Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Still Crazy Perfect

On a night when most ACC teams succumbed to their Big Ten counterparts in the 5th edition of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, at least Maryland and Georgia Tech did their parts, defeating Michigan and Nebraska, respectively.

With these important wins, both the Terps and the Yellow Jackets maintained their perfect records in the Challenge. Five years, five wins. Plus, in doing so, they saw to it that there are no longer any undefeated teams in the Big Ten. Not Michigan, which had won each of its four prior Challenge games, and not Big Ten newbie, Nebraska, which was welcomed to its first Challenge tonight with a Big L, courtesy of GT.

To Michigan's credit, it wasn't an easy W for the Terps. For about the first 35 minutes, the Wolverines shot the lights out from beyond the arc, an offensive performance that saw the game tied at the half, and tied or nearly so for 15 minutes after that. The Terps struggled with their inside game, but fortunately, Alyssa Thomas had a big scoring night, putting up 19 points in the first half, and 24 overall, including her first 3-pointer! (Alyssa had to leave the game for about three minutes late in the second half, when she suddenly went down with what appeared to be a very painful leg cramp. Luckily, she was able to return.) Is it just us, or has anybody else noticed that Alyssa's best games are the big games? We love that about her. She led her team against Georgetown and led her team tonight. Against the cupcakes other opponents, not quite as much.

Lynetta Kizer, still coming off the bench, was a huge factor in turning the tide in the Terps' favor late in the game. She hounded Michigan on the defensive end, and helped Maryland get some much needed stops.

Tianna Hawkins played 37 minutes and made every one of them count! T-Hawk scored 10 points and added a game-high 16 boards. These double-doubles are becoming a habit for Maryland's (mostly unheralded) junior post player. Without T-Hawk's steady, determined presence, Maryland would never have been able to dominate the Wolverines on the boards the way they did (47-24).

Laurin Mincy (11 points) also finished in double figures tonight. And Anjale Barrett continued to dish out generous post-Thanksgiving servings to her teammates, notching 8 assists.

The BCs also want to give the Maryland crowd a shout-out tonight. With about five minutes left in the game, and the two teams in a virtual dead-heat, the 4,000 or so Terps fans in the house raised the decibel level markedly . . . and sustained the noise practically to the final buzzer. The Wolverines, at times, seemed visibly rattled by the noise. Their shots stopped falling. The Terps racheted up the defensive pressure and went on a run . . . finally putting the game away, 74-65.

The BCs are completely hoarse. Late in the game, we looked over and noticed that the gentleman next to us was wearing earplugs. Now we're not sure that was related to our screaming, but we wouldn't bet against it either. Our section gets pretty loud and "involved!"

So, a good night for the Terps. But a not-so-good night for the ACC. The Tarheels got embarrassed in (not-so) Happy Valley, where they lost to Penn State, 103-84. Florida State lost an OT heartbreaker (on the road) to #18 ranked Ohio State, 78-75. Meanwhile, Boston College, NC State and Virginia Tech also fell to their Big Ten opponents.

At the end of Day 1, with the Big Ten holding a 5-2 edge, we hate to admit it, but tomorrow the BCs will be rooting for duke, as well as Miami, Wake Forest, UVA and Clemson. To win outright, the ACC needs to sweep all five Day 2 games. A tall task, but not impossible.

Congratulations Terps . . . and Ga Tech!

Go ACC . . . Get out your brooms tomorrow, we need a sweep!


At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job you guys. Keep up that great cheering for the terps. Our 6th player in the house. I agree with you guys that Michigan shot so well. Thanks again keep up your good work. rs

At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with your assessment of the crowd noise. However, we need to figure out how to penetrate and score against zones - and we will need to be able to do it on the road. As good as Michigan is, they are not even rated as a top 25 team so to eventually play and defeat top 5 or 10 teams we need to exploit their weaknesses and go to our strength. The goal is - and should always be - the nattie.

At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A rough night shooting for Mincy but she kept at it and hit a crucial 3 pointer at the end. I agree, we need to figure out how to penetrate and score against zones against quality teams. I thought our D was very suspect at times combined with a great shooting night and very well run offense by Michigan. They def have a nice offensive game plan--move the ball really well and can shoot. I was proud of the way the girls performed in the last 5 minutes. They all stepped up and toughed out the win. It's hard to say where the Terps are with their cream puff schedule. Miami is out there playing a much, much, tougher non conference schedule. Interesting that Delaware might end up being a pretty tough game for the Terps. They beat Penn State this year and have a great player. I hope to see the Terps playing a tougher non conference schedule next year--and maybe get some games on TV against other big named programs.

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful and insightful article with just the right touch of humor and boosterism!!

phewww.. who knew after all this time that b cases would be so high maint??

At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From one A Nonny Mouse to another: the Delaware that beat Penn State is the U of D, not Delaware St. Otherwise, I agree with your analysis, especially on defense. The Terps had trouble switching off when Michigan set screens. Time and again, their failure to switch left lanes open to the basket or freed up a Michigan player for a jumper. UConn ran this kind of thing all the time to free up Maya Moore. If a team without a Maya Moore can give Maryland fits, we've clearly got some work to do on defense.

On the offensive side, yes, we don't seem to know what to do against an aggressive zone. The answer is not having Lynetta and Alyssa taking long jumpers. That's why we have guards, etc.

Alyssa is such a pleasure to watch, isn't she? My heart nearly stopped when she went down.

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Coach Frese schedule tougher non-conference opponents? In the national championship year, the Terps played Tennessee during a holiday tournament. Why has the Coach moved away from playing top teams like that?

At 11:16 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous 10:36 AM,

Just to clarify, the Terps this season are playing both Delaware teams – Delaware State next Thursday, and University of Delaware (aka “Delaware”) in the holiday tournament on December 29th (assuming there are no upsets a day earlier.)

The BCs agree with Anonymous 8:04 AM . . . we think Delle Donne and her Delaware teammates, who knocked off PSU (and are now ranked #25) should represent a real test for the Terps.


At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And let me remind everyone that Michigan is not even a top 25 ranked team, and we doubled up on rebounds on this team and still had trouble winning until the end EVEN AT HOME. Read some of coach's comments at end praising how they played...we need to get into the next level and really concentrate on how we can beat he dukes, tennessees, and connecticuts of the world. with her great recruiting we need to step it up. Winning all these non-conference games against lesser opponents is meaningless unless we can go over the big guys in the acc and in the tournament and win!!! Go terps!

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understood the cream puff schedule the last 2 years-but this year, don't understand it at all. If you want butts in the stands/seats, you have to bring in some high caliber opponents. this isn't men's ball where they come regardless of who you are playing really. Interesting analysis on their D. They weren't switching and also they were constantly getting picked off on screens also. We ramped up their D the last 5 minutes and Michigan seemed to be tired also. We must play better defense--we have a VERY tough ACC schedule.

At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's up with Kim? Why didn't she play last night?

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Mincy is playing heavy minutes and Brene is playing more and more. Leaves Kim kind of out of the rotation a bit depending on who they are playing.

At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at the schedule, it wasn't intentionally designed to be easy, it was designed to be cheap. The three road games (excluding the thanksgiving tournament) are in Fairfax, Baltimore, and D.C.. None of them requiring even a hotel room. And a trip to Miami is definitely cheaper than the Cancun of years past.


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