And of course, it wouldn't be the annual banquet without a silent auction to raise money for the women's program. Lots of neat stuff to bid on. This year's offerings included not one, but two road trips with the team to big ACC games . . . which means that four lucky (and generous) fans will get to travel with the team this coming season.
Since the 2010-11 team had no seniors, we thought that this year, we'd be spared those sad goodbyes to departing players. But as Coach B worked though her introduction of the players, we soon learned that one player would not be returning to Maryland next season . . . Diandra T.
As our readers know, Diandra (or "Frenchie" as her teammates call her) tore her ACL in the 2nd round game of the NCAA Tourney in March. That injury, coupled with increasing homesickness for her family back in the Paris suburbs, helped Diandra reach the decision that it was time for her to return home and (when recovered from her injury) begin her pro career in Europe (as well as complete her studies at a university closer to home).
Diandra apparently had some trepidation before the banquet about how the Maryland fans would react to her decision. Any concerns were put to rest by the standing ovation she recieved after Coach B's announcement, by the scrapbook she was presented with by Rebounders Susan and Terri, and by all the personal good wishes showered on Diandra by the fans present. Diandra may have been in College Park only two years, but she will be part of the Maryland basketball family forever. Bonne chance, Diandra!
In other (happier) news: Coach B also informed us that both Alyssa Thomas and Lynetta Kizer have been invited to participate in the USA Basketball selection programs. In doing so, they will follow in the footsteps of Crystal Langhorne and Marissa Coleman, who also played with USA Basketball during their Maryland careers.
Of course, no banquet would be complete without awards. There were plenty handed out . . . for all sorts of special accomplishments and contributions. But for us, the one that really stood out was the presentation of the 2010-11 team's Most Valuable Player award . . . to super frosh Alyssa Thomas. While it's amazing (in a general sense) that a freshman could win the MVP, it didn't seem to surprise anybody in the banquet hall. We all knew she had earned that very special honor.
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