Friday, November 30, 2012

Oh No, Not Again!!!
Unfortuntely, yes.  The news is B.A.D.

No doubt you were following the Terps' game against the Huskers the other night and saw Junior standout guard Laurin Mincy crumple to the floor about 5 minutes into the second half. She was helped off the court and did not return to action. Like us, we suspect you were fearing the worst, while hoping for the best.

Sad to say, Laurin didn't catch a break this time. It's those three dreaded letters again: A-C-L. An MRI confirmed that Laurin, who suffered one ACL tear during the summer between her junior and senior years of high school, suffered a second ACL tear (in the other knee) during Wednesday's ACC/B1G Challenge matchup. 

MD fans don't need an M.D. to know that an ACL tear means we won't be seeing Laurin play again this season. The only marginally "good" news we can report is that Laurin's injury occurred early enough in the season for her to qualify for a redshirt.  So, after her recovery, she'll still have two more years of eligibility. 

What else is there to say? Obviously and most important, that we feel so very bad for Laurin.  After a break-out sophomore season, Laurin had, this season, been named to the preseason All-ACC team, the Wooden preseason Top 30 list, and the Naismith Top 50 watch list. In other words, Laurin was expected to have an even better junior season. But now it's been put on hold. 

The BCs also feel really bad for Laurin's teammates and coaches (not to mention Maryland fans), because, losing Laurin at any time would be a huge set-back, but losing Laurin on the heels of losing Brene and then Essence to this same season-ending injury . . . well, that's simply devastating.

Good luck, Laurin. Here’s hoping for your full and speedy recovery

Photo credit: UMD Diamondback

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

And Then There Was One . . .

With their commanding, 90-71 win over the #21 Cornhuskers on the road in Lincoln, Nebraska tonight in the 6th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Maryland emerged as the only team in either Conference to have gone undefeated in every Challenge game they've played. Six in a row! (Georgia Tech, undefeated in the previous five Challenges, lost to Purdue tonight, 73-85.)  Great job, Terps -- that's quite an accomplishment!

It was also great that the BCs were able to watch this exciting, high octane game (from our own comfy couch) thanks to the Big Ten Network (BTN). The Huskers "welcomed" the Terps to the B1G with a BIG, noisy crowd, who were treated to a close, competitive contest for most of the first half. But about sixteen minutes into the game, in that loud arena with rows and rows of red seats that reminded us of Comcast, the Terps shifted into another gear. In those final four minutes of the first period, Maryland turned a 1-point deficit into a 9-point half-time lead. In the second half, the Terps extended that lead early and never looked back.  Helloooo, B1G . . . Maryland is here!

Alyssa Thomas, in her best game of the season thus far, did just about everything on both ends of the floor, scoring a game-high 25 points to go along with 8 assists, 7 boards, and 6 steals. Tonight, Alyssa most certainly lived up to her pre-season All-American selection.  And, just like old times, Tianna Hawkins was right there with her, notching another double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. T-Hawk is simply a beast under the boards.  WNBA scouts must be salivating.

Laurin Mincy was also having a fantastic game (16 points, including 4 of 4 threes) until she went down with an injury to her right knee early in the second half. Laurin did not return to action, a big hit for Maryland's already injury-depleted roster.  Things slipped from bad to worse when Chloe Pavlech, who was having a solid game in her second collegiate start, went down too, apparently from a cramp. She also did not return to the game.  She returned briefly, late in the game.* Fortunately, the Terps had enough firepower to keep things going and secure the win, even without those two critical backcourt players for most of the second half.  Obviously, we hope that Laurin is okay; she will surely be needed for Maryland's next game -- on Monday against some team up in Connecticut called the Huskies.

After the 8 Challenge games tonight, the ACC is leading, 5-3.  The Challenge will conclude tomorrow night with the remaining 4 games.  The future B1Gers -- women and men -- did their parts for the ACC; now it's up to other teams in the Conference to close out this year's Challenge.

Go ACC . . . Beat the B1G!

*thanks xwomynjoc for the correction!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Getting to Know "U"


Tomorrow night at 8 PM ET, Maryland will help kick off the 6th annual Future Big Ten/Big Ten ACC/Big Ten Challenge, playing at the "U" of Nebraska. This is one of eight games being contested on the first of two nights of competition to determine which Conference will hold the bragging rights for the next 12 months. 

Maryland's game against the #21-ranked Cornhuskers will provide a nice preview of life-in-the-B1G for both the Terp team and their fans.  The team will have the chance to get familiar with traveling out to Lincoln for future B1G games, and the fans will have the chance to get familiar with staying home, getting comfy on their couches, and watching the game on the Big Ten Network (BTN). Which is exactly what the BCs will be doing tomorrow night.

For those keeping score, the ACC won the first four editions of the Challenge, but last year's Challenge resulted in a tie.  So while the ACC didn't win last year, they didn't lose either.  Two teams have done even better than that -- Maryland and Georgia Tech enter this year's Challenge as the only teams in either Conference to have won all of their Challenge games.  So there's a lot on the line, not just for the conferences, but for the Terps and the Yellow Jackets this year.

The full schedule of Challenge games, including TV and webcast information, can be found here.

Go Terps! Beat the Huskers! Go ACC (and Future Big Ten)! Beat the B1G!  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Realigning Our Thinking

If you’ve ever visited a chiropractor, you know that realignment can be a painful experience. However, once it’s over, and though you may still hurt, hopefully the visit is the start of feeling better . . . at least with time. And that’s kind of how the BCs are now looking at this “B1G” conference realignment. Painful, but a new beginning.

For us, Maryland basketball and the ACC have always been inseparable. The huge crowds that fill Comcast for the “big” ACC match-ups, the annual wrestling among ACC coaches to land the region’s prize recruits, the intense (and sometimes very funny [but very raunchy and definitely not PC]) mutual “hatred” among fans, and the diversion of the Red Sea to the Greensboro Coliseum every March. It’s hard to imagine that, two years from now, some of those things will simply be memories. As Dr. Loh acknowledged, there’s a “sense of sadness” among many alumni and Terps fans. He’s absolutely right. The BCs feel it, and we’re relatively new to Terps Nation. No doubt, many alums and other fans are very deeply disappointed -- and sad -- right now as well.
But like it or not (mostly not), what’s done is done and there’s no going back to the “good old ACC days.” So that leaves the BCs with only two choices – give up Maryland basketball, or move forward and begin the process of realigning our thinking. That’s an easy choice – we pick door #2!

It goes without saying that when this weird two-year transition period is over, we’re going to miss the ACC. Very much so. But meanwhile, as this transition period plays itself out, we’re going to be cheering for the Terps in the ACC, while following the action (on BTN!) in the B1G, Maryland’s future conference. We need to prepare. Once the Terps (and, as of yesterday, Rutgers too) enter the B1G, change will be inevitable. (And it may well be, as things play out down the line, that Maryland and the Scarlet Knights won’t be the only teams feeling some seismic shift.)

The BCs may have referred to the B1G as a corn-fed conference. But that’s not a negative . . . the BCs love corn! As far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing that improves a Chipotle burrito bowl more than a generous helping of corn salsa. We’re thinking that Maryland and Rutgers will be the East Coast salsa that adds a little spice to an already very good Midwestern conference. We think the B1G teams are going to love how these two women’s basketball teams (one a National Champion and the other a National Championship runner-up) help raise the profile of their conference practically overnight.

What the BCs foresee is the overall strength of the conference growing. We foresee that all teams, not just Maryland, will extend the circumference of their core recruiting regions. We can also foresee possible changes in how the game is played in the B1G. (With the entry of a defensive powerhouse like Rutgers and a traditionally high-powered offensive team like the Terps, how can the B1G game not change?) These are all positives.

And another huge positive – if the BCs ever make it out to a game at Ohio State, we already have a great place to eat dinner in Columbus – Plank’s Cafe!

Yes, it’s going to be different. Yes, it’s going to take getting used to. And, yes, it's going to be somewhat painful. But we think this upcoming realignment will present many interesting opportunities. Just think about this: how often are you in on the ground floor of creating a new rivalry? Or having a new rivalry choose you? Someday, perhaps, a Maryland fan will post a video on YouTube called “This is why [fill in team name here] sucks” . . . and the name of that team won’t be Duke, it will be a member of the B1G conference. When that day comes, Maryland and its new conference will truly be aligned. We hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

(re-published from November 21)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

As the BCs expected they would, the Terps this afternoon bounced back from their upset on Saturday at St. Joe's, thoroughly drubbing the American University Eagles at Comcast Center, 94-54, thereby giving Terps fans a very happy start to their Thanksgiving holiday.

To their credit, the Eagles fought hard, but were simply overmatched.  With the game never in doubt, Coach B used the opportunity to give her three freshmen plenty of minutes, and they all made the most of them.  Starting at PG for the first time, Chloe Pavlech dished out 8 assists (with only 2 TOs), Malina Howard poured in 17 points and grabbed 7 boards, and Tierney Pfirman notched 9 points of her own.  It was great to see the newbies out there getting so comfortable on the court.  On the veteran end of things, T-Hawk had another huge game, scoring 25 points in 25 minutes (and just missing out on a double-double with 9 rebounds). Alicia DeVaughn also scored in double figures (16), and, like T, was 1 rebound short of a double-double.

The Terps now get to spend a very happy Thanksgiving at home, before heading off to Lincoln, Nebraska next week for their part of this year's Big Ten-Big Ten ACC Challenge.

The BCs wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 19, 2012

They Did It

Maryland's move to the Big Ten Conference will be effective July 1, 2014, leaving the basketball teams to play two lame duck seasons in the ACC.

Terps fans, start saving up now for your plane tickets and rental cars; the 2014-15 Big Ten Women's Basketball Championship will be held in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, outside Chicago.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Big Ten?  Big Mistake!

Last night, as the BCs were still reeling over the loss to St. Joe's, we were plunged even further into depression by the news that Maryland was in serious talks to join the Big Ten Conference, an announcement that could come as early as tomorrow.  WHAT THE??

As our readers know, neither of the BCs attended the University of Maryland.  But as fans, not alumnae, even we have come to feel the intensity of athletic rivalries within the ACC. It's those traditional rivalries that are critical to alums and fans like us . . . those rivalries are a huge part of what makes us care about Maryland's athletic programs.  We've been living and breathing ACC women's basketball for years, and can't imagine the Terps suddenly being uprooted to what is essentially a midwestern conference. (In fact, for years, the BCs have had a shorthand for the Big Ten. Until now, due to its obvious political-incorrectness, we've kept it to ourselves . . . we call it the "Corn-Fed White Girls Conference." It's a conference that simply doesn't have the same diversity we love about the ACC.)

We can only imagine how fans of Maryland athletics who actually went to Maryland must feel about this prospect. Right now, the ACC fields the deepest women's basketball line-up in the country.  With the addition of Notre Dame and Syracuse, the ACC will be THE conference for women's basketball, hands down.  The predominately mid-Atlantic ACC is also THE conference for lacrosse and for field hockey, not to mention a powerhouse in soccer.  What will happen to these programs if Maryland attaches itself to a bunch of midwestern schools?   

Shortly after this news broke yesterday, the Washington Post article about the possible move had already generated hundreds of comments on the paper's web site, most from people totally opposed to the move, many of them Maryland alums who stated how upset they were. We talked to one die-hard Terps alum this morning; the word she used was "horrible." 

We think it's horrible, too.  We're not midwesterners, and, no offense to the Big Ten schools, but watching the Terps face off in basketball against the likes of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa just doesn't do it for us. Coach B left one of those Big Ten schools (Minnesota) in order to move to Maryland and the ACC. At the time, there was no question that in the world of women's basketball, the ACC was a step up from coaching at a Big Ten school.  If anything, that's even more true now. We know that if this "horrible" move happens, Coach B will find a way to adjust, but will we, the fans, be as successful at accepting this change?  Frankly, we doubt it.

Just think about the "Red Sea" that flows down to Greensboro every March for the ACC Tournament.  Does anyone think this many fans would be interested in traveling to -- or could afford to travel to -- some midwestern site for the Big Ten Tournament?  (In 2013, the Tournament will be held in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a northwestern suburb of Chicago.)  Just think about those Rebounder bus trips to Duke or UNC or UVA. Gone. Just think about those fans who fly to Florida to see the Terps play Miami or Florida State.  Will they fly to Lincoln, Nebraska, in the winter for a mini-vac? Not likely. And, let's not forget in all this football-centric decision-making that the student-athletes in sports that play more than 20 games a year, in the winter, will need to travel further and longer . . . . taking them away from their classrooms and study sessions, which can't possibly be a good thing for these young women and young men academically.

Why, you might ask, are Maryland's President and Athletic Director reportedly in favor of this move?  That's easy -- money.  The Big Ten makes a ton of it from the Big Ten Network, and the member schools get to share in that.  Apparently, the Big Ten thinks that expansion into the Maryland media market (and that of Rutgers, also planning to join the Conference) will bring in even more money.  In fact, there's so much money floating around that the talks of Maryland's leaving the ACC have proceeded despite the fact that the ACC schools -- over Maryland's objection -- earlier this year voted to impose a $50 MILLION exit "fee" on schools leaving the Conference.  Yes, you read that correctly, 50 million dollars.  Obviously, Maryland, which has had to eliminate a number of  athletic programs in recent years (not to mention put University staff on furloughs) doesn't have that kind of loose change lying around.  We've read that Maryland might challenge the "fee" in court and/or that the Big Ten would pay all or part of Maryland's ACC "exit" fee.  That still doesn't change how we feel about the move.

The BCs weren't happy after yesterday's loss to St. Joe's.  But that was only one game.  Bad games happen to good teams.  We've seen Coach B's teams regroup after bad losses before.  But if the move to the Big Ten happens, and it turns out badly, it can't be undone.  This brings our unhappiness to a whole new level.  Maryland is a charter member of the ACC, helping found the Conference in 1953.  That's an awful lot of athletic tradition to throw away.

Dear President Loh: Don't do it!
Dear AD Anderson: Don't do it!
Dear Maryland Board of Regents: Don't do it!

Sincerely, the DC BasketCases.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Road Warriors Woes

The Terps played St. Joe's on the road this afternoon in Philly, and it wasn't pretty.  St. Joe's is an unranked team from a mid-major conference, and the Terps should have beaten them.  However, not only did Maryland lose, but the Terps couldn't even manage to score 50 points.  Final score: St. Joe's 50, Maryland 49.  Congratulations to the Hawks.
Because of family obligations, the BCs were not able to make the trip to the City of Brotherly Love today, and so we were relegated to watching those little Gametracker figures.  Even from those little figures, however, it was clear that this was a dog of a game.  Maryland led for most of it, but not by much, up only 35-30 at the half. 
During the second period, St. Joe's chipped away at that small Maryland lead, and with 4:21 left in the game, went ahead 50-49.  And if you remember from the first paragraph that this was also the final score, then you know that for the last 4 minutes and 21 seconds of the game, neither team scored! In fact, in the entire second half, the Terps scored all of 14 points. (Did we mention that it was a dog of a game?)
There's really nothing good that the BCs can say about this game, except that, because we couldn't be there today, we aren't on a bus right now headed home from Philly. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran Leadership

Today is November 11th, Veterans Day.

Today is the day that we honor all those who serve, or have served, our country in the armed forces.  As the saying goes, freedom isn't free; it comes with a price.  So the BCs would like to thank all the servicemen and women who have made our freedom possible.  Your service, your sacrifice, are very much appreciated. 

Changing gears back to basketball . . . a veteran of a different sort took center stage today when the Terps traveled to Baltimore for their second game of the 2012-13 regular season, facing off against the Loyola Greyhounds. The BCs didn't make the trip, but we did follow all the "action" on Gametracker (what would we do without those little, top-heavy, color-coded  figures!).  And from what we "saw" of the game, it went something like this: Tianna Hawkins scored, Tianna Hawkins rebounded, once in a while Loyola scored, Tianna Hawkins scored, Tianna Hawkins rebounded, sometimes other Terps scored and rebounded, etc. etc. etc.

At the half, Tianna led the Greyhounds, 26-25.  Yes, T-Hawk actually outscored the entire Loyola team in the first half!  If you add the scoring by other Maryland players, the half-time scoreboard read Terps 41, Greyhounds 25.   Luckily for Loyola, T-Hawk spent more time on the bench in the 2nd half, adding only 7 points and 5 boards after the break.  Tianna, who broke the career 1,000-point barrier on Friday night against Mount St. Mary's, finished tonight with game highs in both scoring (33 -- a new career high) and rebounding (13), as Maryland coasted to an 88-45 road victory.

So how fitting that on Veterans Day, Maryland's most veteran player -- the only Senior on the active roster -- should put on such an impressive performance.  Great job, T!

And, above all, a special thank you to all those veterans, past and present, who serve our country.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Ringing In The New Year

After the all-too-long off season, the Terps' 2012-13 regular season finally got underway tonight with a game at Comcast against Mount St. Mary's.  It's always fun to watch Maryland in action, and it was great to see the Terps back on the court . . . at least the 9 remaining healthy players. Unfortunately, Maryland lost 2 players for the entire season due to ACL tears (first Brene and then Essence) even before today's tip-off. But the team doesn't dwell on the negative, so neither will we.  Tonight it was fun seeing the returning Terps, and especially fun seeing newbies Chloe Pavlech, Tierney Pfirman, and Malina Howard in their very first college regular season action. (The frosh all look like keepers to us!)  

The game itself, however, was, as we said "fun" . . . but hardly exciting. Nor should it have been against an opponent from the Northeastern Conference. So, no surprise, the Terps easily handled the Mountaineers, winning 88-47

What brought the biggest smiles to the BCs' faces tonight actually took place before the tip-off, as we got to witness our first Maryland "ring ceremony." (We're not trying to be political here . . .  same-sex marriage will soon be legal in Maryland, but, no, that's not the kind of "ring ceremony" we're talking about.)  Before this evening's contest, 2012 ACC Championship rings were handed out to all the players (except poor Katie Rutan) and all the coaches who were part of last season's victory in the Conference Finals. 

We loved that this was done in front of the fans.  Those of us who were in Greensboro, as well as those who cheered from afar, remember that ACC tournament as a very special time.  Tonight, seeing the surprise, excitement and emotion on the faces of the players as they opened their ring boxes, well, that just made us happy.

You know what also made the BCs happy that the regular season is now underway?  Refrigerator Magnets!  It's not a new season in our house until we peel off the old magnet with the picture of last year's team (relocating it to a place of honor . . . on top of the fridge) and replace it with the new magnet with this year's team picture and schedule. Add to that the fact that tonight we also received our new Rebounder Tees (very nice, white, long-sleeved!), and finally the arrival of the new season is real.

2011-12 was simply great (an ACC Championship, the Elite Eight), but now it's time to ring in the new year.  Happy 2012-13 everyone!!  Terps, we are so happy you're back!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Monday, November 05, 2012

Early Late Returns

The Terps were supposed to return to intercollegiate competition last Tuesday, October 30th, with an exhibition game against Catholic U. But that early pre-season game fell victim to Hurricane Sandy.  And so the Terps returned to action a bit later than they'd planned this fall, tonight playing an exhibition game at Comcast against D-II Goldey-Beacom

No big surprise: Maryland won, 84-46.

If you thought "who?" when you first read the name of tonight's opponent on Maryland's schedule, you weren't alone. The BCs had never heard of Goldey-Beacom.  We thought it sounded like a company that manufactures heavy industrial equipment.  But we were wrong.  Turns out G-B is a private college outside of Wilmington, Delaware, that has been around, in one incarnation or another, since 1886. 

No offense to the G-B Lightning, but the BCs decided this morning that we were going to skip the pleasure of an hour-long (or more) bumper-to-bumper drive up to College Park during rush hour this evening to watch Maryland play an exhibition game against a school we'd never even heard of prior to the release of the Terps' schedule.  

It wasn't just the drive that influenced our decision to stay home and catch all the "action" on Gametracker. Our main reason for not staying out late tonight is that we have a very early wake up call tomorrow. In Virginia, the polls open at 6 AM, and the BCs expect to be waiting in line when the doors open.  With the presidential and many other races and ballot questions predicted to be so close, we're also expecting that we'll be up much later than normal tomorrow, following the returns.

Tonight's exhibition game provided both teams with some early season competition, but not much more.  It didn't really count for anything.  But tomorrow, the stakes are much higher.  Tomorrow's election  really does count.  So if you haven't availed yourself of early voting, go to the polls tomorrow and cast your vote. Tomorrow's contests aren't exhibitions -- they're the real deal. Please Vote!

* * * * *
And if you find yourself standing in a long line tomorrow and need some reading material, Guru Mel Greenberg has a long post here covering a number of topics, including the Mystics' failure to snag Bill Laimbeer, who is returning to the WNBA as the new GM/HC of the New York Liberty.  As Mel observes, the college season is starting without anyone at the helm of the Mystics. In other words, no one yet in place to  begin evaluating players for the 2013 draft, in which the Mystics will pick 4th.  It's not a promising situation.  No news right now is not good news.

* * * * *
Tuesday morning update:  In case you need some more reading material while you are waiting in line to vote, the Washington Post's Gene Wang has a nice feature about the Terps, here.

The BCs cast our ballots at 6:20 this morning.  Be sure you cast yours!