Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Washington, D.C. area is home to two strong teams -- Maryland and Georgetown -- from two of the country's strongest basketball conferences -- the ACC and the Big East. So when those two teams meet (as they did this afternoon), the winner comes away not only with a W, but also with bragging rights in the DMV. Last year, those bragging rights belonged to the Hoyas, who defeated the Terps during the regular season, at McDonough, and then ended Maryland's season by beating the Terps again (at Comcast), in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.

But today was different. With memories of that embarrassing loss in March still fresh in their minds, the Terps dominated the Hoyas, 72-53. Maryland scored the first points of the game, and never trailed. Georgetown kept the game competitive through much of the first half . . . they were down only 8 at the break. However, after the intermission, the Terps quickly opened up a 10-point lead and continued to build on it. With 6 minutes left in the game, the margin had stretched to 20 points. The Terps' largest lead was 24. There were no last minute heroics or runs by the Hoyas -- Georgetown was unable to make any real dent in Maryland's lead. The only thing to be decided was the final score.

The Terps' win today was the result of a balanced team effort in which four of the starters finished in double figures. Super Soph Alyssa Thomas led all scorers with 19 points; she also grabbed 15 rebounds for another double-double. Tianna Hawkins was right behind . . . with a monstrous performance in the paint. T-Hawk also notched a double-double (17 points and 14 boards). And we were thrilled to see Alicia DeVaughn really raise her game this afternoon, contributing 14 points and 7 rebounds. Tianna's and Alicia's efforts were crucial, as Maryland was playing (once again) without senior center Lynetta Kizer (who remains on indefinite suspension).

Speaking of seniors, we can't say enough about the contribution today of senior PG Anjale Barrett! Her poise and veteran leadership were absolutely critical to Maryland's coming out on top. "Bronx" scored 10 points, dished out 5 assists, stole the ball three times, and started a highlight-reel play (of the game) on the defensive end of the floor that continued to the other end, finishing with a Maryland score. Anjale was the glue that helped hold this young, talented team together.

And as long as we're handing out well-deserved praise, let's not forget Laurin Mincy. The sophomore guard drew the daunting assignment this afternoon of defending Georgetown star Sugar Rodgers. Many players, from many teams, who've drawn that assignment haven't enjoyed it very much. But the relentless Laurin hounded Rodgers and simply Shut.Her.Down. Rodgers was held scoreless for the entire first half, and did not score until there were only 8 minutes left in the game. Rodgers fouled out just before the final buzzer, having put up only 4 points.

The (frequently ungracious) Hoyas Head Coach, Terri Williams-Flournoy, credited Maryland's defense with doing "an OK job on Sugar." Well, the BCs think the coverage of Sugar by Laurin, with terrific backup from Kim Rodgers (no relation), was definitely more than just OK. It was outstanding. (But no need to trust us; according to the Washington Post's Kathy Orton, Laurin and Kimmie took Sugar Rodgers "almost completely out of the game.")

We'd also like to mention that the Hoyas (known for their defensive prowess) pressed the Terps throughout the game. But today, their press was, in a word, ineffective. The Maryland players looked for their open teammates, and passed the ball out of the press . . . which occasionally resulted in easy baskets for the Terps. In a major reversal from last season, it was Georgetown (not the Terps) who earned the ignominious distinction of recording game-high turnovers (18).

That's what happened. How the game went. Who did what to whom. But, for us (the fans), how did it feel? It felt Great! Losing to the Hoyas twice last season was tough . . . on the players and on the coaches, most, but also on the fans. Today, practically from the opening tip, it became clear that something was different. Better different. What we saw during the first half (while the final outcome was still very much in doubt) was that this year's Terps were tougher, more balanced . . . and smarter. They would not be lulled into making costly mistakes. They would win or lose playing their game. And, as became patently clear in the second half, their game was better! Terps basketball, offensively and defensively, is quality basketball and F-U-N to watch.

It's only the first weekend of the regular season, but a big game like this one, in the exciting, loud and well-attended atmosphere of Comcast Center, felt almost playoff-like. There were "oldies" in the house (we saw Lang, Riss and KT) and some soon-to-be-newbies (recent Class of 2012 signees). Everybody cheering for the Red, Black & Gold seemed to be having a good time. All in all, a really, really good day to be a Terps fan.

And to top it off, (for now) the DMV bragging rights belong to the Maryland Terrapins. No doubt about it.


At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great game - I was very impressed by all the players, but most particularly by Tianna and Laurin.

Unfortunately, I was not surprised by the ungracious words of both TWF and her players. Anyone have any clue what TWF hopes to gain from such boorish behavior?

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hoya coach even said "there wasn't anything really to improve on". Ha! Imagine a coach saying that whether their team wins or loses. What coach says that? Sugar said Laurin's defense was "ok" but it was really her just having an off night. What player says that? Clearly the defense had something to do with it.

Glad our Coach is more gracious in defeat and so are our players. Go Terps!! Bragging rights on the court and off!

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the reactions of our girls. They are not rubbing it in. They are showing how much class they really had. I also enjoyed how quickly the student group from G'Town shut up. Even at the meet the Team, the players didn't do any bragging. They were just happy for the win. Imagine this team when Lynetta comes back.
Congrats to all the players for a well-balanced attack and defense.


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