Sunday, February 26, 2012

On To Greensboro!

The Terps ended their ACC regular season today just as they began it . . . with an important road win over another red team. In Raleigh this afternoon, Maryland beat NC State, 65-50, to secure the #3 seed in the ACC tournament. But don't let that final score fool you; this afternoon's game was no walkover.

Maryland bolted out of the gate with a 15-1 run in the first five minutes, leading some to think this would be another easy, lop-sided victory, like Friday's drubbing of the Tar Heels. But the BCs' Rule #1 is: "Never let an early run fool you . . . for better or for worse."

On Friday, that early lead over UNC soon turned into a rout. That would be the "for better" part of our rule. But against NC State, the "for worse" made an appearance, as things went downhill quickly for the Terps today. Perhaps the Maryland players were thinking about Greensboro just a little too soon. At any rate, as the BCs followed the action on Gametracker (no audio, no video), the little color-coded Wolfpack triangular figures closed the gap to 2 points, 19-17, with 8:23 left in the first period. Coach B substituted liberally, presumably to find someone to provide her team with a much-needed spark. By the end of the first half, 9 Terps had entered the game, but, alas, nothing seemed to be working (at least from our vantage point watching those little triangles move around the screen), and Maryland skulked back into the locker room at the break with a slim, 5-point lead, 30-25.

The first ten minutes of the second half weren't much better, as NC State kept the game within one or two possessions. But then, with a little more than 9 minutes left and the Terps clinging precariously to a 3-point lead, the BCs swear we heard one of the little Gametracker triangles speak. We know, it sounds ludicrous, but we both heard it. One of the little red figures said, "I've had enough of this!"

The little Gametracker figures don't wear names on their unis, so we can't say for sure who said it, but after that, Super Soph Alyssa "Fight to the Finish" Thomas took over. Her little color-coded triangle was everywhere on the virtual court -- scoring from the floor and from the free throw line, stealing balls and blocking shots. And it worked. The Terps won. Whew.

AT scored 22 of her game-high 24 points in the second half (on 8-18 shooting, and 8 of 10 free throws). She pulled down 17 rebounds (a career high) for another double-double. She blocked 4 shots and she had 3 steals. The only other Terp in double figures was Laurin Mincy, with 12 points.

So now, for the Terps and their fans, it's on to Greensboro (about 300 miles from our Nation's capital). As the #3 seed, Maryland will open its 2012 quest for an ACC title against the winner of UVA v. Boston College at 8 PM on Friday night.

Go Terps . . . Beat UVA BC a Team Not from Carolina!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Tonight was Senior Night for the Terps, and Maryland's three seniors -- Anjale Barrett, Kim Rodgers,and Lynetta Kizer -- wrapped up their regular season home careers by kicking off a fun and satisfying beat-down of the Tar Heels, 84-64.

Not only fun, but with tonight's win, the Terps have guaranteed themselves a top-four finish in the ACC, regardless of the outcome of this Sunday's game at NC State. And that, as our readers know, means: NO PLAYING ON THURSDAY!!

All three seniors started tonight, and, fueled by Kim's consecutive three-pointers, they quickly propelled the Terps to an 11-1 lead. At the break, Maryland led, 53-29. As we talked with other fans at halftime (by the way, a great halftime . . . Gymkana and Zumba!), nobody wanted to say what we all were thinking . . . in case we'd jinx it. But what we were all thinking was "this game is over." And it was. No nail-biting. No drama. No big comeback by the Heels. Just another enjoyable twenty minutes, to appreciate the seniors, and the entire Terps team.

Super Soph Alyssa Thomas was super again tonight, as she led the Terps' scoring with 20 points. She also pulled down 14 rebounds, for another double-double, and dished out 7 assists (and the BCs can recall at least 2 plays that could've added to her total, but didn't). This is not the first time that AT has come close to a triple-double, and it wouldn't surprise the BCs if we get to see one from her before her own Senior Night. Alicia DeVaughn, who only played 19 minutes due to foul trouble, made the most of those minutes, notching 14 points. Laurin Mincy, coming off the bench, rounded out the Terps' double-digit scoring with 13.

Most of the Terps' ACC games this season have been really tense affairs, so tonight's game, frankly, was a refreshing break. What it lacked in excitement it made up for in just great fun (if you are a Terps fan). A really great way for three very special young ladies to take their final bows. Thank you, Kimmie. Thank you Anj. And thank you Netta. We'll miss you!

Go Terps . . . Beat the Wolfpack!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Sunday, February 19, 2012


The Duke Blue Devils Arrived at Comcast Center this afternoon undefeated in ACC play . . . but they didn't leave that way!

When, literally in the final second of today's game, Alyssa Thomas swatted a Haley Peters 3-point attempt practically all the way to Durham, the crowd of 15,000-plus let out a collective sigh, scream, cheer -- actually all of the above. The way AT soared skyward to block that shot, while staying well clear of Duke's shooter, well . . . it was kind of like putting a punctuation mark after those two (oft repeated) words, Beat Duke! And Beat Duke is exactly what the Terps did today, 63-61.

What a game! What is it about games between these two teams, Maryland and Duke, that makes them so exciting? We're not exactly sure, but they almost always are. (We bet ESPN was thrilled they decided to treat a national audience to this one.)

Today's game didn't start out all that exciting for Terps fans, and certainly didn't look like one that would end up being decided by a shot attempt in the final second of regulation. Hardly. It started out with the Terps looking completely discombobulated and overmatched by the Devils. Ten minutes into the first half, the Terps were already trailing by 12 points (5-17) and looked, well, terrible. But this wasn't the Maryland team we've followed all season. There had to be a reason for such a bumpy start. And we think we know what it was: the BCs blame Maryland's early game woes on the sartorial blunder of the (talented) young violinists from the Norwood School who played today's National Anthem. There they stood, just before the tip-off, playing lovely music while clad in their school colors . . . Duke blue and white! Uh-oh! Major faux pas!

But as Maryland has done on several occasions already this season, the team clawed its way back into contention. By halftime, the Terps only trailed by a single point. And the second half was a close, tough, back and forth battle -- in other words, a classic Maryland v. Duke contest -- right down to the final minute, final possession, final second.

The Terps were down by 1 point with only 43 seconds remaining, when T-Hawk grabbed an offensive rebound, muscled her way to the rim with Dukies hanging all over her and somehow, some way, got her shot to fall. A foul was called and T-Hawk finished her "and-one" to give Maryland a 2-point lead. A Chelsey Gray lay-up then tied the score at 61 with 21 seconds left. The BCs were beginning to wonder if this one was headed to overtime. But overtime was not this time. No, this time, with 14 seconds left in the game, T-Hawk managed to gather another Maryland miss for a putback to give the Terps a 2-point lead, which Alyssa preserved with her monster block on the defensive end as time expired.

What a game by the Terps! And what a game by Tianna! (She was a beast today!) She finished with 19 points to tie with Duke's Super Frosh, Elizabeth Williams, for game-high honors. Tianna has simply been astounding this season. It's not just the number of points she scores that makes Tianna so special. No, it's also when and how she scores, rebounds, chases down loose balls or sets up her teammates for an easy lay-up. Awesome. (BTW, if Tianna doesn't repeat tomorrow as ACC Player-of-the-Week, the BCs will demand a recount!)

After T-Hawk's end-game heroics and Super Soph Alyssa's punctuation-mark block, all that was left was for the fans -- who were already on their feet screaming during those last couple of possessions -- to scream some more, hug, slap hands . . . and smile. We all left Comcast, headed for the filled-to-overflowing parking lots, each doing our best imitation of AT's signature grin. Oh Happy Day . . . Maryland Beat Duke!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

* * * * * * *

"Hello Thomas Family" . . . Monday morning update . . . The BCs were tuned in to ESPN's Sports Center this morning, and what fun it was to see the Top Ten Plays of the Week: Number 8 was Harrisburg, Pennsylvania high school senior Devin Thomas shattering the backboard after a dunk during a game on Thursday. You can see the video here. For fans who may not know this, Devin is the 235-pound, 6'9" little brother of the Terps' own Alyssa Thomas.

And ESPN's Play Number 7 of the week was, yes indeed, AT's monster block (see link above) to seal the win over Duke yesterday. ESPN identified Devin and Alyssa as siblings, and ended the AT clip by saying, "Hello Thomas family, in top plays of the week!" Awesome! By the way, after hearing about her lil bro's now-famous play, Alyssa tweeted, "Taught him everything he knows". And we believe it!

This made us wonder whether any other siblings had ever made the Top Ten Plays of the Week in the same week. Unfortunately, the BCs' Research Department has the day off for Presidents Day, so we can't ask them. But if anyone knows the answer, please do leave it in a comment.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Red Out!

#7 hosting #5! During the regular season, it doesn't get much better than this.

But more important, this is Maryland v. Duke. Need we say more? Don't answer that . . . it's not a real question, it's rhetorical.

3 PM game. Doors open at 1:30. A BIG crowd is expected, so come early.

And, in case you haven't heard . . . WEAR RED!!! (Bring your friends, and make sure they wear red, too.)

Go Terps . . . Beat Duke!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Maybe It Was Being Named ACC Player-of-the Week on Monday. Or perhaps it was being selected by the U.S. Basketball Writers Ass'n on Tuesday as National Player-of-the-Week. In any event, Tianna Hawkins began tonight's game in Charlottesville on a mission.

T-Hawk scored 15 points and pulled down 10 boards in the first half . . . to lead her team to a 44-21 halftime lead, on the way to a 73-56 road win for Maryland over UVA. Oh Yeah!

The Cavs may have outscored the Terps in the second half, but this one really was over at the break: the Terps shot 55.3% from the floor in the first period and had a 23-point lead (prompting the Virginia radio announcers to call Maryland's game "an efficient buzzsaw"), they also out-rebounded the 'Hoos, 27-6, and T-Hawk had a double-double . . . all by intermission. Over. In the second half, while the Cavs played hard and at one point narrowed the gap to 11, the Terps were never really threatened.

Maryland's Secret Agent, Tianna, finished with 26 points (a new career high!) on 12 of 13 shooting, and pulled down 14 boards. Super Soph Alyssa Thomas also posted a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) . . . although it took her until the second half to hit the double-digit marks.

The players and the coaches aren't the only red people heading back to College Park tonight. The Rebounders sent a full bus load of fans to John Paul Jones Arena, and we know that some other fans traveled to Charlottesville on their own. For all these travelers, their loyal fan-dom was rewarded with a big win. No doubt they'll be smiling all the way home.

Tonight's game was the second meeting between Maryland and Virginia this season. In the first, at Comcast, the Terps won by only 7 points (68-61). What the BCs particularly loved about tonight's game was the fact that the Terps dominated from the opening minutes. That, to us, says a lot about this Maryland team. And, with Duke arriving at Comcast on Sunday, we hope that the second meeting between these two teams ends as happily for the Terps (and their fans) as tonight's did.

The Blue Devils are undefeated (to date) in the ACC. Sunday will be a tough game. So, regardless of the weather (what's a little "wintery mix" anyway?), come out to Comcast. Wear Red. Cheer -- loud and often -- for the Terps!

Go Maryland . . . Beat Duke

Tonight's game was also special because it was Coach Frese's 300th win! Congratulations, Coach B! (And tomorrow is a special day as well . . . Markus and Tyler turn 4. Happy Birthday to the Little Guys!)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Just A Little Off

When you notice your team's leading player on the sidelines, just before the tip, with, ummm . . . what appears to be a "wardrobe malfunction," you start to wonder -- what kind of game is this going to be? Well, interesting . . . at the very least. And, indeed it was. Today's game between the Terps and the 'Canes in front of an enthusiastic crowd of more than 11,000 at Comcast Center turned out to be an exciting, tightly-contested matchup between two very good teams.

Unfortunately, when it was finally decided -- in the last minute -- the #6-ranked Miami Hurricanes had bested the #8-ranked Terps, 76-74. As often is the case in a game decided by a single possession, it's the little things that make all the difference. And that explains today's outcome.

The Terps played tough -- and mostly very well -- but, particularly down the stretch, they were just a little off. Maryland turnovers and late misses from the charity stripe (while the 'Canes hit almost all of their FTs) . . . those were the not so little things that tipped the scales in favor of Miami.

There's no shame in losing to the 'Canes. There's a reason why they are ranked #6 in the NCAA and are now sitting comfortably at 10-1 in the ACC standings. But that doesn't make this afternoon's loss any easier for the team -- or its fans -- to take. For the Terps, with the toughest schedule in the ACC, a close loss at home . . . well, that really sucks hurts. Maryland's schedule doesn't get any easier from here on out, so the "coulda" wons (Miami), and "shoulda" wons (VT), are that much more disappointing.

Five Maryland players finished in double figures today, two with double-doubles: T-Hawk led the Terps in scoring with 18 points (and 10 rebounds), while Lynetta (off the bench) had, in the BCs' opinion, her best game this season. Netta scored 16 points, pulled down 12 boards, and demonstrated some real senior leadership. An excellent performance by Lynetta . . . we're just sorry for Netta that it ended with an "L." Alyssa (12), Anjale (12) and Laurin (11) completed the double-digit scoring for Maryland.

Two of the Terps' four ACC losses have come at the hands of the 'Canes. Fortunately, that's the last they'll see of Miami, unless they meet in Greensboro. In the meantime -- between now and the ACC tourney -- Maryland has four more games to play. The Terps' next opponent is a very competitive UVA team, on the road, on Thursday. The Terps won the first meeting this season, at Comcast, but the Cavs, at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, will be a tough match-up. And there's no underestimating how important to the Terps' post-season fortunes the outcome of Thursday's game will be.

Go Terps . . . Beat the Wahoos!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases



The BCs were shocked and extremely saddened by last night's news that Whitney Houston had died at the far too young age of 48. Whitney, an amazing performer, had one of the most extraordinary voices we have ever heard. What an incredible talent . . . what a terrible loss. Our condolences go out to her family.

So much of Whitney's music was memorable. But the BCs' greatest memory of Whitney is, without a doubt, her singing the National Anthem at the WNBA's Inaugural All Star Game in Madison Square Garden on July 14, 1999. We we privileged to be in the audience and experience it live. To this day, Whitney's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that day is our favorite moment of any WNBA All Star Game . . . ever.

We found this video of that performance on You Tube, and as wonderful as the clip is, it doesn't even begin to convey what it was like to hear this in person. We post the video as a small tribute to an amazing performer. We will miss her. Rest in Peace, Whitney.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


The Terps did exactly what they were supposed to do tonight: they recorded a lopsided win over the Clemson Tigers, on the road, 91-61

But before taking the floor for their game in South Carolina, the team, coaches and staff took a little time-out for some Zaching.

In case you haven't heard, "Tebowing" is so yesterday . . . Zaching is now all the rage. And if you don't know about Zaching, here's the executive summary: Zach Lederer is one of the student managers for Maryland Coach Turgeon's Men's Basketball team. While still in elementary school, Zach was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Against the odds, he beat it: Zach 1, Cancer 0. But Cancer is a relentless opponent, and Zach, now a University of Maryland student in College Park, recently learned that the cancer had returned; another brain tumor. Following his latest surgery, he was photographed -- in his hospital bed -- flexing his muscles -- sending the message that he intended to beat his cancer a second time. Well, in this era of the worldwide web, email and social media, Zach's picture -- and his fight -- went viral. Read more about it here. So today, the Terps did a little Zaching of their own.

As for tonight's game, the Tigers scored the first two points, but after that, it was all Maryland. Five Terps finished in double figures, led by Lynetta Kizer with 18 points. Alicia DeVaughn added 15, Alyssa and T-Hawk each had 14, and Brene Moseley scored 10. Coach B spread the playing time; no one saw more than 27 minutes of action.

The BCs listened to the game and followed on Gametracker, so we didn't actually see it. From that perspective (or lack thereof) our impression was that the Terps' performance was somewhat uneven: 46 points, but 12 Maryland turnovers and 11 Maryland fouls, all in the first half. Fortunately, the Tigers' first half numbers were even worse. An extemely good Miami team is arriving at Comcast on Sunday. It will be important that the Terps come out focused on both ends of the court, and minimize their mistakes. (Or the 'Canes will make them pay.)

Sunday's game is a special occasion. Not only is it an important game in jockeying for position in the Conference, but it also happens to be the game that honors the memory of Kay Yow. This week, teams all over the country are participating in Play 4Kay games . . . raising money and awarenenss in the fight against breast cancer. So wear pink on Sunday! And don't forget to Zach!

Go Terps . . . Beat the 'Canes!

Beat Cancer!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Heading West II

WNBA All-Star Alana Beard, a free agent (cut loose by the Mystics at the end of the 2011 season), signed today with the Los Angeles Sparks.

Alana will join two other former Mystics -- Delisha Milton Jones and Marissa Coleman -- and another player well known to BCs' readers, Kristi Toliver.

Alana, who missed the last two WNBA seasons due to injury, recently returned to the court in Israel. (She scored 13 points in her first game back!)

The BCs are very happy for Alana. She has always been a true competitor . . . frequently playing through a great deal of pain. She's worked extremely hard to come back from her most recent injury, and we think it's great that she's going to have another chance to compete in the WNBA. We never like to see a player's career end because of injury.

There's only one negative we foresee for Alana in L.A. -- her old number, 20, is already taken (by Kristi).

Good luck, Alana!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Monday, February 06, 2012

How Important Was That?

Well, in a word, very! The Terps entered tonight's game at #22 ranked Georgia Tech in 5th place in the ACC . . . in BCs lingo a/k/a "playing on Thursday."

The Yellow Jackets (who have probably the easiest schedule in the ACC this season) were just ahead of Maryland in the standings. The Terps (who have the the toughest ACC draw) simply had to win tonight's game in order to avoid falling further behind, and to continue their quest for that all-important first-round bye in next month's ACC Tourney.

And win they did, 64-56, thanks in large measure to a pair of outstanding performances by Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins. With their victory, and help from a Blue Devils beatdown tonight of the Tar Heels, the Terps will be leaving the Peach State now tied for 3rd place in the Conference. That's important!

Big as it was though, tonight's win certainly wasn't easy. Maryland always seems to have a tough time playing the Yellow Jackets, and tonight was no exception. The Terps got off to a really (really) slow start, and for much of the first half, it looked as though they wouldn't even break 20 points by halftime. In fact, with about 4-1/2 minutes left in the first period, the Terps had only scored 14 points . . . and were down by 10! However, a 10-0 run, sparked by Super Soph Alyssa, sent the Terps to the locker room all tied up with GT (24-24) at the break.

The second half was a heart-stopper, as the lead changed hands with virtually every possession. Neither team seemed able to pull away decisively. But with 1:11 left in the game, and the Terps clinging to a precarious two-point lead, 56-54, the Yellow Jackets began a series of intentional fouls. Anjale Barrett was first on the line, and calmly hit both of her shots, putting Maryland up by four. In the final minute, Alyssa was fouled three times, and hit all six of her free throws. The Terps kept their poise, made their free throws, and, that was the game. Whew.

Alyssa and Tianna led all scorers with 23 points each (Ti-Hawk breaking her previous career high of 22). Alyssa was perfect from the free throw line, nailing 12 of 12, as the team overall made 17 of 19 from the charity stripe, a whopping 89.5%. Lynetta Kizer, off the bench, was the only other Terp in double figures, finishing with 10 points. Anjale had a really solid performance tonight, dishing out 7 assists to go with 6 points (including those critical free throws down the stretch).

This one was important. As is every remaining game this regular season.

Next up for the Terps (before facing Miami, UVA, Duke and UNC) is Clemson, on the road, on Thursday. The Tigers may not have the best record in the ACC, but if there's one lesson Maryland learned -- the hard way -- this season, it's that there are no easy nights in the ACC.

So (for now, at least) forget the 'Canes, the Wahoos, the Devils and the 'Heels . . .

Go Maryland, Beat the Tigers!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

That's More Like It

The Terps did what they were supposed to do tonight at Comcast Center. They aimed to crush Boston College, and they did, 86-44. The Eagles came into the game with a Conference-worst record, 0-8, and they left with a Conference-worst record, 0-9. That's what was supposed to happen.

Maryland scored more points in the first half (51) than the Eagles would score in the entire game (44). At the intermission, Laurin Mincy had scored as many points (13) as the entire Boston College team. And, for the record, by halftime, every Terp had played, and by the final buzzer, every Terp had scored. In fact, Maryland's reserves played the bulk of the minutes in the second half. No Terps starter saw more than 24 minutes of action.

The BCs are hard-pressed to recall a night when Maryland hit so many long-range bombs since Kristi Toliver graduated. The Terps nailed 10 of 18 shots from beyond the arc -- that's 55.6% -- leading to a very busy evening for the cheerleaders charged with tossing "three point Tees" into the crowd. (We were actually wondering if they might run out of shirts.) Half of Maryland's three-pointers were courtesy of Laurin Mincy, who was deadly from long range (5 of 7). Laurin also completed a rare 4-point play when she was fouled (and did she ever sell it!) on a made three.

Laurin finished with 16 points (strangely missing all of her shots inside the arc, go figure), sharing game-high scoring honors with rookie Brene Moseley off the bench. Bones was 3-4 from 3-point range, but unlike Laurin, Bones actually scored from inside the arc. Alyssa Thomas, wearing tape on her left hand instead of a cast, started, played a total of 19 minutes (14 in the first half), and scored 14 points. Lynetta Kizer rounded out the Terps' double-digit scoring with 12.

Every Maryland player contributed to this evening's win, including a couple of players who didn't finish in double figures. The BCs were impressed with the play of Essence Townsend and Sequoia Austin . . . reserves who don't often get much playing time. Essence has improved her game so much this season. She had a great outing tonight on both ends of the floor. In 14 minutes of play, Essence blocked three shots and altered several others. She pulled down 4 boards, and scored 2 points. Sequoia, always a spark off the bench, scored 7 points in 11 minutes, including a beautiful three-pointer late in the game. She was also perfect from the free throw line, hitting 4 of 4. The BCs like perfect.

The Terps were supposed to win tonight, and they did.

Their next game, however, will not be easy. Maryland travels to Georgia Tech on Monday. The Yellow Jackets are always a tough opponent. Last year they resorted to turning the lights out to cool a Terps run. Who knows what trials await the Terps this time around. All we know is that Maryland will need to be ready for anything when they face the #22-ranked Jackets.

Go Terps . . . Beat GT

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Heading West

The Washington Mystics announced this afternoon that they have traded Marissa Coleman to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for guard Noelle Quinn.

As fans know, Marissa grew up in the DC-area, went to college at Maryland, and was then drafted by the Mystics in 2009. Apart from some overseas play, this will be Marissa's first real time "leaving home" to play basketball.

The move will also reunite Marissa with one of her Natty-winning teammates, Kristi Toliver.

The BCs wish Marissa all the best in Los Angeles!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases