Monday, February 28, 2011

A Lucky Number

Congratulations are in order again today for Maryland's super frosh, Alyssa Thomas, who was named ACC Rookie of the Week once again -- the final time the honor will be awarded this season.

This makes a total of 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, SEVEN times that Alyssa has been singled out as the ROW this season, breaking the "old" Maryland record of six that Alyssa set herself just last week (which broke the previous record of five shared by Crystal Langhorne and Marissa Coleman).

How special is this young lady? Well, all you have to do is look at the list of this season's ACC scoring leaders. What you would find is that of the top 10, nine are Juniors and Seniors . . . household names like Carolyn Swords and Jasmine Thomas. But there's one lone freshman in the group. Yup, you guessed it. Maryland's own super frosh, Alyssa Thomas. And when it comes to rebounding, Alyssa is 11th in the Conference . . . the highest ranked freshman player in that category, too. Can there be any doubt as to who might win the ACC Rookie of the Year award when it's announced later this week in Greensboro? We think not.

What else is there to say, but Congratulations, Alyssa! As Terps fans, we know how truly lucky we are to have you on our team!

But there will be time to celebrate later; for now. . . on to Greensboro and the ACC Tourney!

Go Terps . . . Beat Tech!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bye, Bye, Maryland!

The BCs are just funnin' with ya . . . not bye, bye, Maryland . . . as in Goodbye to Maryland. But Bye! Bye! The Terps got a Bye in the first round of this week's ACC Tournament! Yay!

Two things had to happen this afternoon -- the final day of the regular season -- in order for the Terps to leap frog over Georgia Tech and UNC to move from 6th to 4th in the ACC. First, the Terps had to beat Boston College on the road at Conte Forum in their 1 PM game. Then, if the Maryland team succeeded in doing what they could control, the Terps would need an assist from Miami, who was playing at Georgia Tech (that game starting at 2 PM). If both visiting teams won, the Terps would gain that coveted final bye. Only 4 of the 12 teams in the Conference get a free pass to avoid having to play on Thursday. And the Terps were hoping, by around 4 PM today, to be the proud owners of one of those Get-Out-Of-Playing-Thursday-Free cards!! And they are!

First, the Terps beat the Eagles, 78-69. (And in doing so, they helped assuage some of the angst we were feeling about that harmonic convergence of horribleness earlier in the season, when BC escaped Comcast with a surprising win.)

Once the Terps took care of business in Boston (a favorite city for Maryland fans), all we could do was wait for the end of the Miami-GT game. Miami was up by 1 point at the half (too close for comfort) when the Terps' game ended. The 'Canes stretched their lead during the final period, only to have the Yellow Jackets pull closer again. The wait was agonizing. Finally, though, Miami closed it out, 70-59, completing the visiting team sweep that Maryland needed. Thank you, Coach Katie & Co.! #4 and a Bye!

We followed both games on GameTracker, watching those little colored figures run up and down the court. It's hard to get much of a feel for a game that way, but from reviewing the stats, here's our take on how Maryland earned that oh-so-important W:

All five Maryland starters had double-digit afternoons. After a slower than usual start (3 points on 1 of 8 shooting in the first half), super frosh Alyssa Thomas roared back in the final period to finish the game leading all Maryland scorers with 17 points (and 9 rebounds, just 1 shy of a double-double). Kim Rodgers (who got the start today over Ti-Hawk) was right behind with 16 points, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. One of her long balls was a buzzer beater that ended the first half and sent her team to the locker room at the break with great momentum. Anjale Barrett had a big scoring game, 15 points, and Lynetta Kizer, who was a huge factor in keeping the Terps in the game during the first 20 minutes (11 first half points), finished with 14. The fifth Terps starter, Diandra T, scored in the single digits (7), but led her team with 10 rebounds.

So that's how it was done. Now it's bye bye Comast North and hello Greensboro . . . which we hope, thanks to the expected migration of red people, will once again turn into Comcast South.

The Terps tip off on Friday at 11 AM against the winner of Thursday's game between #5 Georgia Tech and #12 Virginia Tech.

Go Terps! Beat . . . uuhh . . .Tech!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Doing the Hokie Pokey

Okie Dokie, the Terps beat the Hokies at Comcast tonight, 61-48. That's the good news. But this wasn't the game the BCs were expecting. Hardly.

When the last place team in the conference comes into your house sporting a 1-11 record, and your team is the #15/17-ranked team in the nation, you really don't expect the game to be tied with fewer than 12 minutes left. But it was, 33-33. (From where we sat, across the court, it looked like Coach B's ears were getting a little smokie at her team being tied this late in the game with the Hokies.)

We don't know if the Terps were looking past VT to Boston on Sunday or Greensboro next week, but they definitely came out of the blocks . . . well, a little pokey. Fortunately, a late scoring surge and some defensive stops allowed Maryland to avoid what would have been an exceedingly embarrassing and costly chokie.

Again playing all but one minute of the game, super frosh Alyssa Thomas (and the BCs' odds on favorite for ACC Rokie Rookie of the Year) led all scorers with 15, while Lynetta Kizer notched another double-double (11 points and 12 boards). Oddly, for a team that has struggled all season with its long range shooting, tonight, when just about nothing else was going right, the Terps managed to light it up from beyond the arc. Laurin Mincy, off the bench, nailed four three-pointers, firing up the crowd -- as well as her teammates -- and providing the much-needed scoring separation that Maryland required to put this game away. Laurin (who finished with 12 points) got long-distance help from Natasha Cloud and Kim Rodgers (who didn't play the first half) . . . they each also hit a long ball tonight.

That's about it for the highlights. And while there were plenty of seniors in Comcast tonight -- all of us card-carrying AARP members -- there was not a single senior on the Terps bench. So the final home game of the regular season -- traditionally "Senior Night" -- lacked some of the special emotion that might have helped redeem this otherwise mostly-painful, seemingly interminable, evening.

But Maryland got the win, ugly though it was. The Terps now head to Boston, where they play the Eagles in the last game of the regular season on Sunday at 1 PM. After that, it's on to Greensboro and the ACC Tourney.

It's still too early to tell who and when the Terps will play first in Tournament Town. If Maryland can beat the Eagles on Sunday (not an easy assignment, if you recall the loss to BC at Comcast), then Maryland will still have a chance to finish fourth in the ACC standings and receive a bye on Thursday. But that will depend on the outcome of Miami's game at Georgia Tech (also on Sunday). If the Terps win and GT loses, then Maryland will jump to fourth (by virtue of the tie-break), earn the bye, and not play until next Friday. But a Terps' loss or a Yellow Jackets' win would result in a 1st round game for Maryland on Thursday.

But what the heck . . . it's ACC Tourney time! So whatever, whomever . . . Go Terps! See ya in Greensboro!

Put your right foot in, put your right foot out....

Go Terps . . . Beat the Eagles!

Monday, February 21, 2011

SIX is Special!!!

A HUGE congratulations to Alyssa Thomas, who today was named ACC Rookie of the Week . . . for the sixth time this season! With this week's well-deserved honor, super frosh Alyssa has now broken the Maryland school record for the most ever ACC Rookie of the Week honors.

To put this accomplishment in perspective: Crystal Langhorne and Marissa Coleman (two pretty darn good ballers in the BCs' opinion) shared the previous record . . . each was named ACC Rookie of the Week (just) five times. (Both went on to win the ACC's Rookie of the Year award, as did the Terps' current team leader, Lynetta Kizer.)

While Alyssa's latest Rookie of the Week accolade is hardly a surprise, it is still very special!

Congratulations, Alyssa!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Opportunity Lost

Following Thursday's big win over the Blue Devils, Maryland arrived in Tallahassee with a very real opportunity to knock off its second top-of-the-conference team in the span of just 4 days. But today, somewhere between the first 5 minutes or so of the first half and the last 5 minutes or so of the second half, the Terps lost their way (as well as the opportunity), and fell to #12/15-ranked FSU, 72-66.

In the other 30 minutes (give or take some), Maryland was outplayed by the 'Noles. The Terps missed lay-ups, missed free throws, shot poorly from beyond the arc, turned the ball over at inopportune times, and got very little scoring help (only 7 points) from their usually reliable bench. Missed opportunities all over.

The Seminoles didn't earn a higher ranking, and they didn't win 9 of their 11 ACC contests before today, without being a very good and very talented team. No question that some of Maryland's missed chances have to be credited to the tough play of FSU. But for quite a few more of those missed chances, the Terps have only themselves to blame. They know, as do their fans who watched the game (in high-def) on ESPN2, that Maryland had a good opportunity to pull off the upset . . . but didn't.

For those readers who may not have seen today's game, here's a brief synopsis: Maryland raced out to an early lead, in part due to very poor shooting by FSU. The 'Noles took the lead with about 7-1/2 minutes left in the first half (22-24), led the Terps by 8 at the break (28-36), and then stretched their lead to 12 in the final period, before Maryland put on a charge in the late-going, closing the gap to as little as 4 points. But no closer . . . too little, too late.

Super frosh and workhorse Alyssa Thomas led all scorers in the losing effort, with a career-high 26 points (and played all but 1 minute of the game). Lynetta Kizer (battling the flu according to the ESPN announcers) played only 25 minutes, but still managed to notch another double-double, with 17 points and 10 boards.

Unfortunately, the other noteworthy stats help explain today's loss. The Terps, mediocre all season from the free throw line, were even worse than mediocre today, hitting only 45.8% (11 of 24), while FSU succeeded on 22 of 31 attempts from the charity stripe (71%). Maryland also turned the ball over 16 times, and made only 3 of 13 three-pointers (23.1%).

With only two games left in the regular season, Maryland missed a major opportunity today to move up in the conference standings, and possibly secure a bye in the first round of play at Greensboro. It may still be possible to get a bye (we confess that we haven't done the math), but it's certainly less probable after today's loss.

In any event, a win today would've given this young team real momentum heading into the final days of the regular season and then the ACC Tournament. But that opportunity was lost. They can restart their Mo by beating Virginia Tech at Comcast on Thursday at 7:30 PM (Senior-less night) before they hit the road for a rematch in Boston against the Eagles, who beat them at Comcast earlier this season.

Go Terps . . . Beat the Hokies!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Most kids celebrate turning 3 with cake, ice cream, and some new toys. But if you're the twin sons of Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese and her husband, Mark Thomas, and today is your 3rd birthday -- and Mom's team is playing Duke -- well, there's another present you'd like as well (the very same one the Terps gave you and your Mom on the day you were born) . . . a win over the Blue Devils. And the Maryland team did not disappoint Markus and Tyler (or their Mom) today on the twins' birthday, delivering not only a win over Duke at Comcast tonight, but a crushing victory, 69-47. Happy Birthday indeed!!

In the first few minutes of the game, a blowout by the Terps was the furthest thing from our minds, as Maryland quickly fell behind, 0-7. But tough defense enabled the Terps to gradually claw their way back from that inauspicious start. In a low-scoring first half, Maryland managed to take an 8-point lead into the locker room at the break, 27-19.

As the final period got underway, the Terps built on that lead, stretching their margin to 12. However, a Duke run closed the gap to a single point. But that's as close as the Devils got. With the score at 39-38, Maryland dug in, went on a tear, and simply ran away with the game. To say that the more than 10,000 fans on hand (minus a smattering of Dukies) were thrilled, excited and enjoying themselves . . . would be an understatement.

Maryland's deep bench was a huge factor tonight. No Maryland starter played more than 27 minutes, while four of Duke's starters played between 32 and 36 minutes. The Terps' starters got more rest, thanks to Maryland's outstanding reserves, and it showed in the starters' performances. Playing only 27 minutes, Lynetta Kizer led all scorers with 17 points, and nabbed 9 rebounds and 3 steals (with no turnovers). Super frosh Alyssa Thomas outscored each of the two Duke Thomases, including Duke senior star Jasmine Thomas. In 26 minutes, Alyssa had yet another double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds. (Jasmine Thomas led her team with 12 points in 34 minutes.) Ti-Hawk rounded out the Terps' double-digit scoring, with 10. And although she finished with only 2 points, Dara Taylor, off the bench, in 13 minutes of playing time, did a stellar job of harassing Duke's Jasmine Thomas on defense, while also taking care of the basketball on offense (zero TOs!). As is usually the case when Maryland records a big win, the key to the victory was a total team effort by the Terps' talented, athletic, and deep line-up.

Any time you knock off the #1 team in your conference (ranked #7 in the nation!), and you do it in front of a huge turnout of home fans, and you hold that team to fewer than 50 points, and that team just happens to be Duke . . . well, it just feels like your birthday, New Year's, and the 4th of July all rolled into one! So Happy Birthday . . . we definitely enjoyed tonight's fireworks! Way to go, Terps!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's Bad Enough that the Terps lost -- at home -- today to the Cavaliers, 60-57. But it's also bad that this was a game they could've won, and even worse, it was definitely a game they couldn't afford to lose. Bad.

Maryland is now on a two-game losing streak and faces the daunting (but do-able) task of trying to get back on track against league-leading Duke on Thursday (7:30 PM at Comcast).

On top of everything else, this afternoon's match wasn't a particularly fun game to watch. Lots of bad play by both teams early on. In the first 3 minutes of the game, the two teams combined for 3 points. About 9 minutes into the game, the bad news was that the Terps had only scored 5 points; the good news was that Virginia only had 8 points. The first period ended with the Cavs up, 25-23. Bad.

The final period had a little more scoring, but's that's about the only good thing we can say. Maryland nursed a slim lead for most of the 2nd half, but couldn't manage to close the game out. In the end, the Cavs came back, hung on to a 1-possession margin, and dropped the Terps to 6-4 in ACC play. Bad.

Of course, as long as we're handing out Bad-day awards, the BCs want to give a shout-out to today's refs. We were particularly impressed with how Lynetta, for example, could get bumped, hacked and/or pushed on average about 3 times whenever she got the ball on the low block and the officials would wait until the 3rd time she was hit to blow their whistles . . . and then they'd call her for traveling. Bad.

As fans from our section were filing out, nobody was smiling. They were mumbling things like, "that was really bad." Can't say we disagree. If our section was a representative sample of the 9,300-plus fans at Comcast today, then there were lots of bad moods in lots of cars on the drive home.

Oh well, today's game is now history. Funny thing about the past . . . you can't change it. So don't waste time trying. What you can do is learn from it. We have no doubt that the Maryland players and coaches will be learning everything they possibly can from these last two losses, so hopefully they can return to their winning ways on Thursday. And if they do that -- beat the Blue Devils --we guarantee there will be thousands and thousands of Maryland fans heading home that night in a very good mood.

Go Terps . . . Beat the Blue Devils!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Better Late Than Never

These days, when sports teams win championships, there's always lots of hoopla and celebration, and usually some serious bling involved. But what championship teams take for granted today, wasn't always so.

Back in 1978, Maryland's Basketball Team had the great honor of winning the first ever ACC Women's Basketball Championship. But honor (and a place in history) was, in fact, all that they received -- no bling. To be more specific: no rings.

As the years went by and members of that history-making team cheered on newer champions --players who were honored with t-shirts, hats, banners and rings -- not having a ring of their own, well, it rankled. So a few years ago, '78 team member Liz Abood decided to do something about it. And thanks to her efforts, which you can read about here, this decades-long slight will be rectified tomorrow, Sunday, at Comcast Center, when the 1978 players will -- finally -- receive their long overdue ACC Championship rings during halftime of the Terps' game against Virginia.

After only 33 years, these champions will finally get their bling! Wow . . . this just has to be one of the BEST halftimes EVER!

Congratulations (again) to the '78 Terps! We hope their presence on the court tomorrow will be an inspiration to this year's team. What better reminder of the great tradition that is Maryland Basketball.
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Don't miss . . . a nice article by Gene Wang in Sunday's Washington Post about Lynetta Kizer, here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities Halves

Maryland's 7-game win streak came to an end tonight in Miami, 83-75. The Hurricanes, who haven't lost at home all season, still haven't. And the Terps, who entered the game tied for 4th in the ACC, now head back to College Park tied with Georgia Tech for 5th. In other words, not a good day for Maryland.

But "not a good day" doesn't even begin to describe the Terps' performance (or lack thereof) in the first half of tonight's match-up. In the first 20 minutes, Maryland committed 20 turnovers (no that's not a typo) . . . one turnover per minute. And those 20 TOs led to 20 points for Miami. 20 TOs in an entire game generally makes for a bad outing. But 20 in a single half? (Holy hurricane, Batman, it's a Category 5!) It was so bad that, according to GameTracker, redshirt freshman Whitney Bays was even credited with a TO! The 'Canes took 38 shots in the first 20 minutes; Maryland (by virtue of giving the ball away) took a measly 22. Half-time score, 45-31 in favor of Miami.

Miami has a great backcourt; let's give credit where credit is due. But forcing 20 turnovers great? A 38-22 shot advantage great? We didn't see it; we followed the little figures on GameTracker. So how much was great backcourt play by Miami and how much was Maryland mistakes? Hard to say.

But what we can say is that a very different Maryland team emerged from the locker room after the break. The same team that coughed up the ball 20 times in the first half only gave it away a stingy 3 times in the final 20 minutes. The Terps who took only 22 shots in the first period took 35 in the second (hitting 57%), while only allowing the 'Canes 27 tries (with only a 40% success rate).

Maryland's second half effort was remarkable. The Terps battled back to close that 14-point 1st period deficit to just 2 points within the final few minutes of the game. But, in the end, the hole the Terps found themselves in at halftime was just too deep. For once, there were no miraculous final minute heroics. No last second salvation for Maryland. Just an "L" in the win/loss column.

As for individual performances, five Terps put up double-figures in tonight's losing effort, including ACC Player of the Week Lynetta Kizer, who had a double-double (15 points and 11 boards), and Ti-Hawk, who also had a double-double (12 points, 10 boards). Kimmie (11), Anjale and Alyssa (each with 10) also finished in double figures. We're sure they'd all rather have had a win than any individual stat highlights.

With just a few weeks left now in the regular season, the Terps return home to College Park, where they will face a (tougher-than-their-record) Virginia team on Sunday at 2 PM. Let's hope this is the start of a new Maryland win streak. The Terps cannot afford to lose to the Cavs if they have any hope of getting a bye in the first round of next month's ACC Tournament.

Go Terps . . . Beat the 'Cavs!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

It's Not That the Maryland Team or their fans have any particular animosity toward the Wolfpack. Traditionally, these two programs have always had a good relationship. But this week -- and today -- all friendly feelings were put aside as the Terps were focused on one thing and one thing only: beating NC State.

Last season, the Wolfpack handed the Terps one of their most embarrassing losses . . . a 73-45 drubbing in Raleigh that really got Maryland's 2010 ACC season off on the wrong foot. Coach B and her assistants, and the veteran players who remember that game (painfully), were not about to let that happen again. NC State may not be a traditional Maryland rival, but this afternoon's game was one the Terps had to win.

And they did . . . returning the favor to the Wolfpack, 88-59.

The final score may give those who weren't there or didn't watch on Comcast SportsNet the impression that Maryland dominated from start to finish. Not true. In fact, with about 7 minutes left in the first half, NC State actually led by 12 points. But Kim Rodgers (once again) hit a big 3-pointer to spark a Terps rally that closed the gap to 3 by half-time and continued on and on throughout the 2nd half (which pretty much turned into a Maryland rout). From the moment when the Pack led by 12 until the final buzzer at the end of 40 minutes, Maryland outscored NC State 67-26! Super!

For the Terps, there were plenty of super performances today. Perhaps the super-est (is that even a word?) was by Lynetta Kizer, who led all scorers with 22 points, and grabbed 13 boards for a double-double. And 'Netta did all that in only 23 minutes, sitting out much of the first half due to early foul trouble. Off the bench, Kimmie put up 14 points, while Diandra completed the Terps' double-digit scoring with 11.

But the crowd of nearly 6,400 was treated to more than just the Terps' hi-octane offense. As they've done on many occasions this year, the Terps dominated the glass, outrebounding NC State 48-25. Maryland also had 18 assisted baskets. Impressive. Diandra dished out 7 of those, Anjale had 6, and rookie Natasha Cloud added 5 off the bench. We've come to expect those kind of super-outings from Frenchie and Bronx, but we were really struck today by how much Tash seems to be coming into her own as the ACC season progresses.

If you're wondering why we haven't mentioned super frosh Alyssa Thomas, it's because she went down with lower back spasms during the first half (ouch!) and played only 7 minutes. In that time, though, Alyssa scored 3 points, enough to make her only the 12th player in Maryland history to score 300 points as a freshman. (Congrats, Alyssa!) Alyssa is considered day-to-day, and we certainly hope to see her back in action for the next game.

And that would be Thursday, in Miami, at 7 PM. The 'Canes are currently in a 4-team tie with the Terps for 2nd place in the ACC. So this is yet another important game coming up. But despite the distance from College Park, there should be some Maryland fans in the house. Alicia DeVaughn, who hails from nearby West Palm Beach, Florida, told the crowd at the (always enjoyable) Rebounders social following today's game that her "13 sisters" will be at Thursday's game to cheer on Maryland. OK, the BCs confess that we're not the youngest of Terps fans, so our hearing may not be as sharp as it once was. Did she really say "13 sisters" or did our not-so-young ears fail us?

Oh well, whatever Alicia said, the BCs are sure her family and friends will be a welcome presence for her and the rest of the Terps at the game. But now it's time to wrap up this post and get out the dip, chips, and adult beverages . . . our traditional Super Bowl supper. (Please don't anybody tell Coach Kyle.)

Go Terps . . . Beat the 'Canes!

P.S. Go Packers!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

Though the Terps' game at Georgia Tech tonight wasn't televised or webcast, there was a live radio feed, so the BCs got to listen. And thanks to the fast-talking GT announcer (from, we got the gist. Our general impression: it wasn't the prettiest of games.

Despite some early foul trouble and 11 turnovers in the first half, Maryland was able to take a 7-point lead into the locker room at the break, 27-20. But the Terps were undone by their TOs in the second half (15!), and with 17:10 left, the Yellow Jackets took their first lead of the game. But one thing we know: the Terps never quit. (Remember Purdue? Remember UVA?) Maryland clawed its way back from a 5-point deficit, and with 2:12 left in the game, Maryland led by a single point, 53-52.

And then the lights went out in Georgia. Literally.

No lights, no scoreboard, no nothing. A power surge in the arena had momentarily knocked out all the electronics. It took about 15 minutes for the lights to warm up after that, with a total game delay in excess of 20 minutes. So much for Maryland's momentum!

The stoppage in play was so long that the teams had to go through their warmups all over again. After play resumed, the Terps went cold for 2:10 seconds . . . unable to score, even from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech managed to tie the score at 53. So with 1.6 seconds left and Maryland inbounding the ball, it looked like this already-too-long game was headed for overtime.

But no! With 1.2 seconds left on the clock, Kim Rodgers launched a three . . . and it was good! The radio announcer was such a, uhmm, wreck, he couldn't even tell us for several minutes who had hit the shot. But we later learned it was Kimmie . . . her only 3-pointer of the night. Before that, she was 0-3 from beyond the arc. Kim's timing could not have been better! Maryland wins, 56-53! What a heart-stopper of an ending!

Only two Terps were in double figures tonight . . . the usual suspects. Lynetta Kizer led all scorers with 19 points, while super frosh Alyssa Thomas was close behind, with 17. (BTW, Alyssa picked up her 5th ACC Rookie-of-the-Week award on Monday. Congrats Alyssa!)

With tonight's win, the Terps improve to 5-2 in the ACC. And since Miami lost to Duke this evening and Maryland handed Georgia Tech another loss, the Terps (for the moment at least) have now climbed to 5th place in the conference standings. Though the Devils sit alone at the top, there are 5 more teams bunched up and vying to be one of the top four teams, as each earns a bye in the first round of next month's ACC Tournament. So every game down the stretch is critical.

Next up for Maryland is a noon match on Sunday at Comcast against NC State. It's an early tip-off, so we can catch all the action and still make it to our Super Bowl parties in plenty of time!

Go Terps . . . Beat the Wolfpack!

Photo Credit: ACC via Twitter

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Exactly a Year Ago Today, the BasketCases (and Petey, of course) were in Egypt. We were in the midst of a 12-day Mediterranean cruise, one of those "adventures of a lifetime." Our ship was docked in the port city of Alexandria for two days, which gave us time for an overnight trip to Cairo, three hours away.

Here's what Alexandria looked like then . . .

A peaceful scene. Women and children. Vendors selling refreshments.

Average Egyptians, enjoying a comfortable sunny day along the Mediterranean.

In our brief sojourn in Egypt, we saw for ourselves a land of extraordinary contrasts. All around, some of the most famous and stunning wonders of the Ancient World. It was a trip we will never forget.

But we also saw the signs of abject poverty. People eating fish from a polluted, garbage-and-dead-animal-strewn tributary of the Nile. People living in mud hovels, multiple families sharing a single (unsanitary) hand pump for their water. Meanwhile, we saw the homes of the wealthy, living in opulence in beautiful buildings.

We saw unfinished, abandoned buildings. We saw many idle men, perhaps unemployed.

We saw a country where donkeys shared the road with cars . . .

... and with bicycles, and cattle.

And except on the promenade along the water in Alexandria, we saw very few women.

A year later, the streets of Cairo and Alexandria look far different, packed for the past week with thousands upon thousands of Egyptians demanding a better life for themselves and their families, more freedom, more democracy. We would have found the events of the past week riveting, even if we had never been to Egypt. But having been there, we have found the TV and Internet news reports fascinating in a way that they might not otherwise have been. The Internet, and global television, daily bring foreign lands and foreign strife into our homes. But travel, even a visit as brief as ours, has a way of making us feel connected to events in a way that we can't really describe.

We claim no particular insight as to what the ultimate outcome of all this unrest in Egypt will be. But, personally, we do feel that what is going on right now in an important country in such a volatile area of the world is both fascinating and hopeful . . . as well as frightening. And so we'll continue to tune in, whenever we can, to the TV or the Internet. But for a change, we won't be following basketball.

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases