Tonight was the first game of the WNIT where we really felt that special tournament atmosphere. A good crowd on hand. Lots of excitement. A worthy opponent, Providence College from the Big East Conference . . . who traveled to Comcast with mascot, cheerleaders, dance team and a small, but vocal, cadre of fans.
In tournament play, the winner advances and the loser goes home (or, if they are already playing at home, their season simply ends). Unfortunately, the Terps' season simply ended tonight, as they lost to the Friars, 77-64.
Hopefully, the young Maryland team will take away a lesson from this evening's game: in tournament play, the team that executes, the team that values the basketball, the team that limits its own mistakes, is the team that wins more often than not. That team tonight was the Friars. They made shots when they needed to. They held onto the ball. They hit their free throws. They executed. The Terps, on the other hand . . . well, let's just say, they didn't. Those of us who were there know how bad it was. The better team, Providence, won. And we congratulate the Friars on their well-earned victory as they advance to the WNIT's round of 8.
For every Maryland player on the floor, barring one, this can -- and should -- be a learning experience. Every player, barring one, will be back next season. A game like tonight's might just make them work a little harder in the off-season. Might just make them feel they've got some unfinished business . . . like getting a date for the Big Dance, and taking a few spins around the dance floor. We hope some good will come out of it.
But for one player, tonight marks not just the end of her season, but also the end of her college basketball career. Of course, we're talking about Lori Bjork. We feel really bad that Lori's run ended with such a poor team performance. But that's the way it is sometimes. In any event, the BasketCases are so very happy that Lori choose to transfer to Maryland (after earning her undergraduate degree at Illinois). Though she's only played this one season, she's been a strong contributor to the Terps. What a great team player! What a bright, hard-working, personable young woman! As Terps fans, we haven't known Lori long . . . but that doesn't mean we won't miss her. Thank you, and good luck, Lori, and Emery, we wish you all the best in whatever comes next in your lives.
So that's it, Terps fans. Another Maryland season in the books. It'll be a long wait until next season kicks off (with several new faces). In the meantime, thank goodness for the Mystics. See you all soon at the Verizon Center!