Saturday, February 28, 2009

History Lesson

Each of the following events occurred in 1989:

  • A new President, George H.W. Bush, took the oath of office.
  • The Exxon Valdez ran aground, dumping 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound off the coast of Alaska.
  • The TV show "Seinfeld" premiered.
  • "Batman" was the highest-grossing movie of the year.
  • The Chinese government violently crushed student protests in Tiananmen Square.
  • Madonna's "Like a Prayer" was the year's hit single.
  • Golfer Michelle Wie was born.
  • The University of Maryland's women's basketball team last won an ACC Regular Season title.

The Terps have a chance to make some new history in Miami tomorrow (Sunday) when they take on the University of Miami Hurricanes at 2 PM. If they win, it won't matter what happens in the Florida State game against Wake Forest that starts an hour later. A victory by Maryland would lock up (at the very least) a share of the ACC Regular Season title, and the Terps would enter next week's ACC Tournament in Greensboro as the #1 seed. (You can watch the game on ACC Select, or listen on Terps radio.)

20 years is a long looooong time to wait. Go Terps . . . beat the U!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Double-Banner Night!

When two players combine to score 58 points against Duke, what can they possibly do for an encore? Well, they can combine to score 59 points against Boston College! Yes, for awhile there this evening it seemed as though the Maryland underclassmen thought Senior Night meant that only the seniors, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman, were allowed to score.

KT burst out of the gate, putting up 10 points in the first four minutes . . . four minutes! It took Marissa just a little longer -- about nine and a half minutes -- before hitting double figures herself. Slacker! (Just kidding.) And it wasn't until 6:53 left in the half, when someone texted the underclassman that they were allowed to score on Senior Night, that a Terp not wearing Number 20 or Number 25 got on the scoreboard. At that point, KT and Marissa, who had combined to score the Terps' first 30 points, were leading the Eagles by 10.

As expected, though, Boston College was a tough opponent, posing some difficult matchup problems from their two bigs, plus a not-unexpected hot hand from their outstanding guard, Mickel Picco. Despite trailing the entire game, the Eagles never gave up, even managing to narrow the margin to an uncomfortably close 3 points in the second half. But the Terps were not going to let anyone spoil Senior Night for Kristi and Marissa, and Maryland pulled ahead for the win, 86-74. Marissa led all scorers with 32 points (a career high!) and Kristi finished with 27. The win caps a second consecutive undefeated home season for the Terps. Absolutely Remarkable!!

Prior to the game, as part of the traditional Senior Night ritual, Kristi's and Marissa's families escorted them onto the floor to be recognized. But the main honor, and emotion, came after the game, as each of the Seniors returned again to the court to a highlight film on the jumbotron and a recitation by Coach B of each player's extraordinary accomplishments as a Terp. And when those long lists were completed, banners bearing Kristi's and Marissa's jersey numbers were dropped from the rafters, to thundering applause from the crowd of more than 11,000 who had come to honor these two extraordinary young women.

What an incredible four years it has been. It's possible we may never see any two players like this again. Both so talented. Both such big-game warriors. The school's first National Championship. Two years without losing at home. [And with tonight's victory. . . one win away from sharing a regular season ACC title.] "Special" doesn't begin to describe what these two players have meant to Maryland's fans and to the Maryland program. Thank you Kristi. Thank you Marissa. We won't forget you.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Time To Say Goodbye

Tonight, sadly, the regular season curtain falls at Comcast on an extraordinary four-year performance: the Maryland Women's Basketball Class of 2009, the winningest class in school history, the class that helped bring Maryland its first National Championship.

Those of us who have had the very great privilege -- and enormous pleasure and fun -- of watching Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman since they stepped onto the court in the fall of 2005 will never, ever forget the experience. And while it's clear from our glimpse of the next generation of Terps this year that there will be plenty of great Maryland basketball in the seasons to follow, the excitement of that first Natty can never be repeated. The first time is always a special time, and Kristi and Marissa are just simply special . . . period. Their careers and their extraordinary success as Terps have been so intertwined that it's fitting that they will be jointly honored tonight by the raising of their jersey numbers into the rafters, to hang alongside those of their Championship teammates, Shay, Crystal, and Laura. We cannot thank each of them enough for giving us, Terps fans, so much joy over the past four years. We can't believe (or, to be truthful, don't want to believe) that it's almost time to say goodbye to the final two members of that amazing team.

But before the tears begin, there's still basketball to be played. The Boston College Eagles are no parakeets. They played the Terps tough up in Chestnut Hill on February 9th, and Maryland barely escaped with a 4-point victory. BC's two bigs, 6'4" Stefanie Murphy and 6'6" Carolyn Swords, are an imposing frontcourt, and Lynetta Kizer and Dee Liles will have their work cut out for them. And undoubtedly, as was the case on the 9th, it will take another strong performance from our seniors if Kristi and Marissa are to close out their Comcast Center careers with a win and keep Maryland's impressive home win-streak intact.

See you at 7 PM. Bring signs. Prepare to BE LOUD. And don't forget the kleenex!

Media Notes . . . The Post's Camille Powell and the Times's Mike Fratto preview Senior Night here and here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Woo 'Hoos!!!! Thanks to the Cavaliers' gritty come-from-behind win tonight in Tallahassee over the 'Noles, 68-63 (an exciting game that had the BasketCases yelling "Dee-fense" at their TV on every FSU possession down the stretch), Maryland is now only a half-game out of first place in the ACC. And, more important: the Terps now control their own destiny!

If Maryland can ground the Boston College Eagles at Comcast on Friday and survive a Hurricane in Miami on Sunday, it doesn't matter whether FSU wins its final game at Wake Forest. Even if that happens, the Terps, by virtue of the tie-break (Maryland won the only head-to-head meeting with FSU) will at the very least share the ACC Regular Season Title and will enter the ACC Tournament as the Number 1 Seed!

Woo 'Hoos! Go Terps!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Yes They Did!!

When Coach Frese subbed Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman out of this evening's game with 1:42 remaining, the score was Kristi & Marissa 58, Duke 57. Even Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie was in awe of their performance, remarking in the postgame news conference: "I don't think I've ever seen a stat sheet with 34 and 24 (points) from two guard spots. That's pretty remarkable and obviously speaks to some pretty nice things that they did . . . " And when the buzzer sounded shortly after KT and 'Rissa left the game, the final score was 77-59. The Terps did not just beat the Blue Devils today, they made a statement.

In the first half, Duke kept the game close, and even took a slim 2-point lead into the locker room (33-31). But that was actually good news for Maryland, as their "big girl" Lynetta Kizer spent the last 6-1/2 minutes of the half on the bench, having picked up 2 fouls. The fact that our 6'4" freshman star (whose primary job was to contain Duke's senior 6'5" post, Chante Black) was on the sidelines, and the Terps didn't really lose ground during that time, boded very well for the second half. The BasketCases weren't worried. We just knew the Terps would erase that small deficit.

And, as it turned out, we were right (!) not to be worried. Maryland charged out of the locker room, laying a 10-0 run on the Dukies . . . and then never looked back! Duke responded with a mini-run, but the Terps stepped up their game again, and just kept charging ahead, building as much as a 20-point lead.

Although KT and Marissa did the lion's share of the scoring, today's HUGE win wasn't all about offense, or all about the seniors. As we mentioned, Lynetta Kizer had the daunting task of defending Duke's star center (and WNBA first round prospect), Chante Black . . . and did a terrific job! And while 'Netta was busy defending, Dee Liles was busy crashing the boards (11 rbs). Plus, both frontcourt players made it very difficult for any Duke player to get to the rim, as Lynetta (4) and Dee (3) combined for 7 blocks. Meanwhile Marah Strickland was all over Duke senior Abby Waner, who was held to a measly 5 points. Marah always draws a tough defensive assignment for the Terps. And tonight it appeared she was relishing this one. We could practically read her thoughts at times: "Abby, I own you." Tonight being Oscar night, we would have a hard time selecting a best supporting player . . . so the award goes to all 3 underclassmen starters.

Wow! Did we mention that the second half of today's game was one of the most fun and satisfying 20 minutes of basketball that we've ever seen? Well, if we didn't, we should have; it was!

With her scoring today, Marissa became only the 8th player in ACC history to notch 2,000 points and pull down 1,000 rebounds. She can play! And in scoring her game-high 34 points, Kristi hit seven 3-pointers . . . one shy of her career high. But this time, her output came against a team that prides itself on its defensive prowess. Make that they can play!

By the way, Mr. "She Can Play" himself, Damien Horne, was in the house, clearly enjoying the game. He confessed to the BasketCases that he's a Tarheels fan (so he probably didn't enjoy that other game Saturday night). But any 'Heels fan loves any team that beats up on the Dookies! So after the game, he was headed to the Terps' locker room to sing for the winners. (We can't wait to see it on next week's Under the Shell!)

And, of course, with the victory today, the Terps' 2nd-best-in-the-nation winstreak lives on at 33!

Congratulations to Coach Frese, her staff and the players . . . as 2 of the 16,344 people in the house (5th largest crowd in ACC history!), on behalf of Terps fans everywhere, thank you . . . that was sweeeet!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

This is HUGE . . . Duke Day!!

It's finally here -- the Terps' long-anticpated re-match with the Duke Blue Devils. Nobody reading this blog needs reminding why this is HUGE! But just in case you've just flown in from outer space, here are a few reasons why this afternoon's game is so important:

Number 1. It's Duke. 'Nuff said about that.

Number 2. Duke is the only ACC team the Terps have played this season that they haven't beaten . . . yet.

Number 3. Maryland's 32-game home winning streak (second longest in the country behind UConn) is on the line.

Number 4. Although the Terps don't control their own destiny in terms of winning the regular season ACC title, they need to keep winning to stay in hunt in the event that Florida State stumbles (Go Wahoos!). And, lastly . . .

Number 5. It's Duke. 'Nuff said! [Pre-game news features: here and here.]

So put on your RED, arrive early -- there's going to be a HUGE crowd -- and we'll see you at Comcast for the 5 PM tip. Of course, if you're one of our out-of-town readers (G'day to our mates Down Under!), or if (like the BasketCases) you'd like to record the game, you can catch it on Fox Sports (Comcast Sports Net locally).

And speaking of large crowds, in case you missed Camille Powell's interesting and fact-filled article in yesterday's Washington Post about what a smash hit Maryland's women's basketball is at the gate, you can find it here.

Go Terps!! Beat Dook!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On a Kizer Roll!

The opening minutes of tonight's ACC match-up in Atlanta between the Terps and the GT Yellow Jackets were nothing but 'Netta! Super-Frosh Lynetta Kizer got the Terps rolling by scoring the first 8 points for Maryland, helping to set the tone for the rest of the evening, which ended with a Terps win, 87-79.

'Netta finished with a career high 22 points, plus 10 rebounds for another double-double. (She also had 5 steals and 3 blocks!) But this game was hardly a one-woman effort. Practically the entire Terps team was on a roll: Marissa led all scorers with 23, Marah added 15, KT chipped in 11, and Atlanta local Drey Mingo had a perfect night off the bench, going 1-1 from the field (a three-pointer) and hitting all 4 of her free throws! And speaking of free throws, the Terps showed tonight why they are leading the ACC from the foul line, nailing 23 of 28 (82.1%). In fact, 4 of the 6 Terps who went to the line tonight were perfect, led by Marissa's 11 of 11.

Despite the looming presence of Sunday's upcoming game against Duke, Maryland was not looking past the Yellow Jackets. No, the Terps showed up tonight ready to play, and their victory was a balanced team effort. Yes, there was a little stretch late in the second half when the Terps were up by 22 and then, as they are wont to do, put the game on cruise control (a little longer than necessary!), allowing Tech to narrow the gap. But Maryland was not going to lose this game, and they didn't.

Because Maryland wasn't broadcasting this game (and thanks to Comcast, no ESPNU for the BCs), we were relegated to listening to Tech's radio announcers on WREK. But the GT announcers were no rambling wrecks -- in fact, we think they deserve a shout out. They knew their stuff, they were fun and interesting to listen to, and they were far better than many of the professional radio announcers who broadcast WNBA games, for example. And it didn't hurt, of course, that they showed appropriate respect for the Terps, at one point saying, "They have too many weapons. There are too many people you have to stop on this Maryland team to be successful." Yes indeed, they knew their stuff!

Next up: The Blue Devils. Sunday. We'll be there. Let's keep it rolling, Maryland!

Friday AM Update: Don't miss (BasketCases' pal) Mechelle Voepel's front page feature about the Terps on! Link here.

And while you're visiting, be sure to cast your vote for which team would win if Maryland and Villanova met in the NCAA tourney. (As we write this, Maryland is leading or tied in every state. They currently have 100% of the votes from the state of Montana . . . all 3 of them! Let's see, that could be Coach Park's Mom, Grandma and his old homeroom teacher. We think the Terps definitely have that state locked up!)

Georgia On Our Mind

The BasketCases generally don't spend a lot of time thinking about the Peachtree State. But we're thinking about it this morning for a couple of big reasons.

First, and most important, the Terps travel to Atlanta tonight to take on Georgia Tech at 7 PM. As our guest analysts, Markus and Tyler, have already mentioned, expect this game to be a tough, very physical match for Maryland. If you are lucky enough to get ESPNU (we're not -- thanks a lot Comcast!), you'll be able to see this game on TV. Otherwise, like the rest of us, you'll be limited to radio and Gametracker. Good luck, Terps*!

As Mystics fans, we're also thinking about Georgia because of the free agent signing of Michelle Snow announced yesterday by the Atlanta Dream. You may recall that the Dream finished dead last in the WNBA last summer, with one of the worst records in league history. This deal had been a badly kept secret for some time. But now that it's a reality, Snow's signing, coupled with some other off-season moves by the Dream, plus some incredible luck, should make them exponentially improved this summer.

Not only did the draft lottery ping pong balls fall their way, giving Atlanta the overall number one pick in the upcoming April WNBA College Draft, but the recent demise of the Houston Comets also gave Atlanta the first pick in the WNBA Dispersal Draft, which they used to snag 6' 4" forward Sancho Lyttle, who will add additional depth to their frontcourt.

And then, like manna from heaven, superstar Chamique Holdsclaw decided to "unretire" from the WNBA -- but only if she could play (you guessed it) for Atlanta, where she makes her home. Could the Dream get any luckier? As a matter of fact, yes they can could! Chamique's old friend and fellow Lady Vol, free agent Michelle Snow, who had been courted by other teams (including, rumor has it, the Mystics), made a beeline for Atlanta as well, the moment she heard the news that Mique was headed home. Thus, yesterday's official announcement.

If Atlanta isn't one of the most improved teams in the league this summer, we will be shocked. With her new line-up, the message Atlanta Head Coach/GM Marynell Meadors is sending her former team, the Mystics (as well as the rest of the league), can be summed up in a few words: Be afraid, be very afraid.

*9 AM Update: Congratulations to Terps recruit Dara Taylor on her selection to the McDonalds All-American Team! Wow! We can't wait for Dara to bring her game to College Park this fall. (And thanks to the Baltimore Sun's Matt Bracken for the tip!)

3 PM Update:
More here about Dara's Mickey-D All-American selection . . . again thanks to Matt Bracken.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy First Birthday!

Today, as twins Markus (left) and Tyler (right) celebrate their first birthday, they've taken some time out of their very busy schedules to pay a visit to the BasketCases blog for another interview from The Big Chair.

BC: Hey guys, on behalf of all of us here at the BasketCases, congratulations on completing your rookie season, and thanks again for being here!

Tyler: Thank you. We always love chatting with the BCs.

Markus: Absolutely. If we could read, yours would be our favorite blog.

BC: We appreciate that. What a year it's been! Can anyone's birth have been more perfectly timed? Popping out a few hours before the Terps were to play at Duke and giving the team that huge emotional lift? You just know that Coach P must've uttered a few unprintable words when she heard the news.

Tyler: (laughing) Words nobody's allowed to say around us! But, yeah, we really wanted to see that game. And since Mom couldn't travel, the only way we could do it was to be born. So I told Markus that morning: "We got to get outta here. Now!"

Markus: He got no argument from me. I also wanted to see the game. And by then I was getting pretty tired of Tyler hogging all the food, plus I was tired of taking an elbow every time Tyler decided to change position.

BC: How did you like being on TV, just a few hours after you were born?

Tyler: After the whole world has seen your sonograms, that's nothing. Besides, Daddy-Cam has been sticking a camera in our faces pretty much since the moment of delivery, so what's the big deal?

Markus: Still, I have to admit that it was very cool to make our television debut on the day of our birth.

Tyler: Take that, Tyler Summitt, you got nothin' on us!

Markus: In fact, we're pretty tired of hearing that story about how Coach Summitt was in labor on a plane over Virginia on her way back from a recruiting trip, but refused to let the pilot land and made him fly on to Tennessee. I'll bet if she'd been carrying twins like our Mom was, she wouldn't even have made that trip. But if she did, her kids would've been born in that recruit's living room.

Tyler: Coach Summitt, we see you a Tyler and raise you a Markus! (laughing)

BC: Markus, is Tyler always this crazy?

Markus: Always . . . he cracks me up!

BC: Well, if we can get serious for a moment, how about some thoughts on the games coming up this week?

Markus: Sure. It's always tough to play at Georgia Tech. Our team's used to playing in front of huge crowds. At Tech, the arena is almost empty. Not much cheering for or against us . . . very disconcerting. Plus, those Yellow Jackets, well, let's just say that if the refs let them get away with the physical stuff, it could be a long night.

Tyler: You bet. Those Yellow Jackets, they really believe in getting physical! We've seen the films. There were some games where if the Terps had been wearing tear-away jerseys, they'd have been naked by half-time. Good thing they weren't wearing tear-aways, otherwise Mom and Dad wouldn't have let us watch the tape. No, Georgia Tech will be no walk in the park, and as much as everyone is already talking about Duke on Sunday, Mom and the team are not looking past GT.

BC: Well, speaking of Duke, anything you'd like to say?

Markus: It's a special game for us, of course, almost like another birthday. So it would make a nice present if our Big Sisters could give us a win on Sunday . . . and every year.

Tyler: No present we want more! Between now and Sunday, Markus and I will be memorizing the Duke roster. Coach McCallie has made it clear she doesn't think much of the "turtle IQ," but if the dookies think that by taking the names off their jerseys they can make us (or Mom's players!) confuse Abby Waner for Chante Black, we got two words for them: Bite me!

BC: (laughing) Just one last question: Will you be at the game on Sunday?

Tyler: We're not sure yet. We'd really like to be there, but if not, we'll be watching from home! Go Terps! Win one for your Little Brothers!

BC: Thanks guys . . . and, again, Happy Birthday!

Photo Credit: Daddy-Cam (with thanks!)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Why Can't Dinosaurs Talk?"

Terps Assistant Coach Daron Park was asked that question by Dee Liles when he canvassed his players for a "fit-for-families" joke he could tell to kick off the Rebounders' post-game social today. Coach Park's answer: "I don't know, Dee, why can't they?" To which Dee replied, "Because they're dead, Coach." Duh!

Sometimes, the obvious answer is also the correct one. And so the BasketCases have a question for our readers: "Why did Maryland beat Rutgers today?" The answer is: "Because Maryland's a lot better." Obviously. Duh!

The Terps recorded a decisive victory over the Scarlet Knights this afternoon at Comcast, 67-47, in front of nearly 13,000 fans. (Isn't payback sweeeet!) Today, Maryland was effective on both ends of the floor. Indeed, it was obvious that the Terps, hardly known as defensive specialists, had put a great deal of emphasis on giving Rutgers a little of its own defensive medicine. Not only did the Terps' dynamic post duo of Kizer and Liles hold Rutgers' bigs, Junaid and Vaughn, to a total of 8 points, but everyone else on Maryland did a terrific job of making sure that the Scarlet Knights did not get many easy baskets. The result? Rutgers shot a paltry 24.7% from the floor. (Maryland shot 40% for the game.)

Perhaps the biggest compliment came from Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer, who said after the game: "I thought Maryland played better defense than I have seen them play. They were aggressive . . . . and they put pressure on us as a group." When C. Viv has good things to say about your team's defense, well, that's music to Coach B's ears!

Once again, the one-two punch of Seniors Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver helped Maryland score another home knockout -- the 32d in a row! (Second longest home winstreak in the nation -- behind UConn.) 'Rissa led all scorers with 22 points (including 12 of 14 free throws). She also pulled down 10 boards, adding another double-double to her career stats. Kristi Toliver kinda had an off night (just kidding, LOL!). KT finished with only 18 points, and was a perfect 4 of 4 from the free-throw line.

Given the way these two have played since the moment they set foot in College Park, the BIG news announced at halftime today was very welcome, but hardly surprising: At Senior Night on Friday, February 27th, following the Terps' final regular season home game (against Boston College), they will honor Kristi's and Marissa's jerseys by raising their numbers to the rafters, to join those of their National Championship teammates -- Shay, Lang, and Harp. It's going to be very rough bidding au revoir to these to these two very very special players . . . the last two members of that very very special team. Hanky please!

But there's more ball to play before that! On Thursday, the Terps have a road game against Georgia Tech, always a tough and physical opponent. And next Sunday, as no one needs reminding, the Terps host the Duke Blue Devils. Be there! Wear Red! Prepare to Be Loud! Bring your friends! Cram Comcast! BEAT duke!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Camille Powell steals a line from Pat Benatar in a very flattering article about Kristi Toliver in Sunday's Washington Post. Plenty of well-deserved praise for KT, including from basketball legend Nancy Lieberman and well-known TV announcer Debbie Antonelli. And while our readers read it here first, the Post's audience learns that KT was the runaway winner of this week's Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll asking who would you want to take a buzzer-beating shot. No surprise there!

Kristi's ability to "hit 'em with her best shot" (as well as the abilities of all her Maryland teammates) will be put to the test tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) when the Terps host Rutgers at Comcast at 1 PM. (The game is being nationally broadcast on ESPN2.) The Scarlet Knights are known for their tough defense, and last year beat the Terps up in Jersey in a low scoring affair. Sunday's game should be a real battle as one of the top offenses goes toe-to-toe with one of the best defensive teams in D-I. The Terps will need plenty of fan support, so hopefully we'll see you all tomorrow in College Park.

And don't forget: Tomorrow is Maryland's Pink Zone game, helping to raise breast cancer awareness. So for one game only, it's time to forego your usual red and black and WEAR PINK! And also remember that after the game, the Rebounders will be holding their final regular season social. Go Terps!'

* * * * * ** * * * * *

Sunday Morning Update . . . Speaking of things that our readers know, Mike Fratto in today's Washington Times chronicles Kristi and Marissa's most recent streak of big time performances, as their Maryland careers (sadly!) are drawing to a close.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Our House is a Very Very Very Fine House . . .

Tonight's re-match between the Terps and the Virginia Cavaliers was in many respects similar to the game played nearly two weeks ago by these two teams down at UVA. Each game featured a tightly contested first half, with Maryland taking a small lead into the locker room. And tonight, as in Charlottesville, it was the second half where the game was won . . . or lost. In each case, the home team broke the game open in the final 20 minutes and marched to a convincing win. Fortunately, tonight, the home team was Maryland, and the Terps won, 94-78.

As they did on Monday night against Boston College, and as Coach B is fond of saying, seniors Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman "put the team on their backs" . . . as well as put on quite a show for the large, loud and enthusiastic Maryland crowd (not to mention the WNBA scouts in the house). Marissa, who led all scorers with 28 points, also pulled down 7 boards, dished out 6 assists, stole 4 balls, blocked 2, and had only 1 turnover. She created her own shots, battled for rebounds and loose balls, rallied her young troops, and ended up bloodied and cramping. (She even performed a PG-rated strip-tease.) And in the process, Marissa passed the legendary Terp (and now Mystics Assistant Coach) Vicky Bullett to move into second place on the Terps' all-time leading scoring list (behind Crystal Langhorne, of course!). Kristi "Big Play" Toliver again played all 40 minutes, and also outscored every player on Virginia's roster with 25 points of her own. She also became only the fourth player in ACC history to hand out more than 700 assists. Simply put, Marissa and KT are Showtime, Big time -- and a joy to watch.

Dee Liles and Lynetta Kizer were big contributors as well, both scoring in double figures (12 and 11 points, respectively). And despite battling the flu, Dee not only scored, but cleaned the glass, grabbing 13 rebounds for another double-double. These two first-year Terps are growing stronger with every game, and clearly helping to fill the void left by the graduation of Lang and Harp.

Tonight's win was the 31st in a row at home for Maryland -- quite an impressive streak! But the Terps will be tested on Sunday, when they host Rutgers at Comcast at 1 PM and will be looking to avenge last season's loss to the Scarlet Knights at the RAC. In order to extend their home winning streak, the Terps will need to maintain their composure against a team well known for its relentless defense. Rutgers is one of those teams that has the ability to make even the best teams look ugly. So Wear Pink, exercise your vocal cords, and come ready for a classic battle between offense and defense. See you Sunday!

Monday, February 09, 2009

She They Can Play

The ACC is the only conference in the nation with an official song: "She Can Play" by Damien Horne. The longer version of the video is decidedly short on Maryland highlights, but otherwise pretty cool.

Tonight in Chestnut Hill, Maryland Seniors Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver showed why they deserved more footage . . . and proved once again that they can play! In a hard-fought, exciting game against Boston College -- one that was close throughout, and one that could easily have gone the other way -- Marissa and KT were crucial to the Terps' 85-81 victory. Marissa, in fact, led all scorers with 23 points, to which she added 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block, and was perfect from the free throw line (10 for 10!). She can play!

Kristi, who played the entire first half, put up 19 points of her own, 15 of those coming from three-pointers. Showtime! In fact, at halftime Comcast spliced some first-half footage of Kristi into the "She Can Play" music video . . . definitely showtime! KT also added 7 assists and 3 steals to her point total. She can play!

Marissa and Kristi are big time players, and as we watched the game tonight, we were struck by how much we are going to miss seeing them next season. For now, we'll just enjoy watching them -- as Terps -- while we still can.

Which reminds us . . . don't forget to vote for Kristi in the WBCA poll that asks which player you'd want taking a buzzer beating shot to win a game.* This morning, when we first posted a link to this poll, KT was inexplicably in third place, with only about 11% of the votes. Oklahoma's Whitney Hand was far ahead, with more than 56%, while Epiphanny Prince of Rutgers was in second place, with about 26%. Right now, however, Kristi is in the lead, with more than 53% of the votes, while Hand has dropped back to under 30%. The BasketCases can only assume that our readers have come through for Kristi! Keep up the good work!! [*Tuesday update: voting has now closed, and Kristi is the winner by a landslide. Results here; scroll down. Congratulations to Kristi. There's no one else we'd want to take that buzzer beater!!]

* * * * * *

Mystics News . . . In what probably came as a big surprise to most Mystics fans (including us!), late this afternoon the Mystics announced that they have signed Chicago Sky free agent Chasity Melvin.

Yes, the former Mystics center is returning to Washington! Chas, as our readers no doubt will recall, was traded to the Sky early in the 2007 season in exchange for Monique Currie, a move that did not sit well with then-Head Coach Richie Adubato, who resigned shortly thereafter. Chas's return to the Mystics will provide some much-needed veteran experience at the center position (and it also means that BasketCase Eileen can dig her Melvin #44 jersey out of moth balls).

Welcome back, Chas!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Sunday, February 08, 2009

It's a Jungle Out There!

Dear BCs,

It sure is good to be home! Florida is one scary place. You know I enjoy communing with nature. So on my last day in the Sunshine State, I decided to visit a wildlife preserve. All I can say is that there were moments during my visit when I thought my most recent email to you might be the last you ever heard from me! And that would have been terrible because I especially wanted to thank your readers for their comments following the NC State game . . . they really helped fill me in on all the fun I missed.

Nope, no more traveling for me for a while -- except to Greensboro for the ACC tournament, of course. There I might meet some scary human specimens -- like Tarheels, Blue Devils, Cavaliers and Seminoles -- but no more close encounters with wildlife anytime soon!

Like you, tomorrow night (Monday) I'll be watching the Terps play up at Boston College . . . from the comfort of my own family room (Comcast SportsNet at 7 PM). That's as close as I plan to get to any live Eagles.

Uh, uh. I've sworn off large birds ever since a crazed Ostrich attacked me in Florida! She even tried to break my windshield. I'm lucky to have escaped with my life!

I've also sworn off Giraffes for a while, too! All I was doing was trying to say Hi and the next thing I know, I'm looking down a very very very very long throat. Frankly, I wasn't sure if the big guy was trying to french kiss me or have me for lunch! Either way, I didn't stick around to find out.

On the drive home, I did meet one friendly character . . . Pedro. My buddy, Obie, told me I simply had to stop in to see Pedro at South of the Border. Obie assured me that South of the Border would be a lot of fun. All I can say is, "Obie, if that's your idea of a good time, you need to get out more."

Good luck to the Terps tomorrow up in Chestnut Hill. Pedro Sez Beat the Eagles!

Your friend, Petey

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Monday Morning Update: Good feature about Anjale Barrett in this morning's Washington Post (link here) and The Diamondback reports that Coach B is "not satisfied" (link here).

And if you've ever wanted to visit (or re-visit) Paris, March 8th might be a good time to be there. That's the date, and Paris is the place, of the Euroleague All-Star Game. The game is structured as Europe against the Rest of The World, and the players are selected by popular vote. As one of the top-5 vote-getters for Europe, Shay Doron will be starting for the Euros. And coming off the bench for The World: Laura Harper and Crystal Langhorne (as well as the Mystics' Alana Beard). Shay, Harp & Lang . . . all together again, for a day (in Paris!) . . . how cool is that!

One more thing . . . the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) website is running a poll question: "Who do you want to take a buzzer beating shot to win a game?" Duh! As far as the BasketCases are concerned, there should've been only ONE choice: Kristi, of course! But, shockingly, as we write this, KT is only in THIRD place! Maybe our loyal readers would like to help correct this error . . . Yes We Can! (Link to the poll here.)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Postcard From Petey

Dear BCs,

I just wanted to say Hi and let you and your readers know that I’m on the road again. I just love wildlife sightings . . . isn’t that Great Blue Heron just beautiful? Unfortunately, being in sunny (but somewhat chilly) Florida, I won’t be able to make it to Maryland’s game against the NC State Wolfpack later today. I always hate missing a Terps game, but I'm particularly bummed to be missing this game, since I'll also miss seeing Harp’s jersey raised to the rafters! I was there for Shay's and there for Crystal's . . . and really really hate to miss seeing Laura's join those of her Natty-winning teammates. (Congratulations, Harp!)

Though my plans are such that I won’t be able to watch or listen tonight, anybody else who can’t make it to Comcast can see the game (schedule permitting) on ACC Select (PPV), or can listen live (and free!) via the Terps’ web site.

I hope some kind folks post some comments on the BC's blog to let me know how it all turned out!

Your buddy, Petey

Photo Credit: Traveling Panda Photos, Inc.

Update: Read here and here for a couple of wonderful articles about Kay Yow.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Toliver, Holy Cow!

It’s always tough to play on the road in the ACC, and the Terps came excruciatingly close to coming home empty handed from their two-game road trip. But the good news is that they bounced back after their loss on Friday in Charlottesville to edge out Florida State tonight, 72-71.

This evening’s matchup in Tallahassee against the conference-leading ‘Noles was a nail biter and a seesaw battle, with neither team managing to secure a lead of more than a few points. Mostly, it was up by one or two, then down by one or two. Up and down, back and forth, for nearly the full 40 minutes.

In the final moments, as the clock wound down, it appeared as though the winner would be the team that could just hang on as the pendulum swung its way. With only five seconds left in the game, and the scored tied at 69, it was looking as if that team would be FSU, when a layup by Cierra Bravard put the Seminoles ahead, 71-69. But with time expiring, Kristi Toliver raced down the floor and, as the buzzer sounded, nailed a three (from several feet behind the 3-point line), sinking FSU and leaving the Terps atop the seesaw. Holy Cow, what a shot . . . was that ever a close one!

Kristi finished with a team high 17 points, and three other Terps also scored in double figures. Tonight’s win by Maryland snapped the 'Noles’ 9-game winning streak and gave FSU its first loss in ACC play. But make no mistake, though the Terps handed them a loss tonight, this Florida State team is for real!