Saturday, December 30, 2006

Classic Terrapins. Maryland won the Terrapin Classic tonight, beating the Marist Red Foxes by a score of 86-60. For the second night in a row, Maryland was deadly from long range, hitting "only" 10 of 20 three-pointers (they hit 12 last night) against a team that had been holding its opponents to 20.6% from behind the arc.

Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood came off the bench and led all scorers with 17, breaking her previous career high of 13 that she'd set just last night. (Coach Summitt, did you know she could score like that?) For those in the non-Maryland basketball community who wondered whether Sa'de would blend with the balanced Terrapin lineup or disrupt the chemistry, her three games to date have made it pretty clear that she fits in seamlessly. Marissa Coleman, who scored 15 points tonight, was named the Tournament MVP. Kristi Toliver was also named to the All-Tournament Team.

Speaking of awards, the BasketCases would like to nominate Marist Coach Brian Giorgis for the year's Best Post-Game Quotes by an Opposing Coach. Brian had this to say about Maryland after tonight's game:
"Not only do they have a lot of depth, but they are extremely skilled. I've been doing this for five years and I have never seen a team shoot like that and have so many different weapons. They pass so well and they can all hit threes. You can't even sag off one person, and the thing is that they find the open person. It's fun to watch; you kind of sit there in awe and wonder if they can miss. Their X's are quite a lot bigger, better, and more talented than our O's, it's just that simple."
The rest of Coach Giorgis's post-game remarks are also a must-read.

While the BasketCases have enjoyed the Terps' "fall victory tour," we're ready and excited for the real action to begin on Wednesday when Maryland tips off ACC Conference play against NC State.

So that's it for basketball 2006 -- the Year of the Natty. Now all that's left is to pop those corks Sunday night and toast this historic year for Maryland basketball. Happy New Year!!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Friday, December 29, 2006

Champs Bowl Roll. These young Terps fans brought some of their holiday spirit into the Comcast Center tonight, helping to cheer Maryland on to a 92-57 win over UNC-Greensboro in their first game of the two-day Terrapin Classic. And while the fans were plentiful (more than 7600!), most of the band and cheerleaders were M-I-A (no doubt in Orlando with the football team). Tonight's musical contingent consisted of what appeared to be four students and some AARP recruits (possibly taking full advantage of Maryland's new 50% AARP discount on tickets!).

Despite the final score, for long stretches it appeared that the Terps themselves were still on their holiday break. They struggled early, but regrouped before halftime with a 35-5 run to take a 48-25 lead into the locker room. However, the starting five began the second half with little energy or focus, prompting Coach Frese to resort to an unprecedented (as far we can recall) wholesale substitution of the entire lineup about two minutes into the half. Coach B didn't have to say anything to them; sitting all 5 down spoke for itself. The team continued to play unevenly, allowing the Spartans to close to 64-48, but another big offensive run allowed the Champs to roll to victory.

There were two aspects of tonight's game that were exceptional . . . The Terps set a Maryland record by making 12 (!!!) three-pointers, including four by Kristi Toliver (all in the first half) and three each by Ashleigh Newman and Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood (in her Comcast Center debut). In addition, the Terps were almost perfect from the free throw line, sinking 24 of 25.

In the first game of tonight's double-header, the Marist Red Foxes doused the Liberty Flames by a score of 76-43. As their prize for the win, the Red Foxes get to play Maryland on Saturday, the first time they have ever played any reigning National Championship team. Maryland and Marist will be playing the second game tomorrow, at approximately 6pm, while Liberty and UNCG will play the consolation match at 3:30pm.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Thursday, December 28, 2006

And They Called the Third Moriah. If you're at Comcast Center this Friday and Saturday for the Terrapin Classic (and why wouldn't you be?) and think you're seeing double triple . . . well, you are! Liberty University (one of the four schools playing in the tourney*) has the only set of triplets playing for the same Division I team. The three Liberty sophomores were born shortly after midnight on March 29, 1987. The only fraternal triplet of the group was born first and was named Megan Frazee (#40), the next arrival, the first of the identical twins within the triplets, was named Molly Frazee (#41), and, yes, they called the third Moriah (#42). (Sorry, we couldn't resist!)

The Liberty Flames face off against the Marist College Red Foxes in the first game of the Classic at 3:30 PM tomorrow (Friday) with the Terps taking on the Spartans of UNC-Greensboro in the second-half of the double-header at around 6 PM. On Saturday at 6 PM, Maryland faces the winner of Friday's first game, with UNCG playing the losing team at 3:30 PM.

[*Liberty University is a school founded by one of the BasketCases' least favorite people, Jerry Falwell. The BasketCases promise to try very hard this weekend to separate politics and basketball, but it won't be easy. If Liberty should advance to the game against the Terps, it will give us even greater than usual pleasure to cheer for Maryland (and hope they kick some Liberty butt).]

Photo Credit: Jamie Hall/Liberty Athletics

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Year To Celebrate! This New Year’s Eve, no Terps fan will be without a reason to look back on 2006 with fond memories . . . or without a reason to look forward to what 2007 may hold. So, if you’re like the BasketCases, you should start now looking under seat cushions for loose change and breaking open those piggy banks, so you can maximize your budget for New Year’s Bubbly!

Since we enjoy drinking champagne almost as much as we enjoy watching basketball (or even better . . . drinking champagne while we are watching basketball) -- we thought we'd share some basic bubbly information and suggestions for our loyal blog readers who just might be wondering what bottle to pick up this week to help ring out the Year of the Natty and ring in the Year of Whatever the Future Holds.

First, an important definition. If that bottle of bubbly isn't from the Champagne region of France, well -- we hate to break it to you, but it isn't really champagne!! It's sparkling wine, and that’s OK -- it may still be pretty darn good -- but the French wine police (or maybe even Aurelie) may be after you if you call it champagne.

Now, what's in champagne? Champagne is typically a blend of three grapes: Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (both black grapes), and Chardonnay (a white grape). However, you'll find some sparklers that are Blanc de Blancs (made only from Chardonnay) and Blanc de Noirs (made only from the black grapes). Then, of course, there is vintage champagne (made only from the grapes of a single harvest of a good year), and non-vintage champagne (a blend of wines from different years' harvests). Champagne styles range from very full-bodied, toasty wines, to lighter, more citrusy flavors.

But getting back to the question: what should you drink on New Year's Eve? Well, as with so many things in life, you first need to decide how much you can afford and are willing to spend. It's not that we're snobs or anything (okay, we are), but life is just too short to drink bad bubbly . . . go for the best your budget allows! And to help you make the right choice, here are some sparklers that the BasketCases can personally recommend (and that are all widely available), along with their price ranges, beginning with the most affordable:

Under $20: okay, let's be frank, this is not going to get you the real deal (champagne), but you can find some sparkling wines that are just fine to drink. One modestly-priced standby in our house is Domaine Chandon, a California bubby. We particularly enjoy their Blanc de Noirs; it has a nice berry flavor, is good with food, and, for what it costs, is quite enjoyable. For you folks looking for a rose that doesn't require taking out a 2nd mortgage, Roederer Estate, another California producer, makes a very respectable one (though it may cost you a little over $20 if you can't find it on sale).

$20-$30: now we move into the price range that will get you the real stuff, champagne, though not a vintage wine. Still, there are real finds here. We highly recommend Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Blue Top, which at this time of the year you can often find on sale for about $25-27. It's a very nice champagne on the toasty, more full-bodied end of the spectrum; it's one of our favorites. Also generally available at the top of this price range (or perhaps just a little over $30) is another of our favorites, Pommery Brut Royal, which is a light, citrusy sparkler and very enjoyable.

$30-$50: in this price range, you'll have no trouble finding wonderful champagnes and sparkling wines. Here are a few that we really like: Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de Reserve (a smooth, toasty champagne; it can often be found on sale under $30); Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut (a more full-bodied, oak-ey champagne), and Roederer Estate L'Hermitage Brut (a California sparkler that's as close to champagne as any domestic bubbly we've tried!).

Over $50: OK, this price will get you the top shelf stuff, typically vintage champagnes. The year 1996 was an especially good one in Champagne; you can still find '96 vintages in the stores, and if you are going to be spending that kind of money on a bottle, get a good vintage. Two of the '96s we've particularly enjoyed are Veuve Clicquot Vintage Reserve and Bollinger Grande Annee. And if you really want to go all out with a prestige cuvee (meaning the producer's top champagne), one of the finest champagnes we've ever had is the 1996 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame. It's a smooth, delicious, perfectly balanced wine, not specifically toasty or citrusy, with a wonderful finish. It's still available in stores. It will set you back $100 or more, but heck, how many times will Maryland win its first Natty?

So, once again, our advice is to buy the best you can afford! And, regardless of what your price range happens to be, we're certain you'll find a sparkling wine worthy of celebrating a championship year.

Happy Old Year and Happy New Year to one and all!!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases (all of the vintages of Champagne Pommery on display in their Roman chalk cellars approximately 100 ft beneath Reims, France)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holidays from the BasketCases!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

We Came. We Saw. We Conquered. It took the BasketCases more than two hours to cover the 40-some miles from downtown D.C. to North Baltimore during rush hour this evening. When we finally arrived at Loyola (late), it was clear that we weren't the only members of Turtle Nation who had braved the traffic to see the Terps return to action after an 11-day layoff and to witness the long-awaited Maryland debut of Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood. The bleachers at the Reitz Arena were packed (standing room only) with hundreds and hundreds of fans wearing Terrapin red.

Sa'de's first appearance as a Terp was, quite frankly, what Maryland fans had expected. She fitted seamlessly into the Terps' rotation and fast-paced offense, pushing the ball up the court (see above!) and looking for -- and typically finding (8 assists!) -- an open teammate. Auspiciously, although they weren't Sa'de's first points of the night (or as a Terp), she did hit the basket that sent Maryland into triple digits in a blowout that ended 110-55.

Crystal Langhorne was perfect tonight (9 of 9 from the field), but it was Marissa Coleman who led all scorers with 21. Laura Harper dominated the boards with 12 rebounds, on the way to another double-double (11 points). And in addition to her 8 assists, Sa'de scored 7 points of her own. Starting point guard Kristi Toliver "only" had 6 assists, but she did put up 11 points. Meanwhile, Shay Doron was picking the Greyhounds' pockets, coming up with 5 steals to go along with her 13 points. Loyola Coach Joe Logan was suitably impressed:
"In my opinion, they're the best offensive team that I've ever seen. I was an assistant coach at St. Joe's when we played Connecticut and I told [the Greyhounds] that offensively this is the best team that I've ever seen in women's basketball, and there are some pretty good teams out there."
Prior to tonight, Coach Brenda Frese liked to refer to her team as having seven starters. They now have eight. Welcome Sa'de.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

* * * * * *
Friday Morning Update: Couldn't Face the Traffic? The Washington Post, true to form, didn't bother to send its own reporter to the game last night, relying instead on an AP story. In contrast, the Washington Times, a paper that most folks with triple digit IQs would never read for news but that has a surprisingly good sports section, not only had Ken Wright's pre-game story that we linked to on Thursday, but a post-game article today as well. And of course the Baltimore Sun's wonderful Milton Kent did not miss the game either.

It's Official

The BasketCases bring you LIVE this first look at Sa'de Wiley Gatewood making her debut as a Terp. More after the game.
(BasketCases live mobile blogging.)

Burn Those Orange Leggings, Sa'de . . . it's all Maryland Red and Black from here on out!

According to articles in today's Baltimore Sun and Washington Times, Sa'de "will suit up" when the Terps travel (??? . . . Baltimore is what, maybe 30 minutes from campus?) to Loyola tonight to take on the Greyhounds at 7 PM. (Be there or listen via

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Do You Ever Wonder Why the coach of an unranked smaller conference team (a team that hasn't even managed to beat its in-state rival for 31 years!) would agree to schedule the reigning national champions --- who just happen to be returning all their starters? The BasketCases wondered just that when Maryland traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa earlier this month to play the University of Northern Iowa on the first stop of the Terps' Loose Meat Sandwich Tour.

Well, last night, playing on rival Iowa's home floor, the UNI Panthers routed the Iowa Hawkeyes by a score of 83-62. Coach Tony DiCecco (who was a most gracious host to the Terps) said this about his team's victory, "I think it's one of the biggest wins in the history of Northern Iowa". And UNI senior Jessie Biggs provides some insight into the mindset of the Panthers' lineup:

"You can always say you're not intimidated playing Iowa, but this year we had played big-time schools. We played Minnesota at their place, Washington at their place, and No. 1 in the nation (Maryland). We knew we could play with people."
Jessie, by the way, is the same player who, after the loss to the Terps, said
"We were able to rebound against 6-4. We were able to do the little things. We're Division I basketball players, we can hit shots. We'll get confidence out of this. We can only go up from here.''
And so they did! The BasketCases congratulate Coach Tony Di and his Panthers on this BIG win for the UNI program! (I guess he answered our question . . . we don't have to wonder any longer.)

Photo Credit: DesMoines Register

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Save the Whales! As Sa’de Wiley-Gatewood’s debut as a Terrapin approaches, speculation has been running rampant about the REAL reason she transferred from Tennessee. She told the Diamondback last week that as she was playing against Maryland at the Paradise Jam a year ago, "I was thinking to myself, 'Why don't we play like that, pushing the ball, having fun?'" The BasketCases believed there had to be more to it than a girl just wanting to have fun . . . so we asked people who don’t know Sa’de for the real reasons they believe she transferred. Most respondents seemed to think Sa’de was a victim of culture-shock at Tennessee. So we asked for some examples to help our readers understand a little more about the cultural experience of attending college in Tennessee. The BasketCases have compiled those responses into a list that we've titled:
Top 10 Reasons to Transfer from Tennessee.

Number 10.
I was on my way from the “Knox-vull” airport to the campus, when my local cab-driver was pulled over by a Tennessee State trooper. The trooper asked the driver, "Got any I.D.?" and my driver replied "Bout wut?"
Number 9. When my family came out to Tennessee for parents’ weekend, they stayed at a local Knox-vull hotel. At one point, my Dad had to call the front desk to report a minor plumbing problem . . . he said "I gotta leak in my sink," and the clerk replied, "Go right ahead."
Number 8. Until you’ve spent some time in Tennessee, you can’t possibly understand why they need to have a law that says “Driving is not to be done while asleep”.
Number 7. For my first few months at UT, I thought my roomies had nicknamed me “Jeet” because before every meal they would address me that way. Eventually I learned that “Jeet” is an actual phrase meaning “Did you eat?”
Number 6. Did you know they have a $3 million State Lottery in Tennessee? The winner gets $3.00 a year for a million years.
Number 5. On UT's student registration forms, immediately after the box where you check your marital status, the next question asks: If married, relationship to spouse (check all that apply): (_) Sister(_) Brother(_) Aunt(_) Uncle(_) Cousin(_) Mother(_) Father(_) Son(_) Daughter.
Number 4. In Tennessee, "onced" and "twiced" are actual words in common usage.
Number 3. Be careful attending a “potluck” at UT, it’s legal in Tennessee to gather and consume roadkill.
Number 2. “Fixinto” is one word. As in, "Coach Summitt, I’m fixinto transfer to Maryland where people don’t use words like onced, twiced and fixinto."
And, Number 1. It’s actually the law in Tennessee that you cannot shoot any game from a moving vehicle . . . other than Whales.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The BasketCases' First Annual Holiday Shopping Guide!

Got a Friend with a Cow? If you're like the BasketCases and still need to pick up a few last minute holiday gifts for family and friends, and if some of those recipients just happen to be Maryland or Mystics women's basketball fans, well, you've come to the right place! We've done a little searching at the Terps Team Store and the Mystics website, and have a few recommendations.
First of all, for that Terps' fan who has everything, what could beat a Testudo Branding Iron?!! Really, particularly here in the national capital area, this is just a must-have item for ensuring that your friend's grazing animals are not confused with anyone else's livestock . . . like a Dukie's (heaven forbid!) Please don't tell PETA that we've recommended this item. They might boycott our blog.

Have We Got Your Number! Looking for a more traditional gift? Thanks to a commenter on our blog, we've been alerted to a new item, something we've been hoping would be sold for a very long time. (Okay, that's a huge hint to people still looking for gifts for us!) Maryland women's numbered jerseys for all five starters!! The difficulty here, of course, is that buying one requires you to show favorites, and we love everyone on the team! The obvious solution? Buy all five!! (Actually, make that 6 --- Shay's number is also available in youth sizes.) BTW, you won't find any names on the backs of these jerseys . . . NCAA rules won't allow it. But, what self-respecting Terps fan doesn't already know the number of every player by heart?

Let's Pimp Your Ride! Here are a few ideas for turning that boring old basic transportation you or your friend drives into a genuine Terp-mobile! Just swing by the team store at Comcast Center and pick up a 2006 Women's NCAA National Championship license plate holder! (Or, be like the BasketCases and buy two . . . so you can show your support for the Terps --- both coming and going!) Then, while you're in the store, add to your shopping cart a couple of big Terrapin Car Magnets . . . so even from the side, people will know the car belongs to a Terps fan! And, of course, to complete your car's extreme makeover, you must invest in a Women's National Championship Decal and matching key ring! Vrrrrooomm! Vrrrrooomm! You are now ready to roll!

Etan Not Included. And, now, something for those special Mystics fans and little tykes on your list . . . what could be better than a limited edition Pax the Panda stuffed animal! (Displayed here for you in an exclusive BasketCases photo by the Wizards' Etan Thomas.) You cannot buy a Pax Build-a-Bear Panda in any store! They "can only be obtained through the purchase of a Mystics Holiday Pack" --- a ticket deal plus Panda package that you can buy for as little as $54! And, if you buy today (or any time before February 28th), the Mystics will throw in a holiday card! And, that's not all! Each Holiday Pack purchaser also gets a genuine 2006 Mystics ornament! But, wait, there's more!!! You also get a Washington Mystics gift bag --- at NO extra cost! Wow! A deal like this can't last long!! Call 1-877-DC.HOOP1 to order your Pandas (and tickets) while supplies last!!!

The BasketCases wish you happy shopping and hope that all our loyal readers have a very Happy Holiday and a joyful and peaceful New Year!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Final Five. According to an article in today's Hartford Courant, the nation's most sought after Class of 2008 women's basketball prospect, Elena Delle Donne, announced that "She has narrowed her list (of schools) to UConn, Tennessee, Duke, Villanova and Maryland, and said the earliest she'll decide is the spring, because she wants to concentrate on playing."

If you aren't already familiar with "EDD", well, she's a 6'4" Guard/Forward. Oh yes, with that height she can post up alright . . . but her quickness, shooting ability (even from 3-point land!), passing and court sense are such that (like Marissa Coleman) she could really play any position --- though the 3 is her preferred spot. A talent like EDD doesn't come along every day . . . or even every year . . . maybe only every few years. And, whatever team wins the EDD lottery will be in for quite a ride! (Here's hoping that team is MARYLAND!) Showing a great deal of class and maturity, Elena is communicating personally with the coaches of the schools she has ruled out. "Everyone deserved to know from me, not just someone else. I'm really thankful for them following me ever since I was in eighth grade. I felt like I owed it to them for making all the visits. The coaches that I'm really close to now, I will definitely call them."

A Little Perspective: The BasketCases came across an inspirational article some time back from the (Wilmington, DE) News Journal that appeared in March 2005 when Elena was a high school freshman. [Hanky Warning!] It reveals a great deal about the challenges that Elena and the Delle Donne family have had to face on account of Elena's much-treasured but severely disabled sister, Lizzie. The BasketCases hope to see Elena in a Terps uniform, but if she chooses another school (even the dreaded Duke) we will wish her well, and hope that she will be happy at whatever school she decides to attend.

Photo Credit: Hartford Courant

Monday, December 11, 2006

Balance, n. fr., 1: proportion: harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole 2: equality of distribution (for example, when all five starters on one basketball team are among the 50 preseason nominees for the Naismith Trophy for the national player of the year in women's college basketball, their team could be considered to have achieved balance)

Today, according to, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced that Marissa Coleman, Shay Doron, Laura Harper, Crystal Langhorne and Kristi Toliver of the Maryland Terrapins are all Naismith player of the year nominees.

The BasketCases congratulate all five players and the entire Terrapin team on this extraordinary achievement!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

U-G-L-Y! WE AIN'T GOT NO ALIBI! It was ugly. Ugly!

No, today's game at Temple was not pretty, not by a long shot. In fact, for a few moments there in the second half, the BasketCases were worried that they were about to see the first Maryland loss since the finals of the ACC tournament. But the Terps emerged with a win, proving once again that they never, ever give up.

In the low scoring first half, Maryland pulled out to a 28-18 lead, only to see Temple close the gap to two points (30-28) at halftime. The Terps emerged from the locker room firing on all cylinders, quickly extending their lead to double digits. But the feisty Owls applied a pressure defense that clearly rattled the Terps, who committed 21 turnovers in the game. (Maybe they've had too many creampuff opponents of late?) An 18-1 run by Temple put the Owls up by 4 with fewer than 6 minutes left to play. However, in the words of Crystal Langhorne, the Terps "are very experienced and have an advantage down the stretch." They put that experience to good use, finally settling down and responding with a 13-point run of their own, winning by a score of 77-66.

Coach Frese used only 7 players today (Christie and Aurelie never got off the bench against the very quick Owl lineup). All 5 starters scored in double figures, and (ticket taker?) Marissa Coleman had another double-double (16 points and 10 rebounds). Philly-area "local Terps" Laura Harper and Crystal Langhorne scored 17 pts and 16 pts respectively in their "homecoming."

Despite all the double digit scoring, however, the BasketCases give today's MVP award to the UM Dept. of Transportation Services bus driver, who managed to maneuver a huge University bus onto and through one of the narrowest, one-way, parked-in streets you could find in any urban area in the United States. He also gets the award for the best one-liner of the day. When one of the Rebounders told the driver "I had my eyes closed when you were doing that," the driver replied, "So did I."

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Temple Faces In The Crowd

A Friendly (and Photogenic) Team Manager and Friends

Temple Alum and WNBA All-Star Candice Dupree

Former ACC Star, WNBA All-Star, Olympic Gold Medalist and USA Flag Bearer Dawn Staley (oh yeah, she's the Temple Coach too)

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Turtle fans have landed

After a fun filled adventure up I-95, the busload of Rebounders has arrived in Philly. To our great dismay, no cheesesteaks are sold in the Liacouras Center! Guess we'll have to settle for some great basketball!

(BasketCases live mobile blogging)

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Another Stop on the Meat Sandwich Tour! Sunday morning, along with a full busload of Maryland Rebounders, the BasketCases will be heading North to Philly to cheer on the Terrapins in their 2 PM match-up against Coach Dawn Staley's Temple Owls. The BasketCases will be leaving Loose Meat Sandwiches behind and hoping to sample some famous Philadelphia fare -- indeed, one of our favorite foods -- cheesesteaks!!! When not busy chowing-down on a "Whiz, wit" (translation: steak sandwich with Cheez Whiz and fried onions), we hope to try some mobile blogging --- so watch this space. [The BasketCases don't like to use this blog to get too political, but do you recall earlier this year when Geno's -- not the UConn Coach's restaurant but the famous Philly cheesesteak joint -- insisted that its customers order in English? Does "Whiz, wit" seem like English to you? We knew there was a reason we liked Pat's Steaks better!]

Getting back to Sunday's game, and not to make too big a point of it, but we do recall reading that at Temple's Basketball Madness, when asked about the upcoming game against the reigning national champs, Coach Staley replied "Bring It On!" Now, as a matter of principle, the BasketCases don't generally engage in trash-talking; instead, we'll just respond with a music video from YouTube. (After viewing it, just ask yourself whether you think it's a good idea to piss off challenge a giant Turtle to "bring it on!")

Temple is a well-coached formidable opponent --- a bigger challenge than some the Terps have faced in recent days. The Owls have a record of 4-3, with two of those losses coming in close games to ACC teams (Virginia and NC State). And they beat Georgia Tech 76-62 (a team that nearly knocked Maryland out of the ACC tourney last March). So the BasketCases assume that the Turtles will not be looking past the Owls.

More to come on Sunday from the City of Brotherly Love and the Birthplace of American Independence! (If you're not joining us at the game, you can listen to it on Terps Sports radio.)

* * * * * * * *

Sunday Morning Update. Mel Greenberg of the Philadelphia Inquirer predicts that the face off between Maryland and Temple will be "more an event than a game," and reports that Coach Staley scheduled it way back when because "Maryland was on the brink of being great."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

UNI Panthers Not Sure What Hit 'Em. Judging from the articles coming out of Iowa this morning, it's been a while since the state has seen a team like Maryland. In fact, the Des Moines Register not only has a full game report, it also has a separate column by Nancy Clark in which she says that Maryland "forced Northern Iowa into such a poor performance Wednesday night that it set women's basketball in Iowa back a decade." Now, Nancy, the BasketCases think you are being unfair. We prefer the upbeat attitude of UNI senior Jessie Biggs, who, despite shooting 1 of 12, said of last night's game, "We were able to rebound against 6-4. We were able to do the little things. We're Division I basketball players, we can hit shots. We'll get confidence out of this. We can only go up from here.'' Way to go, Jessie!

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier alerted its readers about a "Frese Warning" --- telling the story of how Maryland put the UNI team "on ice". Lots of other fun quotes coming out Iowa today. One of our favorites is from UNI Head Coach Tony DiCecco:"The Toliver girl is a player. She's an absolute player." Yes, Tony, we know. Remember, she hit The Shot!! And then there are the assessments from members of a 7th grade basketball team out of Union of La Porte City:

"They're good ballhandlers."

"They're good rebounders."

To which their coach added: "They're very athletic. Just looking at them, they're quick and talented, they jump and they're vertical." Yes, coach, as Tony Di said after the game: "Maryland is as good as they say they are." No wonder he seems to be re-thinking that home-and-home he'd agreed to: "'I'm not really looking forward to going back because most of those kids will be the same kids in a year,' said DiCecco, referring to the four Maryland starters who will return next season." You've got that right, Tony!!

Photo Credit: Harry Baumert, Des Moines Register

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Iowa Values, Maryland Basketball. Prior to the tip-off of tonight's Terps game at UNI, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack honored Brenda Frese with a proclamation (read by the UNI Athletic Director) for her accomplishments and for upholding the values of the state of Iowa. Vilsack recently announced that he's running for the Democratic nomination for President. While the BasketCases have no doubt that Brenda is completely deserving of tonight's honor, they also (in their jaded Washington mentality) wonder if perhaps Gov. Vilsack is pulling out all the stops to win the Maryland primary.

As for the game . . . despite a turnover-laden start, the Terps settled down and were up 35-8 at the break. (KT and Lang each had 12 points by then.) The Panthers' single-digit first half got the announcers feverishly studying their Maryland Media Guides to find the fewest points ever allowed by the Terps in a game. Turns out that number is 22. Fortunately for UNI, they will not enter the Maryland record books in that category as they picked it up in the second half, losing "only" by a score of 77-33.

It's clear from all the articles we read that Iowans extended a warm welcome to their homey, Brenda Frese, and to her Maryland Terrapins. Maryland will have an opportunity to return the favor when (according to media reports) they will host the UNI Panthers at Comcast next season.

Shay . . . Leave some of that Loose Meat for the rest of us! From the amount of press coverage the Maryland team is attracting, it appears that the Brenda Frese Victory Tour could be the biggest thing to hit Iowa since the presidential caucuses (perhaps bigger even than Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's ride through the Tall Corn State!).

Being from our nation’s capital, where we consider ourselves lucky when the local papers publish the score of a women’s basketball game the day after it's been played, it never occurred to the BasketCases that the Waterloo Cedar-Falls Courier would have not one, but two articles about the Terps/UNI matchup the day before the game. So in addition to Tuesday's Here Comes Trouble article, we belatedly discovered that the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier also ran a second feature article in yesterday's edition! (Our bad!!) And another fascinating story it is (yes, another must-read!). It seems that UNI Coach Tony DiCecco has been getting phone calls from local fans, who simply cannot believe that it really is the National Champs who are coming to town to play his Panthers. According to DiCecco,“one lady asked, 'Is it Maryland State?'" Coach Di also had this this to say about tonight's match-up:
“If there was ever a female version of (David) and Goliath, I would have to think this would be a pretty good opportunity that's going to take place. Diane and Goliath's sister are going to get together on Wednesday."
And, today in the Des Moines Register, the Terps' dinner at the Freses rates a feature with photos! We learn from this article that "Coach Brenda Frese's parents, Bill and Donna, treated the players to a dinner they'll probably never forget." Perhaps because they served Loose Meat Sandwiches!!?? Well, apparently not! Leave it to the Register's sportswriter, Brandon Cleaver, to reveal that the dinner was catered by a local restaurant . . . (and no, we are not making this up) the Olive Garden! Beaver Cleaver reports that Brenda's Mom, Donna, enjoys sharing with her player-guests old photos of her children. According to yet another feature article --- this one in the Cedar Rapids Gazette --- there was one photo in particular that caught the players' attention. John Riehl of the Gazette tells us:
A high school picture of Frese sporting a haircut resembling a mullet will be a lasting image in the minds of her players from this trip to her home state. The top-ranked and defending national champion Terrapins stopped for a visit last night at the Frese home. "Mullets equal bad for all time,'' Maryland junior all-American Crystal Langhorne said. Don't think for a second the players won't give Coach B … also known as Coach Brenda Frese . . . a hard time about her hairstyle . . . "I think I'm going to take a picture of that mullet with my phone, so I can show people her hairstyle,'' Langhorne said.
If we find any more breaking news on the Terps' trip to Iowa, we'll be sure to post it here! This is BIG, really BIG . . . at least in Iowa! Oh, and lest we forget, there IS a game tonight: Diane vs Goliath's sister at 8:05 PM ET. Audio is available through the Terps website.

Lunch-hour Update: Thanks to our fellow Terps-blogger Joey, the BasketCases followed his link to yet another Iowa newspaper article . . . this one in the Globe Gazette (Mason City/Clear Lake, IA). A pdf version of the front page of the Globe Gazette says this in BOLD type on the very top of the page (above the masthead): "UNI Women Face Defending Nations Champions Tonight/Sports B1." The article in the Sports section quotes Megan Keefe, a junior forward on the Panthers, saying this about the Maryland Terrapins: "They look pretty good."

Photo Credit: Des Moines Register

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Here Comes Trouble. That really is the title of a must-read article from today's Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier in which, among other things, Coach Brenda Frese explains why she scheduled tomorrow's road game against the University of Northern Iowa:
"We just wanted to take the team back, have dinner at the parents' house and show them where I came from. I'm not sure most of (my players) even know where Iowa's located."
The BasketCases think it's great that the Terps will be enjoying some Iowa home-cooking at the Freses on this roadtrip. But we were a bit curious about what special culinary delights might await the team. Thanks to the power of a certain Internet search engine, we discovered that Iowa is famous for its Loose Meat Sandwiches and for its Corn! We do know what corn is (and unlike most of the players, we even know where Iowa is), but the Loose Meat Sandwiches had us flummoxed. However, a little more research and we learned, thanks to one internet poster that it's
"ground beef fried on a griddle so that it is crumbly. It's like a sloppy joe but without the sauce. An Iowa thing, I think."
We even found Roseanne Barr's famous recipe! The BasketCases don't know if Loose Meat Sandwiches will be on the menu, but whatever the Freses serve, we're sure it'll be yummy . . . Bon Appetit! (If you don't know those last two words . . . just ask Aurelie.)

There's plenty more to learn from the linked article --- for example, Brenda tried to get a game with either Iowa State or Iowa before talking with UNI --- and still more to learn from an article in the UNI Northern Iowan student newspaper --- from that we learned that just like The Thundering Herd (we love that nickname!), the UNI Panthers have never before hosted a #1 Team. Obviously that will change tomorrow when the Terps tip off against Northern Iowa at 8:05 PM ET. You can follow the game on radio on the Terps website.

Miracles Do Happen!!! The Siena Saints lost by a mere 39 points last night to the National Champion Terrapins (final score: 93-54). Not only that, but they actually took the lead for the 3rd time with 7:28 remaining in the first half and held on for 21 seconds! After that, well, we guess the Terps decided to stop watching the Jumbotron for the updates on the Duke-Rutgers game (a blow-out of epic proportions by the ACC team) and decided to concentrate on putting away a "really scrappy" (Coach B's words) Siena team. The second half apparently was more what we were expecting of the Natty-winning Turtles. Despite the fact that the bench averaged more minutes after the break than the starters, Maryland still outscored their opponent 48-20, outrebounded their opponent 22-9, and committed only 1 turnover in that 20 minute period. The BasketCases can't wait to see Under The Shell to hear exactly what Coach B "said" to her team in the locker room to "inspire" their second-half performance.

The Saints can march home into Loudonville, NY with their heads held high; and, the Terps can head to Northern Iowa tomorrow (where we expect it will be Frese-ing . . . the bleachers full of Frese-es!) with their winning streak and #1 ranking still intact.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Do You Believe in Miracles??? Well, if you happen to be a "Saint," you'd better. Tonight the Maryland Terrapins play host (???) to the Siena College Saints at 7 PM. Siena brings a 1-6 record into Comcast. (The BasketCases needn't remind you of Maryland's record.) The Saints' most recent game was Saturday night at George Mason (a common opponent) where Siena lost by a score of 61-44 (that would be a 17-point loss!) Just to refresh your memory . . . the Terps beat Mason on banner-raising night 99-43 (that would be a 56-point win!)

OK, We Have a Confession To Make . . . We Just Can't Bring Ourselves to Look! Last year the Terps beat the Saints 107-66 on Siena's home floor in Loudonville, NY. (Somehow the BasketCases think that the Saints would consider it a miracle if they managed to escape from Comcast tonight with a mere 41 point loss.) So we've decided to stay home and scout Duke who's playing at Rutgers at 7 PM this evening, a game being broadcast on ESPN2. (Our failure to attend the Terps' game is in the best interest of Maryland, because we have no doubt that Coach B will want the BasketCases to help her draw up the game plan for the January 13th meeting with the Blue Devils.)

In an effort to make full disclosure, we must also confess that the brother of one of the BasketCases played basketball for Siena College --- back in the days of peach baskets. But we can honestly tell you that this doesn't influence our loyalties in any way whatsover. Let's be clear on this: The BasketCases Want Maryland To Win! But, if what we expect to happen tonight actually happens, everyone associated with the Saints should leave Comcast with enough Purgatory Points so that when St. Peter calls, they can skip the side-trip and go directly to heaven.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Triple-Double, Triple Digits. Marissa Coleman recorded the first triple-double in Maryland history tonight (15 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists) as the Terps dominated the Gauchos, winning by a score of 105-44.

This was perhaps one of the most complete games the BasketCases have ever seen Maryland play. The Terps scored 60 points in the paint, 21 points off turnovers, kept their own turnovers in single digits (9), and destroyed UCSB on the boards, outrebounding them 51 to 17. And while saying a team is unselfish has become somewhat of a cliche, in Maryland's case, it's absolutely true. The Terps had 26 assisted baskets tonight. One play late in the second half typified Maryland's unselfish play. Every Terp touched the ball as it was passed from player to player. While the first four each had a decent look, they all passed the ball, until finally it ended up in the hands of Shay Doron, who nailed a wide open three.

Despite her historic night, Marissa was not the game's leading scorer. That honor went to Harp, who scored 19 points . . . and was a perfect 7 of 7 from the field! Lang had 18. Overall, six Terps scored in double figures. Particularly impressive tonight was the fact that the Terps blasted out to an early lead and then just kept pouring it on, shooting a blistering 71.9% in the second half. Coach Frese kept the starters in more than she had in earlier games, no doubt getting them conditioned and sharp for ACC play, now just a month away.

Congratulations to Marissa on her phenomenal feat!

Sunday Morning Update: And the Winner is....the Washington Post! If you read both the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post this morning, you will learn that Marissa's triple-double was the 10th (Sun) or the 11th (Post) in ACC history. Either way, it was an incredible accomplishment, but since the BasketCases like to deal in gossip rumor hard facts whenever possible, we assigned one of our many research assistants to the job, who went directly to the source. According to the ACC's 2005-06 Media Guide, there had been 9 triple-doubles prior to that season (including two by basketball legend Dawn Staley). So that would have made the Sun correct. However, the ACC's final notes for the completed 2005-06 season report that Monique Currie (of Duke) recorded a triple-double last season. Thus, applying a complex algorithm (9 + 1 = 10), the BasketCases have concluded that the Washington Post is correct: Marissa's triple-double was the 11th by an ACC player.

Friday, December 01, 2006

California Dreaming? By our reckoning, it's about 3,000 miles from Santa Barbara, California to College Park, Maryland --- but only about 100 miles from Santa Barbara to Pomona, California . . . home of Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood.

When the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos take to the court tomorrow (7 PM at Comcast) they will have the distinction of being the team that has traveled the furthest for the privilege of facing off against the reigning National Champions. The BasketCases are wondering if this game is the first part of a Home & Home that will have the Terrapins flying cross-country next year so that Sa'de can play at least one game of her senior season just a wee bit closer to her family and hometown friends.