracked up at the image of infants wielding scissors but …

Hey, knowing Frese, she just might have the kind of babies who could climb a ladder and sever twine when they were a month old. By next season, they'll be breaking down game film."

Great read!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Welcome Aboard the Kristi Toliver Love Boat!

The U.S.S. Testudo will be pulling away from the dock in College Park tomorrow, arriving Thursday at its next port of call, Harrisonburg, Virginia . . . hometown of Terps point guard Kristi Toliver. We expect KT will be feeling some love from the locals (even though Maryland will be doing its best to end JMU's home winning streak -- the longest in the nation). But it won't be the first outpouring of love for Kristi this year. Oh no, this season it's been smooth sailing on the Kristi Toliver Love Boat!

Let's let the ship's Cruise Director, Stacey ("I love you, Kristi Toliver") Dales, introduce our Guest Stars for this episode, in Chronological Order . . .

Diana Taurasi (October 31, 2007): "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."

Princeton Coach Courtney Banghart (November 9, 2007): "We tried to set our game plan to just try and challenge her shots, but she still made them . . . I think if she just keeps leading her team I am sure she will be in line for one of the end-of-the-year awards . . ."

Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw (November 16, 2007): "She's an all-American, for sure, and definitely one of the best point guards in the country. We could not contain her in any way and she is very impressive to watch. . . it didn't matter what we did. She was going to score."

LSU Coach Van Chancellor (November 18, 2007): "[Kristi] Toliver was just outstanding. I thought I was in a WNBA game the way she was making shots."

Loyola Coach Joe Logan (November 20, 2007): "Kristi Toliver is special, I was fortunate to be at St. Joe's when Jameer Nelson was there and she is that type of player. She makes everyone around her better . . ."

Dick Patrick, USA Today (November 26, 2007): "Toliver is 'overall package' who's making her point."

Middle Tennessee Coach Rick Insell (December 5, 2007): "She's the best point guard in the country. How many people can do what she did when she put them in the national championship game? . . . She's going to be on the Olympic team [someday]. . . she's got an ingredient that you're born with: she's a winner."

Temple Coach Dawn Staley (December 9, 2007): "She is the key . . . She is doing extremely well, and probably the best point guard at this time in the country."

Can't you just feel the love? Enjoy your homecoming, KT!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Night Lights. After watching the Terps play (live, tv or webcast) every 2.214 days, on average, for the last month, by this morning (with no game in 5 whole days!) the BasketCases were desperately in need of a basketball fix.

Fortunately, the high school scheduling Gods were smiling on us, as tonight the DC area's #4 team, the Edison Eagles, were hosting the area's #11 team, the T.C. Williams Titans, whose roster boasts one of the top-ranked prep players in the country, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt.

So, we headed out, fought rush hour traffic, and walked into the lobby of the gym (with the sweet sound of squeaking sneakers wafting toward us from the open door), but before gaining entrance, we bumped into . . . Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer! We chatted briefly, and then continued our pilgrimage. No sooner had we stepped through the door of the gym when we practically tripped over Bill Lawson, father of Kara, and a veritable fixture on the girls basketball scene in the area. We said hello to Mr. Lawson, and then noticed that Bill was standing next to new Duke Coach Joanne P. (Bite Me!) McCallie. So we stopped again to exchange a few words with Coach P . . . and spoke with her again at halftime. (We are pleased to report that, unlike her husband, she doesn't bite!)

By this time, the gym was filling up, so Coach C-Viv and the BasketCases grabbed a few of the last prime seats in the bleachers and settled in to await the start of the game. Now, of course, we remembered the Titans' new coach was none other than the Mystics' first coach, Jim Lewis . . . but nevertheless seeing him again on the sidelines . . . well, let's just say it caused a bit of a brain infarction as we tried to block out all recollection of that 3-27 season. Of course, Jim was not the last of the BasketCases' coach-sightings. No, Virginia's Debbie Ryan was seated in the next section over, and we're pretty sure we spotted a couple of members of the Georgetown Hoyas coaching staff.

As for the game . . . the Titans pulled the upset, beating Edison 58-48. The game was closer for 3 quarters than the final score indicates, thanks in large part to (too) many missed free throws by TRP that allowed the Eagles to stay in the game. TRP did, however, put up 20 points, grab 14 rebounds, and notch 6 steals.

A standing room only crowd, a nationally-ranked young player, a couple of Hall of Fame coaches, a Mystics blast-from-the-past, the coach of Maryland's arch rival, an upset win by our local team . . . just your ordinary high school girls baskeball game under Friday night's gymnasium lights.

Cell Phone Photo Credit: DC BasketCases (and that will teach us not to go anywhere without a real camera!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

With Maryland On Hold at the moment, the BasketCases would like to pass along to our readers some Mystics news . . .

Earlier today, the WNBA released its 2008 schedule. The Mystics' home opener at the Phone Booth is scheduled for Sunday, May 25th, at 4 PM vs the Houston Comets. Fans get their first look at the new Atlanta fill-in-the-blanks the following Tuesday, May 27th.

Because 2008 is an Olympics year, the WNBA schedule is a little odd. The season begins early, on May 17th (the Mystics play Indy on the road that Saturday). And the bulk of the season's games are scheduled for June & July. The Mystics play 10 games in June and 11 in July. Not quite 14 games in 31 days, but pretty intense nevertheless! Then in August the season is put on hold, so that the WNBA Olympians from the USA and other countries can all rejoin their national teams for the competition in Beijing. WNBA games resume the last weekend of August, and the regular season continues into September, with postseason play scheduled for late September through early October.

Last year, Maryland sent one of its two seniors, Shay Doron, to the WNBA. This April, the BasketCases wouldn't be surprised to see three of the Terps' seniors drafted. Two of them, Lang and Harp, are very likely to be picked early in the first round! We're certain other Maryland fans join us in hoping that at least one of this season's Terps ends up in a Mystics uniform next summer. In any event, the way to guarantee you don't miss a single appearance that Lang, Harp, Jade or Shay may make at the Verizon Center is to buy (or renew) your Mystics season tickets now! We've got ours!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Holidays 2007 from the University of Maryland!

If you haven't already seen this video greeting card, check it out! You should recognize a few familiar faces!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Whistle While You Work. There were times today when the BasketCases wondered if the officials had read that part of their job description. You know . . . the part that says they are supposed to actually blow their whistles when a player is being pushed, grabbed, elbowed or outright mugged. We don't complain too often about the calls, and we're not really complaining about any today. The calls, for the most part, were okay, but the no-calls . . . well, let's not go there.

Fortunately, thanks to the Terps' playing sooo much better than their opponent, the Temple Owls, the officials didn't really affect the outcome of today's game, as Maryland improved to 13-1 with a 64-46 win at Comcast. Maryland scored the first basket, never trailed and was never even threatened. Very aggressive (and physical) defense by the Owls (plus the lost whistles) slowed the Terps' offense somewhat, but Temple failed to capitalize on the lower-than-usual output, as Maryland held Dawn Staley's team to less than 33% from the field.

Kristi Toliver, despite dishing out 7 assists in the first 20 minutes, was herself held scoreless before the break. But afterwards, well, Kristi put up 15 points to lead all scorers and added 4 more assists (11 total) for another double double. Marissa Coleman and Crystal Langhorne also finished in double figures, 12 & 14 respectively.

Maryland has now played a grueling (and perhaps unprecedented) schedule of 14 games in 31 days! It's hard to believe they won't be back at Comcast until after Christmas, as the team takes a much-deserved break for exams. We and other fans may well be suffering from basketball withdrawal by then. We will be counting the days.

[Note to Debbie Yow: Mel Greenberg of the Philadelphia Inquirer has brought to the attention of his readers "the the newly-established removal of the pre-game media feed at Maryland in certain situations because of budgetary concerns." So in the same week that you land a $10 million donation, Mel (very nearly) goes hungry? Please, Debbie, can't you find some way to carve out (pun intended) a little of that meaty contibution for a Feed Mel Fund . . . available only for the care and nourishment of Hall-of-Fame reporters?]

Saturday, December 08, 2007

After losing a father, a grandmother, or much-loved pet, it's never easy to get off the bench and back in the game. We know this from personal experience . . . having lost family members, both human and canine (as, no doubt, have many of our readers). We've found that sometimes it helps to just get going again.

So, we've been catching up on our reading, and here's some interesting stuff we've discovered (most of which is probably old news to most of you) . . .

Coach B Stylin'! Yesterday, the feature article on the front page of the Washington Post's Style Section was a long, interesting, in-depth article about Coach Frese's Double Duty this season . . . carrying twins and coaching a title contender. The print editon of the feature covers almost two full pages, with several great photos mixed in. We learn that Drey Mingo, who's interested in pursuing a career in pediatric medicine (perhaps after a stint in the WNBA) will be joining Coach B and husband Mark Thomas on their next sonogram appointment. [Aside to Drey: If you notice one or both of the babies have a little squiggly thing, DO NOT ask the doctor about this while the parents-to-be are in the room! They don't want to know.] Lots of great reading in this feature . . . this is a don't miss!

Stricken with Strickland. Apparently we aren't the only people who've been struck by the veteran-like performance of freshman starter Marah Strickland thus far this season. Also on Friday, The Diamondback focused on Marah's contribution to the team's success. "'She doesn't play like a freshman,' Frese said" in the University paper.

Introducing (Again). On Thursday, Matt Bracken in the Baltimore Sun's Recruiting Report introduces us to the Terps' 2009 verbal commit, Dara Taylor . . . whom the BasketCases introduced in their blog on Tuesday. "First of all she is lightning quick and fast," Dara's high school coach Kristin Caldwell told Bracken. Dara's enthusiasm for becoming a future Terp comes through loud and clear in Matt's Report . . . and that makes for good reading.

No doubt, you already saw or at least know all about how a flu-bitten Maryland line-up pulled out a close win over Middle Tennessee State on Wednesday, even without their head coach (or bloggers) in attendance. And how the Terps caged the Panthers of Northern Iowa last night in a lopsided easy victory.

Tomorrow (Sunday), the always feisty Temple Owls and their coach, Dawn Staley, arrive at Comcast to face off against the Terps in a 2 PM game. However, if you're a season ticket holder or Family 4-pack owner, the fun begins at Noon with a party for Maryland's best fans!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


  • Born: August 16, 1992

  • Welcomed into our family: November 7, 1992

  • Crossed over the Rainbow Bridge: December 6, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A happy Dee Liles (second from left) after signing Letter of Intent

Our Bad! In our blog yesterday, where we reported some (good) recruiting news, we made an embarrassing omission . . . Demauria Liles. According to, Dee, "the No. 1 JUCO forward in the nation," has re-signed a letter of intent with the Terps for next season. This from the Panama City News Herald:
“That’s where I always wanted to go,” Liles said of Maryland. “It was between Maryland and LSU. I’m just ready to go back home.” The Terrapins run a four guard and one post offense, and told Liles she can compete for a forward position next season. Liles also was considering LSU and Louisville, but felt comfortable with Maryland. [GCCC Coach Roonie] Scovel praised Maryland’s re-recruitment of Liles. “They remained loyal to her and she remained loyal to them,” she said.
This spring, Dee was the only JUCO player among the 16 finalists being considered to represent USA Basketball in the U19 World Championships. The list of 16 finalists reads like a Who's Who of young basketball talent -- Maya Moore, Jantel Lavender, Elena Delle Donne, Allyssa DeHaan, Monica Wright, Jasmine Thomas . . . and Demauria was part of that exalted company. says this about how Dee made the cut to the group of 16:
Liles, who should be at Maryland for the 2008-09 season, sat in a large pack of athletic, 6-0 to 6-1 players for a couple days, then busted out with her ability to run the floor and finish in traffic. She also has length which, combined with her explosiveness, also makes her a factor at the defensive end.
Dee is currently attending Gulf Coast Community College, but her roots are here in the DC-MD area -- she played at Riverdale Baptist H.S. for then-Head Coach Diane Richardson, now an assistant coach on Coach B's staff. Welcome Home, Dee!

Photo Credit: Gulf Coast Community College

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Milestones. At Rutgers last night, two Maryland players reached significant milestones in their college careers.

Crystal Langhorne is now Maryland's All-Time Leading Rebounder, as she surpassed Vicky Bullett's long-standing record of 968 career boards. According to the Associated Press,
"It's bad that it happened at this game," Langhorne said. "But it's special to achieve that record."
Congratulations to Lang!

Kristi Toliver, meanwhile, became the third Maryland player this season to gain admission to the very exclusive 1,000 point club, when she hit a 3-pointer in the closing minutes at Rutgers. No doubt both she and Crystal would have traded these personal milestones for a win last night, but, despite the loss, these are very significant accomplishments. Congratulations to KT!

More (good) News . . .

Yesterday, Crystal Langhorne was named ACC Co-Player of the Week. Her first full week back in the line-up, and her first POW award this season . . . pretty impressive!

Speaking of impressive . . . The young lady to the left is none other than Lynetta "Yah-Yah" Kizer. It's not a school assignment that she's concentrating on so intently (although we're certain she spends a great deal of time doing just that). No, she's concentrating so intently on signing her National Letter of Intent with the Maryland Terrapins! Lynetta is the top-ranked scholastic post player in the 2008 graduating class (the #5 player overall), and this time next year, she'll be wearing the Red, White & Black of Maryland, teaming up with Drey Mingo and Emery Wallace to provide the Terps with another formidable front court after Lang, Harp and Jade move on to the next level. Lynetta plays for nearby Potomac H.S. in Woodbridge, Virginia. What could be better for a young athlete than playing close enough to home so that your family and friends can continue to support you and to follow (firsthand) your playing career? Welcome, Lynetta!

In other recruiting news, Class of 2009, 5'6" guard, Dara Taylor, from Caravel Academy in Delaware, recently gave Maryland her verbal committment. As a high school junior this year, Dara can't sign on the dotted line until next November, but she's telling everyone where she plans to play. According to The News Journal of Wilmington, DE,

She chose Maryland after seeing an exuberant coach Brenda Frese during a recently televised game. "I just saw her energy," Taylor said, "and thought that's where I wanted to be."

A loyal reader familiar with Dara's game tells the BasketCases that Dara is a "lightning quick point guard." Sounds like a great future addition to the Terps' line-up! Welcome, Dara!

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Monday, December 03, 2007

10-1. A disappointing night for Maryland in the RAC, as Rutgers' defense trumped the Terps' offense, 68-60. The Scarlet Knights held the Terrapins to 20 points below their average, doing what Rutgers does best . . . disrupting offenses, contesting every pass, denying transition opportunities . . . and getting into their opponent's head.

Maryland entered the locker room at half-time with a 10 point lead, but after the break saw that lead quickly disappear. Although Maryland was able to get the lead back up to 10 points, Rutgers again closed up the gap, and the Terps could not come back a second time.

Tonight the Scarlet Knights executed when it counted and came away with the win. But a game like this one, though terribly disappointing for the Terps, could very well be a learning opportunity and a source of motivation that we hope will stand them in good stead in March and April. Rutgers vs Maryland in the Final 4? Sounds good to us!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Maryland vs Rutgers. #3 vs #4/6. Offense vs Defense. Old School (Coach C Viv) vs New Wave (Coach B . . . coaching against her teenage idol). 2006's #1 vs 2007's #2. ACC vs Big East. USA Basketball teammates going head-to-head (Lang, Harp & Marissa meet gold-medal teammates Matee Ajavon, Essence Carson and Kia Vaughn). A wonderful raison d'etre . . . to raise money and awareness for the cancer-fighting V Foundation. All played out in front of a large and most likely loud Rutgers home crowd on national television (Monday, 7 PM on ESPN2). If you can't get excited about this game . . . well, you'd better check your pulse.

When Maryland boards the bus today, they'll be packing an offense that averages more than 80 ppg. We don't need to remind our loyal readers that the Terps are known for their wide-open, fast-paced, score from any position, fun fun fun-to-watch offense! When they play tomorrow night in New Jersey, it will be against a Rutgers team known for its stifling, pressing, in-your-face, smothering defense. The Scarlet Knights' opponents (including LSU) have been averaging under 48 ppg.

Except for the fact that the two teams share Red & Black as their school colors, these two teams couldn't be more different. The Best of Offense vs the Best of Defense. Forget Pat and Geno's messy divorce. This game could end up being the new classic out-of-conference rivalry of women's basketball. If you can't be in Piscataway, then tune in to ESPN2 at 7 PM Monday . . .

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"Don't Give Up, Don't Ever Give Up." Tomorrow's game, the Jimmy V Classic, is one in a series of events to raise money for the V Foundation, a charity started in partnership with ESPN by NC State Coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993. Another NC State coach, Kay Yow, has herself been battling cancer since before Jimmy V was diagnosed with it. Perhaps you've seen or read Kay's remarks about what a supportive friend and inspiration Jimmy V was to her. She isn't alone . . . Jimmy V has been an inspiration to many. If you've never seen or read his famous ESPY Awards speech, take the time to check it out.

Jim Valvano graduated from Rutgers and launched his coaching career there; thus it's appropriate that the Scarlet Knights will be hosting tomorrow's game. Jimmy V is perhaps more famous for being a natty-winning coach at NC State. But before NC State and before Rutgers, Jim starred for the Vikings of Seaford High School on Long Island . . . a school that just happens to have another famous basketball-playing alumna, BasketCase Eileen. As a schoolmate, BC Eileen remembers Jim as not the most talented athlete, but one who maximized every ounce of talent God gave him -- and never gave up. Even back then, senior Jim Valvano was somehow larger than life and someone not easily forgotten . . . not even by a then young Jr High student. It's an honor for the Terrapins to be invited to participate in the Jimmy V Classic and BC Eileen can't think of any other team she'd rather see play in a game honoring a former Seaford High Viking, Jimmy V.