Tonight, sadly, the regular season curtain falls at Comcast on an extraordinary four-year performance: the Maryland Women's Basketball Class of 2009, the winningest class in school history, the class that helped bring Maryland its first National Championship.
Those of us who have had the very great privilege -- and enormous pleasure and fun -- of watching Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman since they stepped onto the court in the fall of 2005 will never, ever forget the experience. And while it's clear from our glimpse of the next generation of Terps this year that there will be plenty of great Maryland basketball in the seasons to follow, the excitement of that first Natty can never be repeated. The first time is always a special time, and Kristi and Marissa are just simply special . . . period. Their careers and their extraordinary success as Terps have been so intertwined that it's fitting that they will be jointly honored tonight by the raising of their jersey numbers into the rafters, to hang alongside those of their Championship teammates, Shay, Crystal, and Laura. We cannot thank each of them enough for giving us, Terps fans, so much joy over the past four years. We can't believe (or, to be truthful, don't want to believe) that it's almost time to say goodbye to the final two members of that amazing team.
But before the tears begin, there's still basketball to be played. The Boston College Eagles are no parakeets. They played the Terps tough up in Chestnut Hill on February 9th, and Maryland barely escaped with a 4-point victory. BC's two bigs, 6'4" Stefanie Murphy and 6'6" Carolyn Swords, are an imposing frontcourt, and Lynetta Kizer and Dee Liles will have their work cut out for them. And undoubtedly, as was the case on the 9th, it will take another strong performance from our seniors if Kristi and Marissa are to close out their Comcast Center careers with a win and keep Maryland's impressive home win-streak intact.
See you at 7 PM. Bring signs. Prepare to BE LOUD. And don't forget the kleenex!