DAN STEINBERG WASHINGTONPOST.COM/D.C. SPORTS BOG

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Emery Wallace, whose career has been curtailed by knee problems, borrowed from Mike Tyson to motivate the Terps.
Emery Wallace, whose career has been curtailed by knee problems, borrowed from Mike Tyson to motivate the Terps. (By Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I don't know of many men's basketball teams that have lucky black fingernail polish, the way a few of the Maryland women do. (For the record, as someone who once regularly painted his fingernails black, I approve.) And I don't think I've ever seen a Lord & Taylor bag in a men's locker room.

But don't call the Terps women soft. Because they have the most ruthless slogan I've ever heard, in any sport, at any level.

Sure, when they're breaking huddles on the floor, they say normal things like "Defense!" and "Intensity!" But in the locker room?

"We say, Eat Kids!" Anjalé Barrett told me matter-of-factly.

Bet you never heard a John Wooden adage about that one.

Here's how it happened. Back in the fall, the Terps had weekly rehearsals for their Midnight Madness dance routine. To keep the intensity up, sophomore forward Emery Wallace began shouting out motivational slogans. Then she remembered a Mike Tyson quote.

"What'd he say?" she asked me. "Something about eating kids."

And a motto was born.

"She's not stable," star forward Marissa Coleman pointed out.

Somehow, that slogan became a fixture during the dance rehearsals. Then it moved inside the locker room. The players started writing it on the white board before games, underneath the three keys provided by the coaching staff. They began putting their fists together and shouting it before leaving the room. They'd return to the message at halftime, with Wallace tailoring her exact advice based on the first-half performance.

"She'll be like, 'We're halfway through the kids' body now, keep going,' " Yemi Oyefuwa explained. "You already had the head, you already had the hair."

"I've heard her say, 'Get to the feet,' " Marah Strickland noted.


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