January 26, 2008

Pringle, Larkins carry UNC to 2 OT win

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - LaToya Pringle wasn't going to let a bloody lip stop her.

The North Carolina forward took a shot in the face in the second half, requiring her to change jerseys, but came back to finish with a career-high 31 points that propelled the third-ranked Tar Heels to a 97-86 double-overtime win against No. 4 Maryland.

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UNC wins double-OT thriller

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - It took longer than they would have hoped, but the Tar Heels got the big win they needed against ACC foe Maryland. Finally wearing down the Terps in overtime and depleting their frontcourt, North Carolina came away with a 97-86 win in double overtime.

LaToya Pringle had a huge rebound and layup with 1:50 to go to put UNC up 87-82. After a Maryland score, the Heels got the ball again and ran most of the shot clock before an Erlana Larkins layup made it 89-84 with 1:05 to go. Two more Pringle free throws forced the Terps to start fouling and sealed the game.

Second overtime coming in Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Hey, everyone have fun in overtime? Great, let's play another. Kristi Tolliver couldn't get a contested jumper anywhere near the basket following a possession where UNC tied the game on a Rashanda McCants layup after Cetera DeGraffenreid came up with a loose ball. So we're on to overtime No. 2 tied at 79.

No separation in overtime

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - We've got less than two minutes to go in the extra period, and we're still going back and forth. Laura Harper just fouled out for the Terps, and LaToya Pringle is at the line to try to give UNC the lead back. This might come down to the last possession.

Terps, Heels going to OT

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - You usually don't see a center running the break, but Erlana Larkins did it for Carolina. Larkins led broke out and dished to fellow frontliner LaToya Pringle, who got the layup and the foul. Her free throw tied the game at 71 with 46.5 seconds to go. At the other end, UNC's Jessica Breland swatted Marissa Coleman and the Tar Heels had the ball with 18.3 seconds on the clock.

But Rashanda McCants missed a three and Pringle's follow rolled out, so we're headed for some bonus basketball.

UNC, Maryland tied with under five to go

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Carolina retook the lead on a Cetera DeGraffenreid baseline jumper, but the thrill for the fans was shortlived as Kristi Toliver finally found her shooting stroke and buried a 3-pointer to put Maryland up 64-62. Still, the Tar Heels weren't done going inside. Erlana Larkins got a rebound and drew a foul -- the fourth on Laura Harper -- hitting both free throws to tie the game. Everything's pointing to a great finish here.

Heels cut into Maryland lead

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The crowd is getting fired up here as the Tar Heels try to overcome the hole they dug themselves against the Terrapins. After the TV timeout, Erlana Larkins will be heading to the line for UNC, which trails 61-59. Suddenly it's Carolina that's being aggressive on the glass, playing their way back into the game with offensive rebounds and the odd 3-pointer.

Pringle changes jerseys

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Fans here might have noticed something different about LaToya Pringle when she returned to the game after several minutes on the bench. Instead of wearing her usual No. 30 jersey, Pringle is clad in No. 55 now after getting blood on the jersey she started the game with.

The Tar Heels could certainly use her help. Maryland is torching them on the glass right now and holding a 57-50 edge.

Maryland on a roll inside

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Terrapins are on a crazy roll of and-ones, much to the chagrin of the Carmichael Auditorium crowd. Ever since Laura Harper's rebound and make, the Terps have gotten strong inside and the Tar Heels haven't been able to stop them. As such, Maryland has gone from not being able to take a lead to going up 52-46 on Carolina with 12:49 to go.

Terps take first lead

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Maryland coach Brenda Frese probably likes what she's seeing right now watching TV back in College Park. Laura Harper just got a layup and drew a foul (she missed the free throw) to give Maryland its first lead of the game, 46-44 less than six minutes into the second half.

Langhorne picks up third foul

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The good news for Maryland is that the UNC lead is only one point, but the bad news is that there are now three fouls on center Crystal Langhorne. Having her available will be crucial for the Terps if they want to stop the Tar Heels from scoring inside. That's been Carolina's strength in this game so far and could be a way for them to try to reestablish a lead with Langhorne on the bench.

Coleman leads Terps run before half

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Maryland's Marissa Coleman had quite an exciting end to the first half, scoring seven straight points from the Terps, including a 3-pointer after which she jawed a bit at the Carmichael Auditorium crowd. That helped the Terrapins tie the game at 33 before the Tar Heels responded and went to the locker room with a 37-33 lead.

Carolina enjoyed most of its success inside, scoring 12 of its 17 field goals in the paint. Erlana Larkins and LaToya Pringle combined to shoot 9 for 13 for 18 points. Coleman's 13 points lead the Terps.

This time refs draw Hatchell's ire

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - If Sylvia Hatchell was mad at her team before, she looked even more angry with the officials after a blocking call against the Tar Heels. Hatchell came about as close as you can to a technical foul without actually getting one, ranting and gesticulating wildly up and down her bench while barking at the official who made the call. She's probably also not that happy with the fact that her team followed that with a bad shot and sent Crystal Langhorne to the line at the other end, where she will try to cut into Carolina's 31-24 lead so the Terps can make a push in the final 3:40 of the first half.

Hatchell is unhappy

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell just called timeout and was screaming at her team before it even hit the sidelines. She's got good reason, too. The Tar Heels are being careless with the basketball and having trouble defending the Terps, who have cut the Carolina lead to three with eight minutes to go in the half.

Tar Heels build on lead

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - So far things are going according to plan for North Carolina, which has led by 10 twice and now holds a 20-12 lead over Maryland with 11 minutes to go in the first half. Were it not for some turnovers -- always a problem for the Tar Heels -- their advantage could be even bigger.

UNC doing work inside vs. Terps

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - While North Carolina has been forcing Maryland turnovers early, it's not the Heels' transition game that's getting it done for them offensively. Before a Rashanda McCants 3-pointer that made it 11-3, Carolina was scoring with a heavy dose of power in the paint from LaToya Pringle and Erlana Larkins.

And whenever Larkins draws a double-team it leaves someone else open for UNC, which has taken advantage of that well on the way to a 13-5 lead six minutes into the game.

Maryland, Carolina in ACC showdown

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - After traveling to Connecticut to take on the nation's No. 1 team, North Carolina gets a break, right? Nope. The No. 3/4 Tar Heels merely get another top-five matchup, hosting No. 4/3 Maryland at Carmichael Auditorium.

Neither of these squads has lost in conference play, though the teams' combined three losses (two of which are UNC's) have come against top-five competition. The Terps don't have head coach Brenda Frese with them, who is pregnant and only coaching home games at the moment, but this should still be quite a showdown.

The Terps are looking to extend their 12-game winning streak, while the Tar Heels are hoping some home cooking will help them bounce back from the loss to UConn.

January 14, 2008

Another Classic Rivalry Game

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Duke and Maryland is a rivalry, there is no doubt about that. The 15,531 in attendance at the Comcast Center, the fifth highest total in ACC history, proves it.

What first started in 2006 at the Final Four when the underdog Terps beat the Blue Devils only grew last year when Duke beat Maryland twice during the regular season to exact their revenge.

This season, with Duke losing All-Americans Alison Bales and Lindsey Harding, and with Maryland keeping almost its entire roster from that 2006 title team, you would think Maryland would have an easy go. Especially at home.

It definitely wasn't easy.

"Anytime we play Duke, the physicality of the game obviously steps up," said Maryland senior Laura Harper when asked about finally putting a stop to not beating Duke at home since 1998. "Pride, obviously, is a big thing with the rivalry. We wanted to end this streak and as much as you don't want to say it, that's something that was important to us and it feels so good to say as a senior, now we did it."

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It's Over

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - With the score 85-70 with 51.4 seconds to play, this one is all over but Duke's crying.

The Blue Devils held their own for a long time in this game, longer than I expected. But, in the end, Maryland was too much. A revelation many ACC teams will be finding out shortly.

The Terps improve to 20-1 on the season with the victory and Duke falls to 13-4. Maryland is now 4-0 in the ACC and Duke is 2-1.

Your leading scorer was Marissa Coleman, who tied her career high with 30 points. Check back later for a complete postgame recap.

Tie, And Then Not

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Duke scratched and clawed and tied the game.

Then Maryland took it back.

Duke managed to tie the game at 65 and then again at 68 before Maryland used inside play and free throws to score the next eight points and go up 76-68 with 3:23 to go.

Maryland's Marissa Coleman is in the middle of one of the best games she has played at Maryland. The junior has 27 points right now, three off her career high which she set earlier in the season against UC Santa Barbara.

Harper Goes Out

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland's Laura Harper picked up her fourth foul with just under nine minutes to play in the game.

That could hurt the Terps, who must counter with 6-foot-1 Jade Perry. Without the 6-foot-4 Harper, Maryland's biggest player is Crystal Langhorne at 6-foot-2. This puts Maryland at a disadvantage on the boards.

After a Wanisha Smith bucket, Duke has crawled back to within five at 65-60 with 7:50 to play in the game.

Hanging Around

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - With 11:35 to play in the game, Duke is hanging in there.

The score is 60-53 with the Blue Devils looking like they will be in this game until the end. With that said, Maryland still looks like the much better team.

It is obvious that Maryland has one of the best - if not the best - starting fives in the nation and Duke simply cannot compete. But with Maryland struggling to hit its shots and with turnovers happening more frequently than Brenda Frese would like, Duke sticks around.

All this sticking around could prove very costly for Maryland in the end. Stick around for the exciting conclusion.

Duke Losing Composure? Don't Think So

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Joy Cheek gave Marissa Coleman a love tap.

The official didn't feel so good about it. He gave her a technical foul as Coleman laughed off the bump.

Meanwhile, Maryland is missing its shots and all the technical did was ignite the Blue Devils. Duke's Jasmine Thomas hit a three and followed that with a steal and a lay up to bring Duke all the way back into this game.

The score is now 47-44 Maryland with 18 minutes to play in the game.

Great End To The Half

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - What an incredible finish to an otherwise suspect first half here at the Comcast Center.

It all happened with Maryland up 37-31 with one minute to play. Marissa Coleman hit a three from the corner and pumped her fists in celebration, making the crowd erupt.

The Terps followed the three by picking off a Duke pass and going on a fast break, ended by another Coleman three with 20 seconds left that gave them a 43-31 lead and made the crowd go nuts.

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Still Fight In These Devils

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Well, folks, Duke has found a way to claw back into this game.

How? Mostly because Maryland started playing a little sloppy, combined with missing their shots and not getting to loose balls and rebounds.

That's not to take anything away from Duke's play, they are playing scrappy and with a lot of heart and hustle, but Maryland just looks physically superior in every way, and yet, after another Abby Waner steal and lay up, the score is 31-27 with 3:47 remaining in the first half and Waner still with another free throw.

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Abby Waner Sighting

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Did Duke wake up?

It's been like sleep walking over the first 10 minutes for the Blue Devils. Maryland opened a 17-4 lead.

The lead has now shrunk to 17-11 after Abby Waner scored five points in a row off a ridiculously long-range bomb and then a steal at the top of the key to lead a break and complete a nifty behind-the-back pass and get back to finish.

Duke needs more of Waner if they hope to get back in this game and eventually pull off the upset. Duke needs more of Waner, period.

Give Me More Harper

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Duke has taken their second timeout of the game and we still have 14:19 to play in the first half!

Laura Harper is unconscious right now, making steals and scoring at the other end. Harper has nine of Maryland's 17 points as they lead Duke, 17-4.

Maryland Starts Quick, Duke Cold

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Duke was going to have to come out and be next to perfect to avoid a quick start from Maryland.

They are nowhere near perfect. Try 1-for-8 from the field.

And that's why Maryland - just overpowering Duke physically and on the blocks - has opened up an early 10-2 lead.

Laura Harper has been big, converting on a three-point play and hitting two other free throws for five early points. Marah Strickland followed a Marissa Coleman steal by hitting a three that gave the Terps their 10 points. Kristi Toliver has the other two points for the Terps.

Terrapins Out For Revenge

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Welcome to the "House That Gary Built" and that coach Brenda Frese is currently leasing until the men's version of the Terrapins can catch up.

Maryland wears red, the color of blood, and that's exactly what they can smell as the No. 10 Duke Blue Devils come to the Comcast Center.

Sure, Duke is riding an impressive eight-game winning streak since retaining the services of senior Wanisha Smith, junior Abby Waner and freshman Krystal Thomas, who missed a combined 14 games on the season so far.

That doesn't bother Maryland. The Terps will have a message for Duke.

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December 03, 2007

Maryland Does Bleed...Scarlet

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Maryland just couldn't hit the big shots at the end of the game when they needed it most and the Scarlet Knights used amazing pressure defense to get the Terps out of their games in the second half to pull away and win, 68-60, in front of 4,181 at the RAC.

The Knights finally got their big win at home.

Back with more...

Instant Heavyweight Classic

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - This one was worth the price of admission. And I got to see it for free. Jealous? You should be, this was one instant classic of a game.

Like a heavyweight battle, Rutgers and Maryland went blow for blow for 40 minutes, and the final was a lot closer than the 68-60 score indicated. But in the end, Rutgers hit hardest and pulled out the win on their home court in front of 4,181 fans who were behind them from start to finish.

This game was all about styles of play. Maryland likes to force its opponents to run, while Rutgers slows you down and forces you to take bad shots. The game featured moments where each team was able to enforce its will. But ultimately it was Maryland who missed one too many shots.

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RU By Five

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Down by five with 3:31 to play, Maryland is playing with a sense of urgency.

Rutgers has completely taken over the momentum of this game thanks to Epiphanny Prince, who has 10 of the biggest points that Rutgers has scored tonight, including the Knights last four, to make the score 53-48.

Langhorne is on the line right now shooting two, but Maryland needs to get back into its offense if they hope to not get upset here tonight at the RAC.

The Terps are still shooting 20 percent on the half and they are turning the ball over as well, with 19 on the game, compared to RU's nine.

RU Has A Lead

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers is a team on a mission right now and the crowd is backing them on their journey.

With 7:20 to play, Epiphanny Prince hit her second 3-pointer in a row to give the Scarlet Knights their first lead since about 16 minutes left in the first half.

Rutgers had cut the lead down to 42-40, but Marissa Coleman responded with a huge three, making it a five-point game. But that's when Prince went off for her back-to-back trifectas. The sophomore guard has 15 points to lead all scorers.

Maryland is shooting just 20 percent in the second half. After shooting 62 percent in the opening stanza, that is a big reason the Terps have let the Knights back in.

Just A Two Point Game

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The lead is just two.

With 10 minutes to play, you could tell the Rutgers fans were ready for their Knights to make a run. And the Knights responded.

Rashidat Junaid, not usually a big contributor, hit a lay up with 9:15 to play to cut the lead to two, 42-40, sending the crowd and the Rutgers bench into jubilation and forcing Maryland to call a 30 second timeout to regroup.

Chants of, "R, U!" have been going back and forth between sides of the arena for almost the entire timeout. The RAC is rocking right now.

Getting Closer

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers doesn't know how to quit.

You know you will get heart and determination from Rutgers and the Scarlet Knights won't let this game slip away.

Down by 10 again, the Knights got back-to-back baskets by Matee Ajavon and backup center Rashidat Junaid - Ajavon hit a three in the corner - to cut the Maryland lead in half.

With 11:34 to play the score is 41-36 Terps.

Kristi Toliver is being blanketed by Epiphanny Prince out there and is visibly frustrated that she cannot seem to shake loose.

Every single time Rutgers has made a run in this game, Maryland has answered. Let's see what the Terps do next. Or will the Knights continue to get back into this game?

Swinging Mo'

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The second half started with Maryland unable to connect from the field for over two minutes and Rutgers used a 4-0 run to get back to within six.

Crystal Langhorne came out of halftime and seemed to regress, looking ugly on a travelling call in the lane and then compounding that by airballing her next shot from the free throw line.

But a big three pointer from freshman Marah Strickland and Kia Vaughn going out of the game with four fouls already has given the Terps back some momentum and they continue to lead, 36-29.

Terps By 10 At The Half

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - After one half of action, this game is pretty much everything you would have expected.

Epiphanny Prince hit a shot at the buzzer into halftime. OK, it was after the buzzer and didn't count. Pretty much sums up the first half for the Scarlet Knights, who trail No. 3 Maryland 33-23 after one.

The Scarlet Knights' defense is devastating, but they seem to be a step behind the Terps' offense, which is one of the best and most efficient in the nation - if not the best.

The Terps can be prone to turnovers, yes, but when their offense clicks it is a wonderful thing to watch.

Continue reading "Terps By 10 At The Half" »

Maryland's Gem

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Maryland holds an 18-16 lead with 7:26 to go in the first half and they have Jade Perry to thank.

Perry has come off the bench to provide a needed spark for the Terrapins as Rutgers has been able to slow them down a little late.

Perry has hit three big buckets for Maryland for six early points to lead the team and the Terps have shot almost 67 percent from the field - compared to the Knights' 38 percent - to take the lead.

Essence Carson has been very good tonight thus far for Rutgers and has six points of her own on 3-for-5 shooting.

Fast-Paced Terps

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Is the Tide turning?

Maryland may be missing some shots early and making some early mistakes and turnovers, but they are inflicting their own style of play on Rutgers and forcing the tempo to be a lot quicker than the Knights would like.

Maryland has grabbed the lead, 14-12, at the 9:20 mark in the first half and got a big boost from Jade Perry off the bench. Perry doesn't look it, but she was able to hit on an acrobatic layup in the lane and then immediately followed that with a nice jumper from the free throw line.

Rutgers With Fire

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers came out with a lot of fire in the opening minutes of this one. But one very amusing thing happened before the ball was even tipped.

During the Maryland team announcement, Maryland's Crystal Langhorne was introduced. She ran onto the court and did a chest bump with Jade Perry. Langhorne came down awkward and lost her balance, falling on her backside. The senior got a big laugh, as did her teammates, as she got up embarassed and hugged Perry after.


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Back At The RAC

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Back once again at the State College of New Jersey for another big-time matchup between Top 10 teams, this time for the Jimmy V Classic.

It's the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins who venture north to the Garden State in search of a victory over last year's national runners-up.

Maryland comes in undefeated at 10-0, including big wins over LSU and Oklahoma, and the Terps are hungry to prove they can win on the road.

Rutgers, on the other hand, comes in 4-1, having lost only to then-No. 7 Stanford on their home floor at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights need to prove they can protect their house.

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November 30, 2007

Maryland cruises Past Ohio State for fourth victory over a ranked team

College Park, Md.-- Add another check-mark to the Maryland Terrapins' checklist. The way they've been plowing through their grueling schedule makes it seem as if they they are merely completing mundane tasks, rather than competing against upper-echelon women's basketball teams.

Another ranked team, another convincing, double-digit victory for the now 10-0 Terps. This time against the clearly over-matched, No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-2).

"Very, very convincing win," Terrapins head coach Brenda Frese said of her team's 77-53 triumph. "The best thing was to see how we executed defensively... A special win, especially for the first year of the ACC/Big Ten challenge, and for us to be able to come away with such a convincing win."

Last season, Maryland won its first 18 games, but this year's 10-game stretch may be even more impressive.

The Terps have already beaten Oklahoma, Notre Dame, LSU, and now Ohio State--all ranked teams--and all taken care of with relative ease.

"Our swag, our confidence," Frese attributed to her team's hot start this season. "We're playing for each other and looking for each other on the floor. Just the unselfishness we're displaying."

The Terps have been able to be so unselfish because of the quality of their starting lineup. Every night a different player seems to step up and carry the offense.

Tonight it was senior forward Crystal Langhorne who, still not at 100-percent from a foot injury, led the way with 17 points. But it was a balanced effort from the Terps, as they had six players with eight or more points.

Maryland kicked off the game with an 18-4 run, and never looked back. Ohio State was unable to make a push to even make the game interesting. Marscilla Packer, who leads the Buckeyes in scoring this season shot 2-of-11 from the floor, scoring just six points total.

"We're not going to win a lot of basketball games with Marscilla shooting like that," Buckeyes head coach Jim Foster said. "She's been out there a couple years, and the best defender on the other team was on Brandi Hoskins. Now the best defender on the other team is on her, and she's a target."

That "best defender" was Marissa Coleman, who Frese praised after the game for her defense.

"When Marissa puts her mind to it, she can be the best, dominant player on the floor, offensively and defensively," Frese said. "To hold [Packer] scoreless in the first half... just thought we did a tremendous job being able to defend her, and that started with Marissa and her energy and focus on the defensive end."

The Terps once again put together a complete game, both offensively and defensively, and needed little effort to fend off the Buckeyes in the second half. Once the Terps' lead was built, they padded and protected it.

"It's great exposure for our team, especially being the ACC/Big Ten challenge to show how dominant our conference is and just to send a message out to a lot of people," Langhorne said.

Consider that message received. The Terps have been on a mission to prove that last year's second-round exit in the NCAA tournament was just a fluke, and they have done that so far by beating some of the nation's best teams and reaching 10 wins before anybody else.

Still, the Terps like to play the disrespect card, because that card worked so well for them two years ago when they captured the first national championship in program history.

"It's very similar to the year that we won it," Coleman said. "Nobody's really talking about Maryland. Everybody's talking about Connecticut and Tennessee and the rest of the country. It's just more motivation for us to go out there and play as hard as we can, and try to dominate those opponents that we do play."

The Terps travel to Piscataway Monday to play No. 5 Rutgers, and if they play like they have been playing, and earn another victory against another highly-ranked team, people will certainly be talking about Maryland.

Whether Coleman and the Terps like it or not.

FINAL- MARYLAND- 77 OHIO STATE- 53

College Park, Md.-- More on this game to come...

A-C-C! A-C-C! A-C-C!

College Park, Md.-- Fans at Comcast Center just began an "A-C-C" chant just as they did Wednesday night during the men's game against Illinois.

Chalk up another victory for the Atlantic Coast Conference in this one. ACC has an early lead in the inaugural women's basketball Big Ten/ACC challenge.

Working Mother

College Park, Md.-- Thanks to a feature on the Jumbo-Tron during a timeout, we learned that the Terrapins players voted Crystal Langhorne "team mom."

Don't know if that was more of an honor than her being voted a pre-season All-American, but it's one more thing to add to her resume.

Not Pack-ing it in

College Park, Md.-- Ohio State's leading scorer for the season, Marscilla Packer, just scored her first points of the night, 24 minutes into the game. Only 16 more to match her season average.

Half-Time at College Park

College Park, Md. -- With a trip to Rutgers on Monday, the Terps may have looked past Ohio State a little bit. But the first half proved that's not so. At halftime, the Terrapins lead the Buckeyes 39-25.

No player on either side has reached double-digits yet, and Maryland's reserve forward Jade Perry leads all scorers with 8 points.

The Terps are even impressing some of their male counterparts, who came out to support the team tonight.

I ran into guard Greivis Vasquez of the men's team during halftime and he was proud of the women's work so far.

"They're too good," Vasquez said. "They're gonna win the national championship. Kristi Toliver is playing amazingly."

While it may be too early for Vasquez's championship prediction, the Terps have certainly showed that they are capable, beating ranked team after ranked team, like they'll have to do in March. If they can hold onto this 14-point lead, they will be 4-0 against teams in the top-25 this season.

Meanwhile, Ohio State needs to come out hot if they want to think about a potential upset any longer. If they dig themselves into a deeper hole, they won't have a chance to come back.

Marscilla Packer has yet to get into the scoring column for the Buckeyes. She needs to assert herself more in the offense and start hitting some shots for Ohio State to get going.

Not your ordinary contest

College Park, Md.-- Typically at Maryland games, during a media time-out, a pair of fans get to participate in a contest sponsored by Popeye's chicken. The contestants normally put on a Terps jersey and basketball shorts as they dribble across the court and try to hit a lay-up before one another.

In tonight's contest though, the fans had to put on diapers and pacifiers though. They had some trouble hitting that shot with the diapers falling down, but eventually it ended.

And boy are we lucky it finally ended.

First Half Update

College Park, Md.-- Terrapins lead 20-9, midway through the first half. Kristi Toliver leads the Terps with five points, while Brittany Johnson leads the Buckeyes with three. The Terps are demonstrating a balanced scoring attack while the Buckeyes just aren't scoring at all.

Terrapins not cordial hosts

College Park, Md.-- The Terps just gave Ohio State a rude welcome to College Park and "The World's Biggest Baby Shower." They began the game on an 11-2 run, led by four points from Laura Harper, prompting Ohio State head coach Jim Foster to take a timeout.

Ohio State at Maryland --Inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge

College Park, Md.-- With head coach Brenda Frese over five months pregnant, the Maryland Athletics Department has titled tonight's game against the Ohio State Buckeyes "The World's Biggest Baby Shower." It encouraged fans to bring a toy or donation, in honor of Frese, to be donated to Toys for Tots.

The biggest gift for Frese, however, will be another victory-- one that would make the No. 3 Terrapins the first team in the nation to reach 10 wins.

Ohio State would like nothing more than to spoil the party.

The Buckeyes come into College Park sitting at 5-1, hungry to make-up for their home loss to Auburn last Sunday. While the Terps have already beaten three ranked teams, the No. 19 Buckeyes are looking for their first big win of the season, and to stay in the rankings.

Jantel Lavender, a 6-foot-4-inch freshman center, has begun her collegiate career how graduated center Jessica Davenport left off. Lavender is second on the team in scoring with 16.7 points per game, and she leads the Buckeyes with 9.3 rebounds a contest.

Tonight though, she will go against a front-line unlike any she has ever played. The Maryland front-court of Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper, is among the best of the nation. Backup forward Jade Perry, who started seven games in Langhorne's absence, will be brought off the bench to guard the big Buckeye center as well.

But it's a pair of guards who lead their teams in scoring and could decide the outcome in this one. For the Terrapins, junior Kristi Toliver (19.4 ppg, 57.4 fg%) has shot lights-out and looks like an All-American early in the season. Senior Marscilla Packer has been no slouch from the field either, scoring almost 18 points a game for Ohio State.

November 25, 2007

Final thoughts from Westwood

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- On paper, No. 3 Maryland had the experience to come in and blow away unranked UCLA with their young roster.

Instead, Maryland squeaked away with a 79-75 win during a physical game and it was UCLA's youth led by the experience of a sole senior that stole the show and almost the game.

"This game definitely teaches us that we have stuff to work on, but at the same time, we can compete with anyone in the country when we bring our 'A' game and play together," said UCLA's Lindsay Pluimer.

The first half Maryland showed their experience by staying in control of the game and leading by as many as 13 points with 5:47 left in the half. Yet UCLA never gave up and went into halftime only seven points behind.

"We've been emphasizing defense this whole year," said UCLA coach Kathy Olivier. I thought we did a great job at the end of the first half and really picked up our defense and pressure which created some easy shots for us."

Second half action saw UCLA playing beyond their years and even enjoyed a 16-point lead with 6:47 left in the game.

"In the second half I thought we did a great job early, but in the stretch, their experienced showed." said Olivier.

However, it was the experience of having faced a similar situation that enabled Maryland to chip away and ultimately take the lead.

"In the National Championship game we had to come back from being down by double-digits with 10 minutes left in the game," said Maryland's Marissa Coleman. "I think this shows the character of this team this season and that we worked extremely hard for in the off-season."

With 1:07 left in the game, Maryland's Kristi Toliver stayed calm, cool and collected and hit the shot that silenced a rowdy UCLA crowd in the home where legends in men's college basketball have been made.

"It felt good," said Toliver. "We're just trying to balance the score and get back on the winning side."

Yet it was the experience of Maryland bolstered by out-rebounding 42-33, out-shooting trom the field with a 52.7% compared to 43.7% and out-shooting from the three-point arch 9-5 that gave Maryland the lift they needed to survive and hold onto their ranking for another game.

"It means everything," said Park. "This is a special group of players who have been through a lot of battles and have a lot of experience because of it. To have the players on the court who really believed that we had a great opportunity to come back and execute it beautifully in the last six minutes of the game.

All of UCLA's players who came off the bench scored, with Pluimer leading the way with 17 points followed by Doreena Campbell who came through with 15 points of her own.

"As much as I know we are young, I think we have a great leader," said Olivier. "Pluimer has been extremely patient, has an unbelievable amount of respect and I think that Doreena has shown that she doesn't play like a freshman whatsoever. She takes great shots, takes care of the basketball."

Leading all scorers for Maryland was Toliver with her 22 points. Close behind her was Coleman with the only double-double of the day with her 20 points and 10 rebounds.

"This was another wonderful effort by our kids," said acting Maryland coach Daron Park. "Our character definitely was tested, our composure was tested and everything we talked about we experienced in the second half. Just the way this team battled back and understood what needed to be done to get back in the game and then what needed to be done to win the game says so much about the kind of players and people we have. It was a great win against a very good team on a historic court."

It's over, no upset

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- FInal score:

Maryland 79
UCLA 75

Down to the wire

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- There's a minute left on the clock and Maryland's Toliver may have just hit the three-pointer of her life.

Maryland 75
UCLA 73

Stay tuned...

Snapping back!

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- UCLA's 16-point lead has erroded like the California coastline.

Maryland is snapping back with a 19-3 run and the Terps -- who are a snapping type of turtle -- now lead 72-71.

Stay tuned, there are two minutes left.

Time keeps ticking away

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- There's eight minutes left in the game and UCLA now has turn the tables in their favor to take an 11-point lead.

Yet with so much time and the physical nature of this game, it may come down to which team is better conditioned.

Can UCLA keep up their tough defense that is creating Maryland to turnover the ball?

Can Maryland keep the Bruins running?

Stay tuned...

Bruins ahead

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- I've been trying to type in this entry for about two minutes, but with the see-saw battle going on, it's taken a while.

UCLA is now ahead 50-46 with 12:32 left to play.

To say that UCLA has the momentum in their favor would be an understatement. Instead, they are en fuego. Maryland is not helping their cause with sloppy play and playing a little bit out of control and the crowd here at Pauley Pavilion is reminding everyone whose house this is. I actually think that the last time it was this loud at Pauley was for a UCLA men's basketball game.

Maryland is chipping away and now only trails by two, so this game is far from being over.

Stay tuned...

Time: 11:39
UCLA 52
Maryland 50

Second(s) (half) Please!

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The second half has started here in Westwood and UCLA has come out with guns blazing! The Bruins are on a 6-3 run and with Maryland turning the ball over, it's been all UCLA in the opening minutes.

It's way to early to consider that the ice cream is melting, but with the Terps having flown to the west coast on Wednesday, dessert has been enjoyed once already this weekend by the team. On Thursday, Thanksgiving, Maryland enjoyed not only having an ocean view while happily munching on turkey and all of the fixings, but were also treated with dessert. Normally they are not allowed to eat dessert while on the road, but hey, it was a holiday and their strength and conditioning coach does have a heart.

Pumpkin pie might be the traditional dessert on Thanksgiving, according to Marissa Coleman, the strawberries and chocolate fondue were a big hit.

"We definitely took it to our full advantage," said Coleman. "I think it was the strawberry fondue with chocolate. Since it is strawberry season and it’s a fruit, we could have more than just one slice of cake. You've got to beat the system!"

With dessert and ice cream on my mind, if anyone out there is reading, feel free to comment with your favorite cookie and ice cream combination. I may try the best combo submitted whether Maryland wins or loses.

Halftime!

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- We are at the half here in Westwood and Maryland is holding on to their 35-28 lead.

Leading the way for Maryland is Marissa Coleman with 14 points and Krisi Toliver is about to break the double-digit barrier with her nine points.

The keys for Maryland holding on to this lead -- rebounds, conditioning and making their shots.

Maryland is out-rebound UCLA 24-15 and are a lean, mean running machine that is not having problems breaking UCLA's full court press when it gets thrown out there.

Meanwhile, UCLA is hanging tough with this physically dominating Maryland team.

The Bruins are being paced by Lindsay Pluimer's seven points, but there are four players with four points a piece.

Maryland is also out-shooting UCLA with a 51.7% from the field compared to UCLA's 34.4%.

Stay tuned, halftime is almost over.

Bruins on the move

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- There's less than a minute to play in the first half and UCLA is trying to pick-up some momentum heading into the second half.

The Bruins enjoyed a nice 7-2 run to get the score close at 32-28, but with Maryland's last three-pointer to change the score to 35-28, the last minute is going to be a dog-fight.

Stay tuned...

Clear as a Langhorne

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Maryland's Crystal Langhorne just checked in for the second time with 4:48.

While any player coming into the game typically isn't newsworthy, for Langhorne coming in, it is.

Langhorne sprained her ankle two weeks ago and is listed as day-to-day.

Continue reading "Clear as a Langhorne" »

P. Diddy Riese

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- We are at our first time out and Maryland is ahead 12-4. Both teams are playing tough man defense, but it is Maryland that is finding the bottom of the net. Add to that the charging foul that was just awarded to UCLA's Chinyere Ibekwe for going to the basket out of control, the Terps are staying calm, cool and collected in the opening five minutes of play.

While the motivation for Maryland to win today is to hold on to their No. 3 ranking, I have a different philosophy -- ice cream.

After Maryland's practice yesterday I shared with coach Park one of the best deals in all of LA -- Diddy Riese's on Broxton here in Westwood. Diddy Riese's is a deal because for $1.25 you get your choice of two cookies and a scoop of the ice cream of your choice sandwiched in between the cookies. Yum-my! So the rumor is that if Maryland wins and play well, the Terps are taking a detour to Diddy Riese's en route to the airport.

Continue reading "P. Diddy Riese" »

C-ya at 100!

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- UCLA is donning new uniforms this year thanks to the UCLA women's water polo team.

Their women's water polo team -- the current national champions in the sport -- captured UCLA's 100th National Championship with their win earlier this year. With the win, UCLA teams are wearing new uniforms that have the 'C' in UCLA being yellow instead of blue like the rest of the letters. Since the C signifies the Roman numeral for 100, it's only fitting.

Boy those Bruins are fashion-forward!

Continue reading "C-ya at 100!" »

Live From Downtown Westwood!

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Forget the age old battle of the tortoise and the hare. Instead today at Pauley Pavilion on UCLA's campus, women's basketball fans are in for a new race - between the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins and the unranked UCLA Bruins.

While this will be the first footrace between these two teams since 1995, here's a look at how each team is coming into today's game.

UCLA (4-0)

Not only do the Bruins come in with the home court advantage, but they are also enjoying having enjoyed not traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday. Add in there three days of practice after getting a day off following a Tuesday night pummeling of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Tuesday night 107-83, the Bruins should be ready to go.

"This team can definitely get up and down the floor," said Olivier. "They love to push the ball down the floor. We have fresh legs in there because we don't have to play people as many minutes as last year. It was nice to see our quickness in the open floor."

UCLA comes into this game with a perfect record having defeated Cal State Northride (84-67), Rice (79-71) and San Luis Obispo, but Maryland will be the first ranked team they face this season.

"Maryland is explosive, athletic and quick so it's a great test for us," said Olivier. "The best thing is that we are at home. I think our freshmen are gamers. They want to play and as much as Maryland has done a great job, our freshmen will love the competition."

Leading the Bruins is their sole senior forward Lindsay Pluimer (team-leading 15.3 ppg), but there are a small army of youngsters on this team that are contributing right away. From 6-foot-1 forward Nina Earl (13.7 ppg) 6-foot-3 to 5-foot-10 freshman guard Doreena Campbell ( 13.3 ppg), this UCLA team is not going to let Maryland's No. 3 ranking intimidate them.

"We are a completely different basketball team than last year," said Olivier. "We execute in different ways and are up-tempo. Lindsay is a vocal leader and the freshmen really respect her."

The secret to these brown bears beating the diamondback turtles today - defense.

"Our defensive improvements are with the transition game," said Olivier. "We have to grasp this and get better with this because it's too easy for teams to get up and down the floor on us. We've worked hard at is as a staff, but still building our foundation because we have so many young ones. If we want to be a good basketball team, we can't let that happen. There are too many easy baskets that way."

"I want to see us compete against the best and if we can do that, it will help us gage, regroup and see where we are. Offensively I think we can do some things, but defensively, can we play with them and stop them? They have a lot of scorers have a strong inside game and very athletic. I think we are the same and have a lot of depth."

No. 3 Maryland (7-0)

Turtles are historically slow and steady, but with the way the Terrapins are moving this season, it will be a fast-moving target that UCLA will be aiming for.

"Yes, absolutely there is a target on us!" said Maryland acting coach Daron Park. "I've been on that side and so I know what the locker room will be like and understand that the game is circled. I think our kids do too. If they don't, last night was a good starting point to understand that. It is fun now to walk in the other footsteps and almost feel more pressure because when you are on the other side, you have nothing to lose and you are at home so you can go out, play as hard as you can and see where the ball bounces. We fly out here to protect our image and what we've worked so hard to establish. Is it smart, I don't know, but we'll see."

Park is filling in for coach Brenda Frese who was not allowed to make the trip due to her pregnancy. Yet even though she is not in attendance, her players don't want to go home to her with a disappointing performance.

"It's an adjustment not to have her energy and presence on the sideline, but we knew this day was coming," said
Maryland 6-foot-1 junior guard/forward Marissa Coleman. "We had a week of practice without her, so we have been gradually getting used to it. Coach Park is doing a great job so we are in good hands."

Maryland also comes in with a perfect record after having beat Princeton (76-52), No. 6 Oklahoma (76-66), Delaware (91-43, No. 23/25 Notre Dame 75-59, No. 4 LSU (75-62), Loyola (98-50) and edging out UC Santa Barbara (75-71).

"The breakdowns that we had mostly in the first half were them getting to the rim on us, giving up middle penetration and their actions that we knew they were going to run, had a plan to defend it and not once did we execute it the right way," said Park on their win at Santa Barbara. "It seemed like every time we did something wrong, they capitalized on it. We did enough, but definitely escaped."

On the court the Terps are also in good hands with Coleman (who is coming off her first-career 30-point game, becoming the 16th player in school history to score at least 30 points in a game), seniors Laura Harper and Jade Perry, and junior Kristi Toliver have each posted three double-double games so far this season. Leading the Terps on the boards is senior Jade Perry ( 8.1 rpg)

Yet with anything being possible during game time, the Terrapins will have to stay focused on holding onto their ranking.

"Just continuing to worry about the things that make us tick," said Park. "We are trying very hard to play a complete basketball game so we spend a lot of time to make us better. That's not taking away anything from our opponents, but if we take care of the things that we need to take care of, we are hoping it doesn't matter who we are playing."

"Defending their actions will be key, their guards are very good and they are good off the dribble, so we are going to have to do a good job of containing them. We are also going to have to defend their size. They are as big of team as we are going to see all year, so there are a lot of things that we are going to have to do to be successful."

Stay tuned, we are less than 30 minutes away from tip-off!

November 18, 2007

Toliver and No. 3 Terps take down LSU

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -Last year the Maryland Terrapins women's basketball team could not come through in the big game. They lost to rivals North Carolina and Duke twice each, and failed to make any noise in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Ole Miss in the second round.

This season is already different story.

A week after defeating then-No. 6 Oklahoma, the No. 3 Terps (5-0) earned another definitive early-season win, pummeling the No. 4 LSU Lady Tigers 75-63, en route to capturing the Pre-Season WNIT championship at Comcast Center.

"Just a special win for us," Terrapins head coach Brenda Frese said. "We talked about having twice as much fun, and I thought we worked twice as hard in this game. I'm just so proud of the champions we have in this locker room."

Maryland junior point guard Kristi Toliver scored 23 points, dished out seven assists, and garnered tournament MVP honors. She scored 25 points Friday night in a win against Notre Dame which got the Terps to the championship game.

"I thought I was in a WNBA game for a while, the way [Toliver] just kept pulling up and making shots," said LSU head coach Van Chancellor, who won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets. "I'm really impressed with her."

The Terrapins were without the services of All-American center Crystal Langhorne, but senior Jade Perry picked up the slack and gave fits to LSU's own All- American, Sylvia Fowles. After the game Frese called Perry "the strongest player in the country."

While Fowles scored her typical 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, she struggled to take over the game much to do with the way Perry battled her.

"It's just something different about their post players, putting the ball on the floor, finishing around the bucket or even stepping out from the block," Fowles said. "That's something I had to go up against tonight that was kind of different."

LSU stuck with the Terps throughout the first half, entering the locker room facing just a two-point deficit. The Lady Tigers gained the lead early in the second half, but a 16-1 Terrapin run created some separation. The Terps cruised through most of the second half with a double-digit lead, thanks in part to forward Laura Harper's 14 points after the break.

LSU was a bit out of their element all game. The Lady Tigers usually focus on getting the ball inside and scoring from the post, but instead, they jacked up 25 three-point field goals. Guard Quianna Chaney hit four of them, but took 12 attempts, and shot the ball a total of 22 times to score her 23 points.

Chancellor took the blame for the questionable style of play his team exhibited.

"I promise you this much, you put this one in the bank, we're going to get a lot better," Chancellor said. "LSU right now is poorly, poorly coached."

The veteran coach also had his own predictions about Maryland.

"This team is capable of winning a national championship or playing for one if they keep playing like this," he said. "They were pretty good today."

Meanwhile, LSU has a lot of work to do if it wants to reach its fifth straight Final Four.

They were exposed by Maryland and the talented point guard Toliver whose coach called her "Agent Two-zero" after the game, referencing Toliver's number 20 jersey and her similarity of play to Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas.

"So far we've been pretty consistent," Toliver said. "The only team that can beat us is ourselves, and we're just going out there and playing hard every game."

Final From College Park

Maryland Terrapins- 75

LSU Lady Tigers- 62

Terps improve to 5-0, while Tigers are now 3-1.

More on this game later.


Preseason WNIT All Tournament Team:

Charel Allen (ND)
Allyssa DeHaan (MSU)
Sylvia Fowles (LSU)
Quianna Chaney (LSU)
Jade Perry (MD)
MVP: Kristi Toliver (MD)

That Kind of Day

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Kristi Toliver just took a deep jump shot that bounced up off the rim, rolled around, and in. She leads the Terps with 21 now. Maryland is ahead of LSU 73-59 with under 3 minutes remaining.

Tigers in Trouble???

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -Sylvia Fowles just hit a jump shot to stop what was a 16-1 Maryland run. LSU took the lead right after intermission, but the Terps spent no time in getting it back. Right now, they are clicking on all cylinders.

Terps up 13 points.

Too much Excitement

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -Marissa Coleman hit a lay-up while getting fouled, and let her excitement get the best of her. Coleman started yelling, then bumped into a group of LSU players, earning her a technical foul.

Tigers guard Erica White made the second of two free-throws resulting from Coleman's technical.

Coleman hit her free-throw from the initial play.

The Terps lead the Tigers 46-41.

Half-Time Update

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -Maryland head coach Brenda Frese has to be happy about the way her team is playing without Crystal Langhorne.

Going into the half, the Terps lead LSU 34-32

Starting for the injured Langhorne (who did not dress today), was Jade Perry, who chipped in 10 first-half points and grabbed five rebounds.

The Terps have not, however, done a good job of taking care of the basketball. Give credit to LSU's guards for pressuring the Terps into nine turnovers so far.

And on offense for the Lady Tigers, it's all Quianna Chaney (game-high 16 points), who has been anything but gun-shy. Chaney is 6-for-13 from the field including a 4-for-8 mark from beyond the arc. Chaney is getting open looks and not hesitating to take them. She is also the only player on either side to play all 20 minutes.

It will be interesting to see how Frese and LSU coach Van Chancellor adjust at the half.

Toliver Taking Over

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Quick update on the top scorers...

Maryland point guard Kristi Toliver leads the game with 11 points. She also has four rebounds and three assists.

For LSU, Quianna Chaney has 10 points while Sylvia Fowles has 7.

Who's watching?

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A decent crowd showed up at Comcast Center for LSU/Maryland considering the elements. Tickets were put on sale very late due to the nature of the tournament.

Also, it's a Sunday in November and both local NFL teams, the Ravens and the Redskins play this afternoon.
The student section here is almost empty and the rest of the arena is about half-full.

Pre-season WNIT Final Coming up...

COLLEGE PARK, Md- Before the season, when this LSU/Maryland match-up was a possibility, everyone probably looked to the All-American center battle between Crystal Langhorne and Sylvia Fowles.

That one-on-one clash is hardly the story of this game though.

First off, Langhorne is nursing a foot injury and has only played one game so far—scoring just two points against Oklahoma. She is questionable for the game today.

Secondly, even if Langhorne does play, it is unlikely she will be covering Fowles on the defensive end. Expect the 6-foot-4-inch Laura Harper to draw that unenviable task.

The real match-up to watch is between swing players Quianna Chaney of LSU and Marissa Coleman of Maryland--each of whom do a little bit of everything for their respective teams.

The Lady Tigers have not given up more than 54 points yet this season. That will likely change today. Expect a high-scoring affair, because the Terrapins like to run, and LSU should have no problem keeping up.

It may be the finals of the preseason WNIT, but neither of these teams will be showing up in the postseason WNIT. Each has its own realistic goal of reaching the Final Four. LSU has done it four straight years, while Maryland is trying to build a legacy of its own.

November 11, 2007

Sooners can't catch Terrapins

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - For the first few minutes of Maryland's showdown with Oklahoma, it looked like the women's basketball fans here were in for a great game.

But the only ones feeling good when it was over were the Terrapins. No. 4 Maryland went on a 30-9 run over the final four minutes of first half and never looked back on the way to a 76-66 win against the sixth-ranked Sooners.

Continue reading "Sooners can't catch Terrapins" »

Not much doing here

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Things have taken a turn for the mundane here, as Maryland has maintained it's 20-point lead without too much exciting action to speak of. The Terps are slowing things down a bit, just trying to milk some clock, it would appear.

Continue reading "Not much doing here" »

Good news, bad news for OU

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- At the 16:25 mark of the second half, Courtney Paris finally snagged her seventh rebound of the game to become OU's all-time leader in career boards.

Continue reading "Good news, bad news for OU" »

Terps up big at halftime

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Even though this game features some higher-ranked teams than the afternoon's first contest here at the Smith Center, it's not quite as competitive at halftime.

Continue reading "Terps up big at halftime" »

Now back to your originally scheduled Paris sister

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Sure, school records are impressive. Athletes spend their four years contributing -- a little at first, then more and more -- until their enshrined in the record books. Of course, that is just what usually happens. If you're Courtney Paris, it's a bit different.

Continue reading "Now back to your originally scheduled Paris sister" »

The other Paris

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- While all the hype is about Courtney Paris for Oklahoma, she's still got a goose egg in the box score so far in this game. Her twin sister, Ashley, however, has seven of the Sooners' first 10 points. This one is tight nearly eight minutes in, with the Sooners leading 13-12.

Frontline showdown in second game

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Not only does the second game of the State Farm Tip-Off Classic feature two of the top six teams in the nation, it also has one great individual matchup: Maryland's Crystal Langhorne against Oklahoma's Courtney Paris.

Continue reading "Frontline showdown in second game" »