U-Md. Team's Victory Prompts Uproar by Fans

By Joshua Partlow and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Students and other fans set fires, threw bottles and tried to tip over a bus late last night after the University of Maryland's championship basketball game, but the rowdiness fell short of previous disorders.

In the minutes immediately after the women's basketball team's victory in Boston, a woman was seriously injured when she was knocked onto Route 1 in College Park by a vehicle trying to move through a crowd near the campus, a Prince George's County fire department spokesman said.

There were no reports of arrests or other injuries. Police in riot gear, carrying batons and shields, steadily pushed the crowds back from Route 1, which has been the focus of disturbances sparked by athletic contests in the past. Within an hour after the end of the game, it appeared that relative calm was returning to the campus.

"When we asked them to disperse, they basically dispersed," said a Prince George's police lieutenant.

The postgame rowdiness focused on the intersection of Route1 and Knox Road, which was jammed with people for as much as a block in every direction, witnesses said.

Police began marching down Route 1 beating their batons on their shields to drive the students off the street and onto campus, witnesses said. Police used a limited amount of what appeared to be a chemical spray, witnesses also said.

"This is my craziest riot," said a woman who identified herself as Shelley Avney. "Trying to knock over a bus, tearing down street signs, burning things -- it's crazy."

Shea Hoxie, 21, a senior majoring in government and politics and criminology, said: "I was disappointed we didn't flip over the bus. We rioted for the women's basketball team, which is out of character for us. We needed something to cheer for."

Armon Emdad, 19, said he was opposed to the idea of disorder. "It doesn't make sense to destroy your own campus," he said. But he told a reporter he intended to join last night's crowd anyway.

Staff writers Clarence Williams and Alex Baldinger contributed to this report.

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