Saturday, January 28, 2012

Taking a Flyer

We bet the BCs aren't the only Maryland fans having a hard time trying to erase the memory of last Thursday's game from their psyches.

If only there were another Terps game this weekend. Maybe that might help us move past it. Alas, this was the Terps' "bye" weekend. No game. Nothing for fans to do but stew about that stunning upset until Maryland tips off against Boston College on Thursday. That's just too long to wait!

We admit it, by this morning (Saturday), the BCs were beginning to feel a little desperate . . . for some basketball, but mostly, for some distraction. Lucky us: a pop up on BC Eileen's Outlook reminded her that today was the day that her alma mater, Dayton, was playing . . . at George Washington, right here in D.C. The Flyers, one of GW's Atlantic 10 opponents, only make the trip to our nation's capital once every two years, so the timing couldn't have been better. BC Eileen was planning to go anyway, and this time, even BC Judith decided to tag along.

So this afternoon, we sat behind the Flyers' bench and cheered for the team in red. We're happy to report that Dayton beat the Colonials . . . easily. No tension; no drama; simply a tip-off-to-final-buzzer win, 74-56, for the Flyers.

Frankly, the only thing that upset us about today's game was . . . the pizza! At Comcast Center (not exactly known for inexpensive concession pricing), we can get an individual-size Papa John pizza for $8 -- big enough for one hearty appetite, two small appetites, or 1-1/2 average appetites. But at GW, $4 buys you a single (dry and chewy) slice of Domino's pizza, not even 4" on each side. The serving was so small it rattled around in the much larger triangular-shaped box in which it was served. It should've been billed as kiddie-size or a diet portion. (Just another reason to root against GW!)

This afternoon's game was fun. It was also a distraction. That doesn't mean it could completely erase the memory of last Thursday. But, fun and distraction are better than nothing.

Thanks, Flyers! And congratulations on a solid conference win! See you again soon . . . in 2014.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Utterly Embarrassing

Tonight, at home, the Terps were beaten by Virginia Tech, 75-69.

Congratulations to the Hokies.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Flip Side

Yesterday, the Washington Wizards announced that Head Coach Flip Saunders had been fired 17 games into the strike-shortened NBA season, after guiding the team to a 2-15 start.

Last summer, Mystics Head Coach Trudi Lacey led her team to a 6-28 record for the 2011 WNBA season . . . including a 3-14 record for her first 17 games.

The Mystics' owners, the same people who own and manage the Wizards, praised Lacey's performance at the conclusion of the Mystics' 2011 season, and made it clear that she would be welcomed back for the 2012 season.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Last Time Duke lost a game at home to an ACC opponent was way back on February 17, 2008. The opponent was Maryland, and that day just also happened to be the day on which Coach B's twin sons, Markus and Tyler, were born. What a great birth-day present!

With Coach B's father celebrating his 80th birthday today, the BCs were hoping that the Terps could deliver a similar present on the road at Duke again. But not this year, as the Blue Devils defeated Maryland this afternoon, 80-72.

It's tough to play in Cameron, and though the Terps played tough, it just wasn't quite enough. The Blue Devils outrebounded Maryland, 35-27 . . . and they put up more points. And so Duke won. It was hard-fought, but still a loss for the Terps (albeit only their second of the year and only their second of the ACC season). Today's game was not what we were hoping for, but it was exciting all the same. We're already looking forward to the rematch at Comcast on February 19th.

Since her team lost, we're pretty sure her individual stat line won't matter much to Super Soph Alyssa Thomas. She's all about the winning. However, it wasn't lost on the BCs that AT did.everything.possible to get her first win at Cameron. AT played the entire game, she tied her career high of 26 points (and led all scorers), she notched a double-double (10 boards), she stole the ball 4 times, and she dished out 3 assists. She did everything but hand out the water bottles. Unfortunately, she'll have to wait another year for a shot at beating Duke at Cameron.

Two other Terps also finished in double figures -- Tianna Hawkins (17) and Lynetta Kizer (12).

The Terps return home now, to face Virginia Tech on Thursday at 7 PM.

Go Terps! . . . Beat the Hokies!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

If All You Saw was the final score of Maryland's win tonight over Wake Forest at Comcast, 86-58, you'd probably never guess that these two teams had been tied at the half, 37-all. But they were.

The Terps played a somewhat uninspired first 20 minutes, on both the offensive and defensive ends . . . except for one player. Tianna Hawkins started the night by pulling down 15 rebounds in 15 minutes! You don't have to be a math genius to figure that averages out to 1 board per minute of playing time. Fifteen rebounds would be pretty damn darn good for a full game; 15 in the first half . . . that's great!

And Tianna didn't stop there. She led the Terps in a second half rout of the Demon Deacons, as Maryland outscored Wake Forest 49-21 in the final 20 minutes. Tianna played a total of (only) 27 minutes, finishing with a game-high 18 points and (drumroll, please) 24 rebounds! Yes, 2-4 . . . 24 boards! That's just, well, amazing!

Not only amazing, but a New Maryland School Record. Tonight, T-Hawk broke a Terps record that had stood for 35 years. Let's put this in perspective: if Tianna's record stands as long as the previous one did, it won't be broken until the year 2047.

Fantastic accomplishment, Ti!

As big a night as this was for Tianna, the Terps' 5th ACC win this year (and 18th win of the season) was far from a one-woman show. Tianna was pulling down boards all game long, but when we saw Alyssa Thomas break out her trademark smile early in the second half, we just knew this game was going to end well for Maryland.

After struggling against the Cavs, and scoring just 4 points in the first half tonight, Super Soph A-T finished the game just 3 assists short of a triple-double (16 points, 11 boards and 7 assists). It's hard to upstage an outing like that . . . but breaking a 35-year-old school record? Yeah, that'll do it. We give the nod to Tianna.

But this evening's second-half dismantling of the Deacons wasn't a two-woman tag-team performance either. It was a solid team win. At one point in the second half, the BCs looked at the scoreboard and noticed something you don't see very often: all 5 Maryland players on the court at that time were in double figures. 'Netta, Laurin and Bones each finished with 11 points.

The first half wasn't all that much fun, but the second half more than made up for it. A well-played 20 minutes of basketball. A great way to finish . . . particularly when the next time the officials toss the ball in the air, the Terps will be facing Duke, on the road at Cameron. It doesn't get any tougher than that . . . not, at least, in ACC play. From Demons to Devils, that's the ACC!

Congratulations, Tianna! You are now part of Maryland history!

Go Terps . . . Beat the Blue Devils!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Yay, the Terps Won. But it's Really Late. . .

Thanks to the Comcast TV schedule, tonight's game against Virginia didn't tip off until the rather unusual time of 8:30 PM. Which meant it wasn't over till nearly 10:30 PM, which meant we didn't get home till . . . well, you get the gist. The BCs have day jobs, and we need to get up early tomorrow, like it or not. So by necessity, this will just be a quick post about the game.

Virginia always seems to play the Terps tough. Tonight was no exception. But at least Maryland won, 68-61, and is now back on track (after the loss at Miami). It wasn't pretty, but it was a W and that's what really counts. Laurin Mincy had a big game tonight, leading all scorers with 20, while Lynetta Kizer, off the bench, put up a double-double (10 points and 10 boards).

Yay, Maryland! Read more about the game, here from AP, here from the Washington Post, and here from the Washington Times.

Next up for the Terps is a home game on Thursday against Wake Forest, at the civilized hour of 7 PM.

Go Terps! . . . Beat the Demon Deacons!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When the Terps Tipped Off tonight against the Hurricanes in Miami, it was inevitable that one of the teams was going to see a big winning streak come to an end. The Terps began the day as one of only 3 remaining undefeated teams in the NCAA (16-0), while Miami hadn't lost at home since the 2009-10 season . . . an impressive run of 33 straight wins at the BankUnited Center.

Unfortunately for Maryland, the 'Canes once again mounted a successful defense of their home court, handing the Terps their first defeat of the season, 75-63.

Remember back on December 21st when Miami played that dismal game at Georgetown, losing 71-46? Remember the BCs said that we were certain that the Miami team that showed up to play the Terps on January 12th wouldn't look anything like the Miami team that faced the Hoyas . . . a Miami team that, on that night, couldn't hit water from a boat? Well, sadly, we were right. Sometimes we'd rather be wrong.

Tonight, the 'Canes hit 13 of 28 three-pointers (ouch!), 8 of them by Riquna Williams, who torched the Terps with a game-high 34 points. Miami also out-rebounded Maryland (double-ouch!), 40-35. And that's pretty much the story of the game.

We didn't actually see it, but we listened on University of Miami radio (painfully, given how the announcers mangled the Terps' names). Early on it appeared as though the game was going to be a Miami rout, as the Terps quickly found themselves down 22-10, with Riquna Williams pouring in 15 points in the opening minutes. But the Terps found their stride, battled back, and by halftime headed to the locker room with a narrow lead, 27-25.

Maryland opened the second half with a run to widen their lead to 35-28, but Miami came back, and then, for most of the second half, it was anybody's game.

That "anybody" turned out to be Miami. Unfortunately for Maryland, Williams, who hadn't scored since hitting those 15 points early in the first half, came alive once again and started burying threes. After that, it was all downhill for the Terps.

Congratulations to #11-ranked Miami on their big win. There's a good reason they owned a 33-game home win streak (now, 34) and were the pre-season favorite to win the ACC.

The BCs try not very hard at all to avoid cliches, but tonight one is apt. Every end is a new beginning. The Terps have no reason to hang their heads. They have the toughest schedule in the ACC, and after 4 games (3 of them on the road) against 4 quality opponents (2 nationally ranked), Maryland returns home 3-1 in conference play.

They'll have a chance to begin a new win streak and improve upon their ACC record when they face Virginia at Comcast on Monday night at the too late for us folks who have to go to work the next morning time of 8:30PM.

Go Terps! . . . Beat the Cavs!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Watching This Weekend's two televised Maryland games, we had to wonder if the Terps were trying to add an Emmy to their trophy collection, alongside their Natty.

After Friday's unbelievable comeback win over Georgia Tech, the BCs were expecting something today . . . well . . . less dramatic. We were wrong. A day-and-a-half after that big win, the Terps won another one . . . once more, in dramatic fashion. This time, it was a thrilling overtime victory over the Tar Heels, on the road in Chapel Hill, 78-72. More great TV!

Today's matinee wasn't particularly well-played, but it was so close throughout that nobody could possibly think about changing channels. In truth, Maryland played some pretty sloppy basketball during much of regulation. All those Terp turnovers . . . aaarggh! Some forced, but many unforced. 22 in total, and UNC scored bunches (and bunches) of points off Maryland mistakes.

Despite that, Maryland held on and kept the game close. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the teams were all tied up at 53. But Maryland turnovers, coupled with less-than-stellar shooting, plus fouls called against the visiting team, led to a 6-point advantage for the Tar Heels with just 90 seconds left. It was going to take some real heroics to pull this one out, and the BCs wondered whether Maryland's heroics quota for the week had been exhausted on Friday night.

Fortunately not! A 7-1 Maryland run in that final, thrilling, nerve-wracking minute-and-a-half, sparked by a huge 3-pointer by Laurin Mincy and wrapped up by a game-tying bucket at the buzzer by ice-in-her-veins Alyssa Thomas, and this game was headed to overtime!

Of course, everybody knows that overtime is our Terps time. That was true in 2006, and it was still true this afternoon, as those extra 5 minutes allowed Maryland to extend its undefeated streak to 16 games (3-0 in ACC).

Alyssa Thomas -- reigning ACC Player of the Week (and, unless the voters are crazy, this coming week's POW) -- led all scorers with 24 (and played 44 of the 45 minutes). Three more Terps also finished in double figures: Anjale Barrett (16 points, including several critical free throws late in OT), Laurin Mincy (12), and Lynetta Kizer (10). Besides those 16 points, Anj also dished out 9 assists (and would've had a double-double had her teammates been shooting better today). Anjale continued to show just how important her veteran leadership is to this team. Tianna Hawkins and Alicia DeVaughn did a great job cleaning the glass, grabbing 12 and 10 boards, respectively, as the Terps continued to dominate their opponents in rebounding.

The Terps will return to College Park today, but will be racking up more frequent flyer miles again soon, as they take on the #12/13-ranked Hurricanes in Miami on Thursday. The 'Canes were the preseason favorite to win it all in the ACC this season. So, another day in the Conference, another tough match-up.

Go Terps . . . Beat Miami!

P.S. Message to Maryland:
Dear Terps, whatever it takes, please keep the wins coming. But if you can dial back the excitement just a little, that would be much appreciated. We're not sure our aging hearts can take a whole season of games like these last two. Sincerely yours, the BCs.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Talk About Heart. Talk about a never say die attitude. Talk about an amazing comeback. Talk about the Terps!

Maryland's ACC home opener tonight against Georgia Tech (which the BCs could not be at in person but at least got to see from the comfort of our couch, at home . . . that is, during those few stretches when we managed to remain seated) was one UNBELIEVABLE ballgame!

If you were in the arena, you probably took comfort in knowing that Maryland games are staffed with EMTs (and defibrilators) . . . just in case. At home, we were screaming (and groaning, at times) so much we worried that our neighbors might dial 9-1-1, thinking maybe we were victims of a home invasion.

The Terps were down 11 at the half. Then, less than 3 minutes after the break, the Yellow Jackets extend their lead to (a seemingly insurmountable) 20 points. Groan.

Some teams and players would've quit. Not Maryland. And especially not Super Duper Soph Alyssa Thomas. Down 20? No problem! That's when heart and hustle take over . . . for some teams, and some players.

We assume you were watching (from the stands or on TV). So you saw how the Terps battled back, clawed back, willed themselves back from that 20-point deficit.

With 8 minutes left, the Terps narrowed the gap to just 2 points. But Georgia Tech is one tough, scrappy opponent. They hung in there and even stretched their lead again to 8. And then, with 4 minutes left to play, the Maryland Sophomores took over. In those final 240 seconds, the Terps outscored GT, 11-2. Nine of those 11 points came from the underclassmen. And when Alyssa put her team ahead with a mere 17 seconds left in the game (the first time the Terps led in the second half), the roar of the Comcast crowd was incredible (even listening on TV)!

AT's and-one was followed by a free-throw by Laurin in the final 2 seconds; Georgia Tech missed a Hail Mary three, and Maryland won!!! Final score, 77-74. After an amazing, roller-coaster of a ride, the Terps fans stood and cheered their team for a win that proved one thing: this team has HEART!

Not surprisingly, Alyssa led all scorers with 24 points (18 of them in the second half). She grabbed 11 boards for a double-double, and was perfect from the free throw line, hitting 10 of 10. (Overall, the Terps made an impressive 22 of 24 FT attempts.) Alicia DeVaughn also had a double-double (11 points and 11 rebounds), while Laurin Mincy (17 points) and Lynetta Kizer (10 points) also scored in double figures.

It will be hard to top this game for excitement this season. Next up for the 15-0 (2-0 ACC) Terps: a road game against the always venomous Tar Heels on Sunday at 1 PM (you can follow the action on Comcast Sportsnet in the DC area).

Go Terps . . . BEAT UNC!

Saturday Morning Update: Alyssa's go-ahead basket, with 17 seconds remaining, is #6 on ESPN's Sports Center Top 10 plays of the day! BTW, if you want to watch this "instant classic" again . . . Comcast SportsNet (RSN) is rebroadcasting it today at noon.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Friday's game at Comcast (8:30 PM) between the Terps and Georgia Tech has been designated as Leukemia Awareness Night. Coach B and the Maryland program have joined forces with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Team Tyler Foundation to raise awareness of leukemia and also celebrate survivors of this terrible disease.

The Team Tyler Foundation, founded by former Terps players, is (as we suspect you already know) named for Tyler Thomas, son of Coach B and Mark Thomas. Tyler, who was diagnosed with leukemia in September 2010, is, from everything we've heard and seen, doing very well. It's been simply wonderful to see him, now more than a year after his diagnosis, enjoying basketball (and life) at the Comcast Center this season along with his twin brother, Markus.

Some victims of leukemia may not be so fortunate, however. And so the BCs encourage you, if possible, to donate to these worthy organizations. But whether you can donate (or not) we also want to tell you about another way that you might save the life of someone who has leukemia. Join the Be the Match Registry (formerly called the National Bone Marrow Registry)!

As you probably know and can read about in greater detail on the Be the Match web site, here, individuals suffering from leukemia and other blood cancers sometimes need a bone marrow transplant in order to survive. Basically, they need the stem cells that are found in bone marrow and that mature into new blood cells, and they need them from someone who is a suitable match in terms of marrow cell types. The closer the match, the greater the chance that the transplant will be a success.

Unfortunately, close matches are hard to find; according to the Registry, only half of all persons needing a marrow transplant receive one. Obviously, the more people who are listed on the Registry, the greater the chance that a person needing a transplant will find a suitable match. Every single one of us can increase that person's chances by joining the Registry. So if you aren't already on the Registry, sign up . . . and maybe save a life.

In the recent past, bone marrow donations were primarily done through a surgical procedure in which marrow was taken from the donor's hip bones (under anesthesia, of course). It sounds scary and very painful, but it really isn't . . . it's Trust us, we know. Now, however, that type of procedure, in many if not most cases, isn't even necessary. Modern medicine has enabled stem cells to be collected and donated through a relatively simple procedure (called a peripheral blood stem cell donation) that is very much like donating plasma or platelets, for most people not much more difficult than a blood donation.

And joining the Registry is now very easy. You don't have to go anywhere. You don't need to have any blood drawn. You can join from the comfort of your own home. All it takes is a simple swab of cells from the inside of your cheek. All of the information to join can be found here. If you aren't already a member of the Registry, the BCs urge you to become one.

Someday, you just may be that one in a million who is the best "match" for a person who would otherwise die without your help. Wouldn't that be wonderful! Or someday, you or someone close to you might need one of those one in a million matches. Wouldn't it be wonderful if that match came from someone who responded to Leukemia Awareness Night and joined the Registry.

Donate and Register! Go Terps . . . beat the Yellow Jackets! Beat Leukemia!

Monday, January 02, 2012

What Better Way to kick off the New Year ACC season than with a dominating win, over a good team . . . on the road!

That's exactly how the Terps opened their conference schedule tonight in Tallahassee. The 'Noles, who'd won the last two meetings with Maryland, were out-played, out-witted and out-lasted by the Terps, 91-70. As a result, the Maryland win-streak now grows to 14, and, more important, the Terps are 1-0 in conference play.

What a great team effort! Three Maryland players scored in the 20s: Super Soph Laurin Mincy tied for game-high scoring honors with 23 points, Super Soph (and reigning ACC Player of the Week) Alyssa Thomas finished with 21 points and 10 boards for a double-double, and Maryland Secret Service weapon Tianna Hawkins added 20 points and a game-high 13 rebounds (obviously also a double-double). Anjale Barrett chipped in 12 to complete the Terps' double-digit scoring.

The BCs didn't see the game (we wish we had) -- we listened live, and thus were treated to the FSU announcers whining about the officiating, mixing up NCAA women's rules with men's rules, and checking football scores during timeouts, not realizing their mics were still on. (Not to mention comparing Lynetta Kizer in the paint to a "front end loader coming through a strip mine.") But this was still better than no live reports at all. With the Terps playing so well, we were just happy to hear the lead grow and grow and grow.

Up to now, Maryland's three real tests this season (Georgetown, Michigan and Delaware) have all come at home, which had us wondering whether there might be any drop off in performance when the Terps hit the road against a quality opponent. Well, certainly not tonight!

The last time that Maryland beat Florida State on the road was 2009, when Kristi Toliver's (way outside the arc) 3-pointer beat the 'Noles at the buzzer. Today's game didn't have that kind of drama, but that's OK with us. Buzzer-beaters are memorable and exciting, but there's no better way to start the ACC season than with a strong performance like the one the Terps delivered this evening.

Big Start. Big Win. Great way to open Conference play! Congratulations, Terps!

Next up: an 8:30 PM tip-off against Georgia Tech (who beat NC State in their ACC opener this evening) on Friday at Comcast.

Go Terps . . . Beat the Yellow Jackets!