42 points! Unbelievable!! Except . . . believe it! By now, you surely know that's how many points Marissa Coleman scored (along with 15 rebounds) in the Terps' Regional Semi-Final win over SEC Tournament Champion Vanderbilt this afternoon, 78-74.
We have to conclude that this morning, when Marissa woke up and checked her Blackberry, she found no entry on her calendar that said "play last college basketball game." Such an event was simply not on her schedule. So when the Terps were down by 18 points in the first half, and 11 in the second, Marissa simply put the team on her back and refused to lose. "Refused to lose"? Yeah, it's a well-worn cliche. But what can we say? That's exactly what happened.
Marissa was not prepared to have her college career end this afternoon at the RBC Center, and fortunately she had the skills . . . and, most important, the heart, to ensure that it didn't. When things looked the most bleak for her struggling Terp teammates, that's when Rissa found a way -- any way -- to drag her team back into the game. She scored and scored, and rebounded, and scored some more.
The BasketCases drove 540 miles roundtrip to see this game in Raleigh today, and it was worth every mile! Marissa's performance was simply one of the most astonishing things we've ever seen. It was a Maryland school record -- but it's not like it came against some over-matched out-of-conference opponent. It came in the Sweet Sixteen, against the very tough, formidable, never-give-up SEC Tourney Champs, from Vandy. In other words, Rissa choose a Big Stage for a Big Record! Congratulations, Marissa . . . and thank you for giving the BasketCases and other Maryland fans another chance to see you and KT (who today had a mere 17 pts) play another day.
It's a pretty long drive from Nashville to Raleigh, so there were far fewer 'Dores fans in the house . . . more like a Yellow Stream than a Red Sea. But the Vandy fans who did make it to the RBC Center should be very proud of their team. The Commodores played a really tough game, representing their school, their fans and their Conference very well!
All afternoon, Coach B encouraged the Terps to hang in there, and they did. These players are not quitters. They were down, but not out. And they never, ever, gave up.
With 29 seconds left in the game, Marissa hit a jumper to break the tie, putting the Terps up for good, then grabbed a defensive rebound on the other end, was fouled, and iced the win by nailing both free throws (she was 10 of 11 for the game).
We all love Jeff, but not so much on Monday. Go Terps! Beat the Cards!