Maryland Terrapins Women's Basketball Team Is Thinking Big
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Maryland women's basketball team has garnered its usual lofty preseason expectations. The Terrapins are ranked in the top five nationally in several preseason publications. They have been picked to finish second in the ACC, one of the country's best conferences, and three of their players earned preseason all-ACC honors: senior guard Kristi Toliver (player of the year), freshman center Lynetta Kizer (rookie of the year) and senior guard-forward Marissa Coleman (all-conference).
But the Terrapins, who are trying to improve on last season's 33-4 record and NCAA tournament region final appearance, feel that they might be flying a bit under the radar.
"I think people know we're a talented team, but I don't think people know how talented we are," Toliver said yesterday at the team's media day. "I think last year we were extremely intimidating with our post presence and with Marissa and I, having all that veteran leadership and ability. This year, there's kind of a question mark, and I think that's exciting for us. I think we like to play with a little chip on our shoulder."
Seven of Maryland's players are in either their first or second season with the program. Instead of relying on a pair of WNBA first-round picks -- Crystal Langhorne, the program's career leading scorer and rebounder, and Laura Harper, the most outstanding player of the 2006 Final Four -- on the inside, Maryland will turn to Kizer, a high school all-American out of Potomac (Va.), and junior Demauria Liles, last season's national junior college player of the year.
"I think with the youth, this team really reminds me of the team we had my freshman year," said Toliver, who helped lead Maryland to the national title during that season (2005-06). "We played like we had nothing to lose."
"Our freshman year, Kristi and I came in thinking we could take over the world. That's just the kind of confidence that we had. That's how we played on the court," Coleman said. "I think that's the confidence that a lot of our younger players have this year."
Terrapins Note: Coach Brenda Frese said sophomore forward Emery Wallace will not play after enduring numerous knee surgeries over the past couple of years, though she will remain a part of the team. Wallace appeared in 12 games last season.