When you watch men's basketball one night and women's basketball the next, it is a completely different game. Not in the way that men's basketball goes by in halves and women's goes by in quarters. No, it's a different atmosphere, a different feeling and a completely different game.
Coming from the men's win over the Mount, I was ready to see the women's team in action. From what I saw in their exhibition matches, I knew it would be a high scoring affair, but I wasn't sure how it would play out, sine this was now a legitimate season game against a tough team.
Well, it was just as amazing as their exhibition games. And, people, I will say this: The women's basketball team has some of the nicest, most talented girls in the nation, and they are truly the definition of teamwork and love. Every girl loves and cares for each other, and it's evident on and off the court.
First off, there is no one the team cares about more than their youngest player, Ashlyn Barrett, a five-year-old girl who is part of the Terrapins thanks to the help of "Team IMPACT," which matches young children suffering from life-threatening illnesses with schools around the country. Not only are the girls changing Barrett's life, but Barrett is changing theirs. These girls are always talking with the youngster and are always bonding with her, so much that freshman Kiah Gillespie got sidetracked from the drill while talking to Barrett.
Before the game, last season's Final Four banner was revealed, and it was a beautiful moment to see. Every team player, even the girls new to the team this year, could not have been smiling wider, and each and every one of them was so proud, along with Head Coach Brenda Frese. After that, the girls got their rings, and then, saying goodbye to the past ceremoniously, they were ready to play.
As the game went on, the girls played with so much speed, but also, with smiles on their faces, laughs and jokes. This team can perfectly balance work and play so much that they are able to joke around and have fun while completely dominating the other team.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough gave the best performance by far, but I have to give a shoutout to Brene Moseley. Brene, your half-court buzzer beater attempt after the end of the first quarter ended up coming right for me and smacking straight into my right thigh. Let me tell you this: That was a stinger, one that hurt for the next 20 minutes following (no joke), and you have an amazingly powerful shot. Seriously, she is one to watch this season, because she throws and plays with force.
The girls had 58 points by the end of the first half, and then piled it on all day. All the while, the jokes, laughs and smiles kept coming. My favorite moment of the game was when Gillespie was up for free throws after being fouled. However, play was stopped, because a Maryland player had to tie her shoe.
The players were laughing on the bench, because it was taking forever and play had been stopped for around 30 seconds already. It was funny.
"That's right, tie your shoes nice and tight," Brionna Jones called from the bench. "Yes, and don't forget to double knot!"
Jones and I share a sense of humor.