Amazing! Maryland opened its regular season at home on November 9th (against the Princeton Tigers . . . remember them?) and today, February 24th, the Terps played their last home game of the regular season, an overtime victory over Florida State, 92-84.
All that time in between . . . they never lost at home. We repeat: they never lost at home. Amazing. On any given day, one team's shots just seem to fall, while another's don't. Or one team gets some lucky bounces or friendly calls, while another doesn't. A perfect home-run is an amazing feat. And that's exactly what this team accomplished today, treating their local fans to 19 consecutive victories.
And while the ACC season is always a battle, this year's non-conference home schedule was amazing in and of itself. Maryland was a terrible host this season . . . they invited ranked opponents like LSU, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Pitt (not to mention Duke, the Cavs and others) into their house and sent them home unhappy. They played and beat an amazing list of notable opponents and still finished the home schedule without a blemish.
Of course, they could not have accomplished what they did without the contributions of the senior leadership in this season's line-up: Crystal Langhorne, Laura Harper, Jade Perry, Ashleigh Newman (plus support from injured transfer Christie Marrone). As Crystal told the crowd, she chose Maryland at a time when Maryland's program wasn't "cool." But now, just four years later, thanks to those amazing young women (and their coaches and teammates), Maryland is looked up to, not only for its NCAA Championship, but because it is one of the "coolest" programs in the nation.
Also thanks to the TV series Under the Shell and the Rebounders' socials, the BasketCases and other fans have been privileged to gain a little "off the court" peek at the players, especially the Seniors, who make up the Terps team. All we can say is that every one has impressed us in some way . . . as mature, as kind, as funny, as sensitive, as caring, as intelligent . . . in many cases, all of the above. As their families walked the Seniors out onto the court before the game, the pride they took in their daughters was obvious and well deserved.
Of course, who better epitomizes the quality (and "cool") of the Terps program than Ms. Amazing herself, Crystal Langhorne. And how very fitting that the University decided to honor her at the conclusion of today's game in front of a crowd of more 16,000 fans by raising her #1 into Comcast's rafters, the first player so honored prior to graduation!
Perhaps it was also fitting that today's game was won in overtime . . . a little reminder for all of us of that overtime-rich season that concluded with Lang, Harp, Jade, Ashleigh and the rest of the Terps cutting down the nets in Boston. In her ceremonial remarks, Crystal joked (?) that she and her teammates had planned today's overtime all along . . . we just wish they'd let the fans in on the plan . . . a lot of fingernails might have been saved. But aside from that, we loved hearing Crystal speak from the heart about what this honor meant to her, and especially about how much she credited her coaches, teammates and everyone associated with the Maryland program for her success. She's an amazing young lady and she will be missed. (Thank goodness we'll get to follow her post-collegiate career in the WNBA.)