Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!

The BasketCases wish you a very happy, healthy, and sparkling 2010!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases (what Petey will be drinking this evening: 1996 Veuve Clicquot)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rulers of the Seas

It's not like they weren't tested; they were. But tonight, in their closest home game this season, the Terps managed to beat back the attack of the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks and surface as the winners of the 2009 Sea World Terrapin Classic, 67-61.

In the first half, some good perimeter shooting by Maryland, including a flurry of threes by Kim Rodgers and Lori Bjork, gave the Terps a 7-point lead at the break. In fact, Kim put up 9 points in the first five minutes, but unfortunately sustained an injury to her left hand and never returned to the game. In the second half, with their 3-point shooting going from hot to cold frozen (0-8), the Terps were forced to go inside more, taking advantage of their superior frontcourt presence of Lynetta Kizer, Diandra T, and Tianna Hawkins. T-Hawk once again led the team in rebounds (11), while Diandra and Netta put up double figures in points (14 and 10, respectively). Lori (thanks to blistering 1st half shooting) also finished in double figures (12) . . . all of her points coming from beyond the arc.

As the winners of the Sea World Classic, the Terps were awarded a BIG trophy, while Lynetta, quite deservedly, was named MVP of the Tourney. Netta had a double-double on Sunday and was two rebounds shy of another one tonight. We have little doubt that Netta would have had an even more impressive offensive performance tonight had she gotten more touches in the first half.

While there were moments tonight when the game was a little too close for comfort, the BasketCases must admit that, as fans, we found it way more fun to watch a game that was competitive (as long as the Terps won in the end, of course), and so we're grateful to the Seahawks for giving Maryland one of their few competitive home games of the season.

But the Seahawks not only gave the fans an exciting game, they went a step further -- they also made it the most visually interesting game so far. After seeing so many contests against red-clad and blue-clad opponents, it was thoroughly refreshing to see a team take the court dressed in seafoam green! In fact, the BasketCases are hard pressed to think of any other team we've seen, ever (college or pro), with seafoam green as their primary color. Cool.

As the runners-up of the Tourney, the Seahawks, unlike the Terps, did not get to take home the BIG trophy. But the BCs think they deserve something for their effort and especially for those creatively colorful uniforms. So the BasketCases have decided to declare UNC-Wilmington the winners of the first-ever Jacques Cousteau Award for best sea-themed uniforms in the Sea World Classic.

We know we should be thinking about Sunday's game (2 PM at Comcast) against St. Joseph's from the Atlantic-10 Conference. But truthfully, we loved the water-world theme of this year's holiday tourney so much that we can't help but wonder what the theme of the 2010 Terrapin Classic might be. We were thinking maybe Vegetables. Vegans are an under-represented demographic in sports fandom . . . there could be an opportunity here. Think about it. See you Sunday.

Photo Credits (excluding Neptune): DC BasketCases

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sea World, Part II

The BasketCases are guessing that the Stony Brook Seawolves will not look back fondly on their post-holiday trip to Maryland to play in the Terrapin Classic. Yesterday, they were trounced by the Terps, 76-44, and this afternoon they were thrashed by the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks, 85-51.

It's been a long time since a team not wearing Maryland uniforms put up 85 points in the Comcast Center. Let's hope the Terps bring their D-fense tomorrow, because it appears that the Seahawks have eagle eyes when it comes to shooting. Tip off of the Sea World finale is Tuesday at 7 PM.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sea World, Part I

This being the time of year when everybody loves making lists, the BasketCases (not to be outdone) have decided to report on tonight's game in list format. Here goes . . .

1. We really liked the sea-theme of this year's Terrapin Classic. The idea of only inviting teams (Turtles, Seawolves & Seahawks) with a connection to the liquid part of our planet was very cool.

2. We didn't have to shovel out our car before the game.

3. The halftime entertainment was great. Those Wheaton Twirlers were FAB-U-LOUS!

4. The Terps won, beating the Stony Brook Seawolves, 76-44.

5. Four Maryland players finished in double figures: Diandra (game high 17 points), Lori (16 pts), Jackie (15 pts -- a career high!), and Lynetta (13 pts, plus 10 rbs).

6. Tianna ("T-Hawk") grabbed glass-cleaning honors with 13, helping the Terps outrebound their smaller opponent, 55-36.

7. Maryland helped keep the game short (under 2 hours) . . . very much appreciated by those of us who have to get back to work tomorrow morning. The Terps did this by missing most of their second half free throws. When the other team doesn't have to take the ball out of bounds after a made FT, it really speeds things up!

8. Kristi Toliver was in the house!

9. Marissa Coleman was in the house!

10. Did we mention how much we enjoyed the Twirlers?

Tomorrow, if you don't have to go to work and want to sea see some more basketball (but not the Terps), the Sea-teams are playing each other at 4 PM. But if you want to sea see the Terps play (and we do!), then you have to wait until Tuesday evening at 7 PM, when they take on the Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington in the finale of this year's Terrapin Classic.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Comings and Goings . . .

After a little holiday break, the Terps return to action tomorrow at Comcast Center, where they'll take on the Stony Brook Seawolves at 6 PM. However, the Maryland men's team will be playing Florida Atlantic at 2 PM, and after that game, campus police will turn the roadways around Comcast into one-way streets as they direct all traffic OUT of the arena until 5 PM. Which means that if you are driving to the women's game, don't plan to arrive until after 5 PM, because you won't be able to get into a parking lot until then.

Tomorrow's game is the first match in the annual Terrapin Classic. On Monday at 4 PM, the Seawolves take on the Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington, with Maryland playing UNC-Wilmington on Tuesday at 7 PM.

Plan accordingly for your trip tomorrow, but in any event, plan to be there!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Species Challenged?

See that nice looking animal over on the left there? That's Zenyatta -- a horse. A very talented horse, but a horse nonetheless. So the BasketCases were pretty surprised to learn today that Zenyatta placed second in the Associated Press voting for "Female Athlete of the Year." The winner was Serena Williams, a human being. Which is how the BasketCases would define a "female athlete." And so we're giving our annual Louis Leakey Award for Excellence in Paleontology to those members of the AP who apparently can't tell a homo sapiens from an ungulate.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wish List . . .

There were only two things the BasketCases wanted to see today, and the second -- Maryland's game at American University -- unfortunately was totally dependent upon the first -- a snow plow on our street.

Alas, even as we write this, well after 4PM on Sunday afternoon, our street (on top of a very steep hill) remains unplowed. The two feet of snow that fell on Friday and Saturday remain undisturbed. Which means, sadly, that we did not make it to Bender Arena today. And neither did the broadcasters from WMUC sports, whose web site explained that "the broadcast of Sunday's women's basketball game against American has been CANCELLED due to inclement weather." So no audio either.

But there is good news. According to ESPN, the Terps defeated the Eagles, 75-64, earning their first win on the road (albeit a short but snowy road). So, congratulations, Terps!

We hope perhaps some readers who live in better-served areas (or at least not on top of steep hills) who were able to get to Bender today might share some observations about the game. We also hope we can get down off our street tomorrow!

Safe driving, everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Road Trip!

Earlier this week, as we looked ahead to the Terps' upcoming away game against the AU Eagles on Sunday, we were toying with the idea of doing a mock-serious blog post about getting ready for our looong road trip to American University. AU is maybe 8 miles from home, just a couple of miles farther than we drive to work each day . . . not to mention about 17 miles shorter than our drive up to Comcast.

We were planning to write about packing the right clothing, topping off the gas tank, checking the air in the tires, filling the cooler with sandwiches, snacks and drinks for the looong road trip . . . you get the idea. Little did we anticipate that --thanks to today's blizzard that's already dropped nearly 2 feet of snow outside -- those 8 miles to Northwest DC tomorrow may indeed be an arduous, time-consuming adventure. (And that's assuming we can even get down to the main roads from the top of the big hill we live on.)

Yes, we did walk 8 miles roundtrip in the cold for the Inauguration, but 8 miles each way . . . in deep snow? No, even these two crazy Terps fans know their limits.

So all we can promise is that we will do our best to be there when the Terps tip off at 2 PM at Bender Arena. If you don't see us, it won't be for lack of trying . . . or caring. More likely, it will be for lack of a City snowplow!

Go Terps . . . Road Win #1 . . . Go Get It!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Friday, December 18, 2009

Planning Ahead

If, like the BasketCases, you try to plan your summer vacation so that you don't miss any Mystics games, you are now free to move about the country (in early July or early August), as the WNBA released its 2010 schedule yesterday.

A shout out goes to the Mystics front office, which e-blasted Washington's schedule to fans even before the league posted the WNBA schedule on its web site. However, if you haven't already received the schedule from the Mystics, you can find it here. And a link to the full league schedule is here.

In order to accommodate the FIBA World Championship, being held from Sept. 23 - Oct. 10, the WNBA season will be starting very early next summer -- May 15, to be precise. The Mystics will open on the road that day, in Indy, and will play their first home game on Friday, May 21, against New York. That's the good news.

The bad news comes courtesy of the Hartford Courant, which is reporting that the WNBA salary cap has dropped, another indication (along with the 11-player rosters and a limit of one assistant coach per team) that the league may be in a pretty precarious financial condition (underscored by the recent collapse of the Monarchs). Like all belt-tightenings, the WNBA's cost-cutting moves are unpleasant and unfortunate; all we can do is hope that these moves will enable the league to survive during this period of economic crisis.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mystics Take Haynie

With the 6th overall pick in today's WNBA dispersal draft of the now defunct Sacramento Monarchs, the Mystics selected 5' 9" guard Kristin Haynie.

Haynie, a graduate of Michigan State, was drafted 9th overall by the Monarchs in the 2005 college draft, was taken from Sacramento by the Atlanta Dream in the 2008 expansion draft, then signed as a free agent with the Shock last summer, before being traded back to the Monarchs in August. So though she's spent most of her career in Sacramento -- including picking up a WNBA Championship ring in 2005 -- Kristin's had plenty of experience adjusting to new teams, coaches and systems. We expect that Kristin will be competing for the role of backup PG on the Mystics.

The full dispersal draft list is here. Several items of note: The New York Liberty, who had the first overall pick in the draft, selected Nicole Powell. DC-area native Becky Brunson went second, to the Lynx, and former Terp Laura Harper was selected by San Antonio with the fifth pick (just before the Mystics picked!). Rounding out the draft, Chelsea Newton had the unfortunate distinction of having two teams -- the Sparks and the Dream -- pass on their picks entirely (picks 8 and 9) before she was taken by the Storm with the 10th pick.

Speaking of unfortunate distinctions, new Mystics draftee Kristin Haynie has the "distinction" of just possibly being the only player in the WNBA who has no large intestine. Due to a pre-cancerous condition, Kristin's large intestine was surgically removed when she was 11 years old. As a result, Kristin needs to consume about 4,000 calories a day just to maintain her weight and keep her strength up. So if at next season's Sibley Hospital Charity Auction you decide to bid on dinner with Kristin, you might want to check ahead of time to see who -- you or the Mystics -- will be footing the bill for the meal.

Welcome, Kristin!

Photo Credit:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Well, That Was Ugly

To the credit of the Towson Tigers, they packed their house tonight with nearly 1,000 more fans than had ever before seen a women's basketball game at the school, and the team fed off that energy for 40 minutes, pulling off a stunning upset against the Terps, 67-55. The Tiger fans were so elated, they stormed the court as the final buzzer sounded.

Except for trailing early by three points, twice, the Tigers were ahead the entire game, even hitting a momentum-building, buzzer-beating three to end the first half. They shot well, while Maryland struggled from the floor (shooting under 35%) and from the free throw line (hitting only 8 of 18). The Terps were also hampered by foul trouble, as Lynetta Kizer was forced to sit out a good chunk of the second half after picking up her fourth foul with about 12 minutes left in the game.

The good news tonight is that the Towson University pay per view video feed worked. The bad news is that the Towson University pay per view video feed worked. The game was not only painful to watch, but painful to listen to, as the Towson announcers absolutely mangled Yemi's and Diandra's last names, repeatedly. The only thing the BasketCases feel good about right now is that we aren't in a car driving home all the way from Towson.

It seems pretty clear that the young Terps haven't yet figured out how to play away from Comcast. They now have ten days to work on that before facing the American University Eagles at Bender Arena on December 20. We'll be at that one for sure.

You know the old saying "you can't get there from here"? Well, it's not literally true. At least, not if the "there" is north Baltimore and the "here" is the downtown business district of DC. In that case, you can, indeed, get there from here . . . if you are willing to spend two-plus hours in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic, followed by an additional hour-and-then-some getting home.

We learned that lesson the hard way three years ago when we made a roadtrip to watch the Terps play at Loyola. This lesson came back to us again recently as we considered whether we should undertake a roadtrip this evening -- in rush hour traffic to north of Baltimore -- to watch the Terps play Towson University.

We would love to see the game. If we worked or lived north of DC, there's little doubt we would rev-up the Terp-mobile and head to Towson. But we don't, so we won't. Which means, unfortunately, that the BasketCases will not be in Towson tonight when the Terps play their second road game of the season. Nonetheless, we expect there will be plenty of Maryland-based members of the Red Sea in attendance (and maybe some others who aren't big Wusses like the BasketCases) to cheer on the Terps against the Tigers.

Tip off is at 7PM. If, like us, you aren't able to make the trip, you can listen to the game live on WMUC sports, here. And it appears that if you "shell" out a little money for PPV, you might even be able to watch the game on Towson's web site, here.

Go Terps! Get that first road win!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Monarchs to be Dispersed

As our loyal readers and other fans of the WNBA already know, back on November 20th, the owners of the Sacramento Monarchs abruptly announced that the team would be folded . . . immediately. Since that time, the WNBA has been trying to find a buyer for the team in the Bay Area.

Today, however, the WNBA announced the sad news that no deal could be struck in time for a team to compete in the 2010 season. So the league also announced that a dispersal draft of the Monarchs players will therefore be held next Monday, December 14th.

Except for unrestricted free agents Kara Lawson (DC-area native), Ticha Penicheiro, and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, all Monarchs players will be in the pool for the dispersal draft. Existing teams will select players based on the reverse order of standings at the end of the 2009 regular season. This means means that the Mystics will have the 6th pick in the dispersal draft.

The WNBA will play with only 12 teams in 2010, but is still hoping to add a new team in the Bay Area for 2011.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Kinda Fitting that on Kids' Day at Comcast, it was two of Maryland's youngest players who led their teammates to victory this afternoon over the Loyola Greyhounds from neighboring Baltimore, 69-56.

Today's performance was hardly one of the young team's best efforts. A couple of good runs, but otherwise plenty of inconsistency, turnovers and fouls. Against a stronger opponent, these might very well have cost Maryland the game. Fortunately for Coach B's "kids," the Greyhounds (though they played hard) didn't have the size or skill to steal this game from the bigger and more athletic Terrapins.

That size-talent differential was most evident in the play of Tianna Hawkins and Diandra Tchatchouang, who scored 22 and 20 points, respectively. We're hard-pressed to recall the last time two Maryland freshmen both hit the 20-point mark in the same game. Since the BasketCases' statistical analyst has the day off, we're just gonna have to guess that it was sometime in the 2005-06 season.

Regardless of when it last happened, these two freshmen both impressed us again today, as they have practically every time they've taken the floor this season. Tianna is strong and athletic, and has an exceptional ability to be in the right place at the right time to pull down a rebound or to receive a pass and finish with a lay-up. Today, in addition to her game-high scoring, Tianna also led the Terps with 10 rebounds. No one else on Maryland (aside from these two rookies) hit double figures today, either in scoring or in rebounding.

As for Diandra, she can shoot the 3 (4 from behind the arc this afternoon!), drive to the basket, post up or make any number of other moves that you just don't expect . . . from a freshman. The maturity of her game is well above average. While neither of these two young ladies arrived in College Park with much fanfare, they are certainly gaining new fans with every game they play!

After today's match-up, we enjoyed the Rebounders' first "Social" of the season. Appropriately, all the players introduced themselves and their families to the large crowd. Coach B spoke about this young team's development and how they have great chemistry. We've seen signs of that on the court, and we saw it today off the court as well, watching them interact (particularly how they enjoyed teasing each other) in Heritage Hall at the Social. Coach B told us that her team needs to develop more consistency . . . so that they bring the same intensity they brought last Thursday against Minnesota to every game, for all 40 minutes. As today's game showed, they aren't there yet -- but we're sure they'll get there!

Next up for the Terps is a road trip -- all the way to Towson, Maryland (!) -- on Thursday evening, to take on the Tigers of Towson University. Hopefully the Terps can get their first road win of the season, as well as develop more of the consistency that Coach B spoke about, since the challenges of ACC play are getting ever closer with each passing day.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


With the coach who succeeded her at Minnesota on the opposing bench and about a hundred bright-gold, color-coded fans from Minneapolis in the stands, Coach B sent her young Terps up against the Golden Gophers tonight at Comcast, and her team delivered a dominating performance to win their match-up of the 2009 Big Ten/ACC Challenge, 66-45.

Meanwhile, six of Maryland's sister ACC schools also took care of business (2 last night, 4 tonight), so that for the 3rd year of the 3-year inter-conference Challenge, the ACC won, continuing its domination of the Big Ten.

Maryland's dominating win this evening featured a balanced scoring effort by the Terps, led by Kim Rodgers, who had a game high 14 points, and Diandra T, who added 13. From the sidelines, Coach B substituted freely, keeping fresh legs on the floor, which helped the Terps control the pace of the game. By the second half, the Gophers were displaying definite signs of fatigue. Besides her scoring, Kim also showed a real toughness on the defensive side that helped set the tone for her teammates.

In fact, the defensive intensity from the entire roster of Terps was the best we've seen all year. Yes, you read that right -- defensive intensity from the Terps! Let's be frank, Maryland in recent years hasn't exactly been known for its D-fense. When you had players who together could routinely light it up for 80 points per game, it's not hard to figure out why D-fense wasn't their highest priority. But it's apparent that with the new young Terps, the coaching staff has made D-fense a point of emphasis this season. Watching tonight, it seems clear that the message has gotten through and the hard work is beginning to pay off. (The Terps held Minnesota to 27% shooting . . . Ouch!)

Before calling it a night, we want make sure to give a shout out to those Gopher fans who made the very long trip to Maryland from Minnesota to support their team. It's great to see that kind of support from fans. Their presence added extra excitement, reminding us that this game was important -- not just for an out-of-conference win or to keep the home win-streak alive (43 and counting!) -- but also because Conference bragging rights were at stake. As loyal Gopher fans, they can't be happy with the outcome of the game or the performance of their team. But at least they had a beautiful spring-like day for touring our nation's capital. So while their team didn't give them the game they were hoping for, at least the weather cooperated!