Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's How You Finish. The Virginia Cavaliers came out fully ready to play the #4 team in the nation tonight, while the Terps . . .well, the Terps came out a bit flat.

That, combined with the two quick fouls that Marissa Coleman picked up, sending her to the bench for quite a while, resulted in the Cavs leading by as much as ten for a good chunk of the half. But thanks to a late surge by the Terps, sparked by some critical baskets by freshman starter Marah Strickland, the momentum shifted back to Maryland, who headed to the locker room down only one after the first 20 minutes, 33-34.

Although the Terps took their first lead about 15 seconds into the second half, Virginia did not give up, closed the gap, and turned the game into a nail-biter, as the teams traded baskets until late in the period. But just as overtime is our time, so are the final minutes of regulation. As they did on Monday against Duke, Maryland ended with a late charge to finish off the Hoos with a double-digit advantage, 74-62.

Marah had a huge night, playing all 40 minutes and notching 19 points. Kinda reminds us of 2006 when a couple of freshmen stepped up big. And while one of those former freshmen, Marissa Coleman, played only 23 minutes tonight because of foul trouble, she still scored in double figures (13), as did that other former freshman Kristi Toliver, who had 16 points and 5 assists.

Crystal ("All World") Langhorne entered the game needing only 5 points to break the legendary Vicky Bullett's record as Maryland's all-time leading scorer. Well, Lang not only broke that record, she smashed it by putting up 20 points (!) -- along with 16 rebounds (!!), for another double-double. The Rebounders (three full red-clad rows of us) were keeping track of Lang's points, and when she got her 5th, gave her a standing ovation. Congratulations to Lang!! She's just amazing!

Speaking of the Rebounders (plus other Maryland fans in attendance) . . . our group was loud and we definitely made our presence known, earning a much-appreciated thumbs up from Coach Park at the end of the game.

And as it turns out Coach Park was a topic of convesation in, of all places, the ladies restroom. Wearing red Maryland tees meant that in the women's room during half-time, surrounded by a sea of orange female Wahoos, the BasketCases were politely asked a number of questions about how Coach B is doing ("Great, but she can't tie her shoelaces"), why she wasn't here tonight ("Doctor's orders"), and when she's having the babies ("We don't know, but perhaps that scary first half caused her water to break"). But our favorite comment came from a very dignified southern matron, who proclaimed, "That very nice young man is doing a great job filling in for Coach Frese." ("Yes, the BasketCases definitely agree.")

Finally, the BasketCases want to give a special shout out of thanks to the Rebounders and the University of Maryland Transportation Department, who arranged to pick us up and to drop us off today at a Park and Ride closer to our home in Virginia, so we could start blogging before the rest of the Rebounders got home! Thank you!


At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Steve said...

As a Rebounder, I want to thank you for the great coverage of the best college team in the area. I was not able to make the UVA trip (watched on the tube) and enjoyed seeing you guys cheering. Your blog is the first thing I turn to for a summary of a game, and your insights and color commentary are great. Fear the Turtle.


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