After Offseason Work, Fun Starts for Terps
The Maryland women's basketball team reached the NCAA tournament last season, finishing 28-6 with one of the most talented rosters in the nation. But what would have been an impressive year for most teams was somewhat disappointing for the Terrapins, who fell short of defending their 2006 national championship.
Maryland didn't record a victory in four games against ACC rivals Duke and North Carolina. The season ended when the Terrapins fell in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Mississippi, which they had throttled earlier in the season.
But Coach Brenda Frese hopes the memories of last season won't be lost on her team this season, as once again, the Terrapins hope to contend for the national championship.
"This year it's all about having twice as much fun," Frese said yesterday at the Terrapins' media day. "We really feel like we will have twice as much fun just because of the fact that we've worked twice as hard this offseason."
Maryland opens tomorrow with an exhibition against the U.S. national team at Comcast Center.
With last year's shortcomings as the driving force, Frese made several changes, most notably a tougher early-season schedule that she believes will better prepare the Terrapins for ACC competition.
Frese hired new assistant coaches Daron Park and Diane Richardson in the offseason. But most of the players remain the same. Shay Doron, now with the WNBA's New York Liberty, is only starter who did not return. Starters Crystal Langhorne, Marissa Coleman and Laura Harper return after a summer spent competing internationally.
With a nucleus of talent returning, Maryland enters the season No. 1 in the ACC preseason poll and appears in the top five rankings of several preseason publications. And although expectations haven't changed, Langhorne said the Terrapins' outlook has.
"Our preseason this year has been the hardest preseason I've ever been through," Langhorne said. "Just our weightlifting, our conditioning, everything that we've been doing has been a lot more work than last year. Our focus is totally different. We know how hard we're going to have to work."
-- Marc Carig