Exhibition A. We've been spoiled. When you go 3 years with your favorite team returning at least 4 of its starters, you forget why teams need a couple of exhibition games to get ready for the games that count. We were reminded why this afternoon. It takes time, practice -- and games like today's -- to integrate new players and work out some kinks.
Five players who never played a minute for the Terps last season played significant minutes in Maryland's 83-72 exhibition win over Team DT III. Two of the 5 were true freshmen (post players Lynetta Kizer and Yemi Oyefuwa), 1 was a JUCO transfer, Dee Liles, and 2 were players who redshirted last year due to injuries (senior Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood and freshman Anjale Barrett).
The result of all that newness was an uneven effort rife with mistakes and missed opportunities . . . but also with flashes of young talent, real athleticism and plenty of potential.
Not surprisingly, the Terps' senior starters, Marissa Coleman (18 pts) and Kristi Toliver (17 pts, 7 assists), led their less-experienced teammates today. And freshman Lynetta Kizer, making her first start, showed why she was a High School All American. Lynetta finished with a double-double, 13 pts and 12 rebounds.
It was only the first exhibition, the Terps are clearly a work in progress, and we're glad (and they probably are too) that they have another exhibition game, this Friday night against Team Evolution, before anyone starts keeping score for real.
Still and all, after spending this summer in a vortex of doom at the Verizon Center, the BasketCases felt great being back at Comcast. And an added bonus today was getting to see former Terp players Crystal Washington and Kalika France on the court for DT III.