Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thanks for the Memories Emerys!

It was really sad leaving Comcast Center this afternoon, and not only because we'd just witnessed #9 Florida State deliver a beat-down to the Terps, 94-61, in the last game of the regular season. Yes, that was sad . . . but no, what made us really sad is that today was the last home game in the career of Maryland senior Emery Wallace.

Ask any fan who's followed Emery's tenure at Maryland and, we'd bet, they'll tell you that she is one very special young lady. She came to Maryland with the same dreams and expectations of every high school basketball star . . . to have a great career playing in college, and perhaps beyond. But for Emery, those dreams ended far too soon after her arrival in College Park. She'd had knee injuries and surgeries in high school, and another knee injury sidelined her during her freshman year at Maryland. Emery did see limited action during her sophomore year, but unfortunately, her knees then failed her for the final time, and she was no longer able to play the game that she loved.

For many young people, that would have been it. They'd have walked away from basketball, or from their team, or perhaps even from their school. But not Emery.

Being on a D-I college team takes a lot of time, and a lot of commitment, even if you're only sitting on the bench. But that was time that Emery willingly and enthusiastically continued to give to the Maryland team. And so, for the past two years, Emery has remained with the Terps program, even though, for medical reasons, she can no longer play. She's been on the bench for every game, home and away, providing constant encouragement and support to her teammates. She is their biggest cheerleader. When her teammates come off the floor during a time out, Emery is there with words of encouragement or advice. Simply put, Emery has been a student-coach and one-woman booster club for her teammates, year in and year out. Quite remarkable.

Patsy and Tom Wallace

And we have a pretty good idea where Emery gets her loyalty and enthusiasm from . . . it's in her genes. As remarkable as Emery's support has been to the team these past few years, her parents' loyalty and support (particularly that of her father, Tom) have, in some respects, been even more remarkable. Although the Wallaces live in distant Roanoke, Virginia (a four-hour drive, each way, from Comcast), Tom has been a fixture at Maryland games -- home and away -- for Emery's entire college career. And that includes the last two seasons when he knew that his daughter would not see a single minute of playing time. You could probably count on one hand the number of games that Tom Wallace has missed each year. Seeing Tom Wallace in the stands, and Emery on the bench, game after game, has been truly inspiring. We will miss them both.

Soon it will be time for Emery (after collecting her diploma) to move on to the next phase of her life. Those of us who've met and talked with her know that Emery is a delightful, articulate young woman who aspires to a career as a sports broadcaster. (We think she'd be great!) It's our sincere hope that this is one dream of Emery's that does indeed come true.

* * * * * *

Next Up for the Terps: the 2010 ACC Tournament, which kicks off this Thursday in Greensboro, NC. As ACC fans know, the top four teams in the 12-school Conference get a bye on Thursday, while the other 8 teams slug it out in four preliminary games. The Thursday winners advance to play in the Quarterfinal round on Friday. It's been five years since the Terps had to play in Greensboro on a Thursday, so this is unfamiliar territory for every player on the Maryland team.

And thanks to some truly bizarre karma, the Terps on Thursday will play another team that hasn't played on Thursday in many years either -- North Carolina! And -- are you ready? -- the winner of the Terps-Tarheels game will face Duke on Friday. Weird, huh? See you in Greensboro!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Get Your Red On!

It's hard to believe, but tomorrow, Sunday, at 3PM, the Terps will play their final game of the 2009-10 regular season.

And what an important game it is!

Senior Day . . . at home . . . against #9-ranked-Florida State . . . and on national TV (ESPN2).

If the Terps have any chance of making the NCAA tournament this year, knocking off a top-ten team tomorrow would go a long way toward making their case. Not to mention how nice it would be to send seniors Lori Bjork and Emery Wallace out with a bang.

The Terps are asking all of us -- their fans -- to help "RED OUT" the 'Noles, so please dress accordingly!

Go RED! Go Terps! Beat the 'Noles!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Maryland's basketball game on the road tonight at Boston College wasn't telecast, but the USA vs Canada gold medal ice hockey game was. Which is why, we confess, instead of listening to the audio broadcast of the Terps, we watched the Olympics instead. So about all we can tell you regarding the basketball game is what we gleaned from occasional glances at Gametracker, which we had open on our laptop as we watched TV. In other words, not much.

Unfortunately, about the only thing we can say with authority is that the Terps lost to the Eagles, 83-70. The link to the box score should tell you the rest.

Also unfortunately, tonight's loss ices Maryland's chances at finishing at .500 in ACC play. The Terps now stand at 5-8 with only one regular season game remaining. (Which means that Maryland will definitely be playing on Thursday, along with the 7 other lowest seeds, in Greensboro.)

In other news, Team Canada iced Team USA (2-0) to claim the gold medal. All in all, a good night for teams from up North . . . and a not so good one for teams (and their fans) from further south. Let's hope this geographical trend holds . . . as Maryland will host one of the southern-most teams in the ACC conference, #9 ranked Florida State on Sunday in the Terps' final appearance this season at Comcast.

Go Terps, Beat the 'Noles

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Way More Than 30 . . .

Not many people would've been surprised if the young, inexperienced Terps played like a young, inexperienced team today as they faced the Conference-leading Blue Devils in one of the toughest venues in college basketball, Cameron Indoor Stadium. Instead, Maryland -- on the road -- hung with the #7/#8 nationally ranked Duke team for 35 minutes or more, before finally falling 71-59.

Yes, the Terps' youth definitely showed at times. Particularly in turnovers (23, with several un-forced) and abysmal free throw shooting (an absolutely horrendous 37.5%). But despite those self-inflicted wounds, the Terps still made a game of it.

In the first half, they battled back from a 10-point deficit to enter the locker room only 3 points behind . . . in large part thanks to 3-point sharpshooting by Lori Bjork. The first 15 minutes of the second period were a classic -- and exciting -- Maryland vs Duke battle. The Blue Devils led some, the Terps led some. And until the final few minutes, when Duke hit a couple of big buckets and capitalized on Terp fouls at the charity stripe, neither team could manage to build more than a one or two-possession lead. Maryland's intentional fouling in the final minutes helped stretch the Duke lead to double-digits, but anybody who saw it knows that this game was a much tighter contest than the final score suggests.

Lori finished with a team-high 14 points. Lynetta Kizer was close behind, with 13 (and 13 boards, for a double-double), while Anjale Barrett, coming off the bench, notched 11 points. And though Diandra fouled out with only 8 points, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least mention the monster block Frenchie delivered to Duke star Jasmine Thomas on a fast break late in the second half. That one was highlight-reel quality for sure!

A busload-and-more of Maryland fans made the trip to Cameron. They almost-but-not-quite got to see their team pull an upset. Regardless, they (and those of us who watched at home) got to see an afternoon of good competitive basketball from their young team.

The Terps close out the last week of the regular ACC season with a game on Thursday at Boston College, followed by a match on Sunday against another nationally ranked team, #10 Florida State, this year's final game at Comcast. Then it's on to Greensboro, where anything is possible!

Go Terps, Beat BC!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love and Basketball

Playing at Comcast Center this afternoon on Valentine's Day, the Terps were feeling a lot of love from their fans, and they gave it back in kind, delivering a much-needed home win by beating Clemson, 71-51. And while we're sorry to employ an overused phrase, the outcome of this game was never really in doubt, as Maryland quickly dominated Clemson on both ends of the floor.

The Terps held the Tigers to just 19 points in the first half, while putting up 37 of their own; the second half was more even, but we had the feeling that by then, Maryland was on cruise control. Today every player on the Terps played double-digit minutes and every player scored, except for Lori Bjork (who perhaps was distracted this afternoon by the guy in the pep band who kept holding up a sign saying he wanted to be her Valentine).

Three Terps finished in double figures: Lynetta, who had a game-high 18 points coming off the bench, Dara (17, a career high, plus 5 assists), and (the BCs' own ACC ROY nominee) Diandra (14). Maryland dominated Clemson on the boards, 48-33, and once again had a great game from the charity stripe . . . as the team collectively hit 24 of 29 free throws. Several Terps were perfect from the line, including Lynetta, who hit all ten of her free throw attempts.

So the BCs' home-win-viewing streak now stands at 49, stretching over 3 seasons. We prefer not to think about what happened while we were gone, but we haven't seen a loss at Comcast since February 2007. As far as we're concerned, if we didn't see it, it didn't happen. We're back. The Terps win at home today. It's all good!

The Terps now have a week to get back to their classes after Snowmaggedon closed the campus, as well as to prepare for the Duke game next Sunday at Cameron.

Go Terps! Beat the Blue Devils!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Better Wake Than Never

After dropping their last 4 games at Comcast, tonight in Winston-Salem, the Terps picked up an important ACC road win over Wake Forest, 70-65. Prior to this evening, the Demon Deacons were undefeated at home in conference play this season.

As the final score suggests, this was a tightly contested match-up. After falling behind early on, the Terps clawed their way back and led by 2 at the half, courtesy of a Lori Bjork 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first period. In the second, though the Terps led most of the way (helped greatly by hitting 14-straight free throws), they couldn't seem to put the game out of reach. It was still a one possession game with 17 seconds left. But a block (Lori), a rebound (Diandra), and a free throw (Dara) in the final seconds sealed the win for Maryland.

Diandra led the Terps tonight with 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Jackie Nared came off the bench to nail all 3 of her attempts from beyond the arc. Finishing with 10 points, Jackie was the only other Maryland player in double figures.

Next, the Terps return to a snow-packed College Park to face the Clemson Tigers on Sunday at 2 PM. The last time the BasketCases saw a game at Comcast was the Terps' big win over Boston College about a month ago. (We leave town and look what happens!) Assuming we've seen the end of the snow for awhile, we'll be there to help cheer the team on to what we hope will be another home win.

See you Sunday!
* * * * * * * *
Congratulations are in order . . . To Coach B, who notched her 250th career win last night, and also to incoming Maryland recruits Alicia DeVaughn and Lauren Mincy, who have been named to the 2010 McDonald's All American High School Basketball Team. Way to go!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor(er) . . . Your Yearning to Get Home

Hi BC readers, this is Petey again. I'm happy to report that the deal is done! Last Wednesday, the BCs met with officials from China and the U.S. State Department on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean -- at the very site where Churchill and FDR huddled before heading off to Yalta to confer with Stalin during WWII. There the papers were signed (and sealed). The Chinese officials agreed that taking Tai Shan (I'll miss you buddy!) was enough for them, and that I could remain permanently in the USA. So with the Malta Accord of 2010 complete, I knew it was finally safe for me to come out of hiding and return home to Washington, D.C. What a relief!

Of course, Mother Nature had other plans, as we learned on Thursday night that our flight into Dulles, scheduled for Friday evening, had been cancelled due to the snow expected back home. (Just try reaching United Airlines from a cell phone on a ship at sea -- at $2.49 a minute, no less -- when every other traveler in the world seems to be calling them as well . . . not fun.) For a few stressful hours there, the BCs and I feared we would be sleeping in the airport in Frankfurt for several days. Thankfully, however, we finally reached an agent and were able to get re-routed to New York. So since Friday, we've been safely hunkered down with family in Brooklyn -- enjoying the company, being treated like visiting royalty, recovering from jet-lag -- while devising plans to get home.

And thanks to free Wi-Fi, I can now safely share a little more about where the BCs and I have been and what we've been up to since my last blog post . . .

Our last port of call, as mentioned above, was Malta. Sailing into the beautiful Grand Harbor of Valletta is a breathtaking experience . . .

. . . as is standing on the Giza Plateau outside Cairo (my formerly secret location).

The camel is a ubiquitous form of transportation in Giza. Although no amount of coaxing could get BC Eileen to ride one, BC Judith was brave enough to do it (and I have the pictures to prove it!). However, BC Judith threatened to leave me at home when she travels to Greensboro next month if I posted one. So readers, you'll just have to settle for a picture of another camel-rider and take my word for it that BC Judith, indeed, rode this magnificent animal.

Spending two days in Egypt would have been an experience of a lifetime no matter what (the traffic in Cairo, with six lanes worth of cars driving in three, drivers leaning on their horns and playing chicken, was enough to turn my white hair even whiter). But we happened to arrive in Cairo the night that Egypt was playing Ghana in an important World Cup preliminary round match. When Egypt won, it seemed like the entire population took to the streets. Men were riding down the streets on horses and camels -- waving Egyptian flags -- and cheering crowds clogging the roadway turned our one-way street spontaneously into a two-way thoroughfare. And some ecstatic fans poured gasoline right in the street in front of our van and set the road on fire. As our driver proceeded to drive right over the flames, all we could do was think about the fact that mixing fire and gas tanks is generally not a good combination. Fortunately, nothing exploded.

Once back on the ship after our hair-raising experiences in Egypt, I gravitated to the basketball court on the top deck. . . hoping to enjoy a little pickup action at sea. The BCs and I are so in need of a b-ball fix. We miss the Terps!

Unfortunately, we saw that Maryland dropped another close game on Friday -- this time to Georgia Tech. What a heartbreaker. That's the bad news. The good news is that if the BCs' plans work out, we should all be home tomorrow . . . though most certainly not able to get to the MD-VA game Monday night. But assuming that the BCs' internet connection is working, they'll be following the game on line and looking forward to getting back to Comcast very soon.

Go Terps . . . Beat the Cavs!

Photo Credits: DCBasketCases (except Statue of Liberty)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hi BC Readers! Petey here.

Petey in secret location

First,I want to apologize. I see from some of your comments that you really miss the BCs' reports. (Of course you do!) And it's all my fault. Not just that the BCs haven't posted, but the Terps' 2 home losses as well. I told them that maybe if they'd been there in Comcast -- instead of flying across an ocean, sailing through foreign waters, and bouncing around three contintents, all to help keep me safe -- the BCs' presence and support might've inspired the Terps enough so those close losses would've been close wins. They say that just isn't true. It's not my fault. But I still feel some responsibility anyway.

But the good news is that the BCs should be back soon. Thanks to friends in high places, they tell me that the paperwork that ensures I won't be deported to China should come through any day now. (I can't wait!) In the last couple of weeks, I've learned -- as have the BCs -- that the wheels of international cooperation don't turn as fast as we wish they would.

While we were waiting for a deal to be struck, I asked the BCs not to post because I was afraid our location could be traced . . . and I might end up as Peking Petey! Nevertheless, just as a precaution, for now I'm keeping my current location secret (that's why I asked the BCs just to snap the above picture of me -- to prove I'm alive and well -- on the patio outside our hotel room, in the privacy of early dawn, instead of posing in front of any recognizable landmark.) But while I can't yet tell you where I am, I asked the BCs if I could guest-blog, and tell you a little about where we've been . . .

A little Gaudi goes a long way

The 3 of us caught a flight out of DC, the day after the BCs' last post. Two of us traveled with valid passports in airplane seats and one of us snuck out of the country well-concealed in carry on luggage. One can't be too careful! After a short stop in Zurich for a little misdirection (and very expensive chocolate), we ended up the next day in Barcelona. We spent a few days there to develop a plan (1 if by land or 2 if by sea) and found a ship arriving in port ready to provide us with transportation, and plenty of disembarkation options along the way -- just in case we needed to make a quick change in our itinerary. While in Barcelona we enjoyed some of the city's loveliest sights, stuffed ourselves on tapas, drank some cava (but still prefer champagne), and really made the best of our unplanned getaway.

Petey saying adiĆ³s to Barcelona

Petey visits the Coliseum

The ship then took us to a port near Rome. Once again, the BCs carried me off the ship, eluding detection from the Italian authorities who seemed to have little or no interest in unnecessary paperwork . . . like passports. Whew! We spent a rainy but otherwise wonderful day touring Rome and the Vatican and sampling the best pizza any of us has ever eaten! But we decided it was best to keep moving, so it was back to the ship and off to another port.

The Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens

A day and a half later (after sailing through some very rough seas), we arrived in Athens. At first, the Greek authorities wouldn't clear the ship and allow the passengers to disembark. I nearly had a panic attack thinking that the unexplained delay was because they were looking for me. But we were finally permitted to go ashore and we had another fabulous day of touring, picture taking and sampling the local cuisine.

The Library in Ancient Ephesus

But when you're trying to avoid deportation, the BCs and I decided it was best to keep moving, so the next morning, we went ashore when the ship docked in Izmir, Turkey. With help from a wonderful local guide, we explored the excavated ruins of Ephesus and learned a considerable amount about that ancient Roman city. It was absolutely fascinating and it really helped me forget my problems and feel like I was on vacation, instead of making a great escape.

I wish I could tell you where we are headed next, but (as I said earler) I'm nervous about giving away my present location. Let's just say the last couple of days have been an incredible adventure . . . full of sights and sounds (and smells) that are unforgettable. The BCs and I can't wait to get home so we can share more with all our friends and loyal readers about this amazing journey.

Until then . . . Go Terps, Beat GA Tech!