There are some games that you remember for a really long, long time . . . maybe forever. The 2006 National Championship game, obviously. The 2009 Sweet Sixteen game where Marissa Coleman dropped 42 points on Vandy and carried her team on her back to the win. And then . . . there's today's Sweet Sixteen game between the Terps and the Aggies. This one ranks right up there with those truly memorable games. This was one the BCs won't forget for a really, really, long time . . . maybe forever!
This noon-time match-up between the Terps and the defending National Champions was a heart-stopping, gut wrenching, hold-your-breath, you can't believe what you're seeing (both good and bad) kind of game that kept BCs talking (and occupied) for nearly every minute of our five-hour drive home from Raleigh. And we don't think we're even close to being talked out about this one. Like those other special games, we'll be revisiting this one for a good long while.
You all saw it. You saw how Maryland won this game. The Terps, who've been the comeback kids all season, came back today from big deficits . . . not once, but twice.
Down 18 points in the first half, they got the game back to 3 at the break. Then down 11 in the second, the Terps came back -- again -- to pull ahead with just a few minutes left. And by the final buzzer, the comeback kids
had pulled out a 7-point victory, 81-74,
to the Elite Eight. Sweet.
The win was a solid team effort
, led by Maryland's two Special Sophs, Laurin Mincy
and Alyssa Thomas
, who each had 21 points, leading all scorers. Laurin
also recorded her first ever
double-double, pulling down 12 boards, a career (and game) high. Alyssa
was just short of a double-double with 9 rebounds. Senior Lynetta Kizer
, who said after the game that she did not want this to be her last, did her part to ensure that it wasn't, putting up 15 points, while Tianna Hawkins
had 12 before taking a hard fall and having to leave the game (and the court) with about 7 minutes left. (She later returned to the court and was seen warming up on an exercise bike, so we hope that she is good to go on Tuesday.)
Two filled-to-the-rafters sections of Maryland fans made the trip to Raleigh to cheer on the Terps, and during the first half rally and then in the final minutes of the game, the fans were on their feet, screaming, and doing all they could to will the team to a comeback and then to a victory. As two of those fans, we hope we helped them -- at least a little bit -- to claim this big win. At any rate, the BCs have pretty much lost our voices. It was worth it. (And our colleagues at work might actually be pleased . . . we mean that the Terps won, of course.)
Now that Maryland has sent the defending National Champions home, only one team stands in the way of a Terps trip to the Final Four . . . last year's National Championship runner-up! Notre Dame, to no one's surprise, easily advanced to Tuesday's game, dominating St. Bonaventure (tip-off to buzzer), 79-35. (Sorry, Father Mike.)
We don't know how Tuesday's 9 PM Regional Final between the Terps and the Fighting Irish will turn out, but we suspect it's going to be another close, exciting, possibly down to the wire (and perhaps then some) kind of game; in other words, a real battle. When you reach the Elite Eight, 300-plus teams have been reduced to just eight, so there are no easy opponents and no easy wins left.
All the BCs can say for certain is that this year's Terps are warriors; they play with heart; they never give up. Is that enough to earn a trip to Denver? We don't know, but we sure hope so . . . We guess we'll have to wait til Tuesday night to see if Maryland can pull off the upset.Go Terps . . . Beat the Irish!
P.S. It was a long drive down, and a long drive back (nearly 6oo miles roundtrip) but we don't regret a single mile, a single minute, or a single thunderstorm of the trip. It was one of those games we'll be remembering for a very, very long time. It was so worth it!
Photo Credit: DC BasketCases (taken with an NCAA-approved-non-detachable-lens camera)