Terps women surprisingly lackluster in loss to Duke


This was Duke vs. Maryland, so you knew it wouldn't be a love-fest.

This was the No. 5 Blue Devils against the No. 8 Terps, a heavyweight matchup in women's college hoops, and there were all these subplots at work about revenge, Twitter dissing and which program deserves top-dog status.

Plus, the game was on national TV, meaning the two teams would work out their various issues — or not — in front of millions of viewers.

Well, Maryland didn't, that's for sure.

Instead, the Terps came out flat, shot the ball poorly and were pushed around in the paint all game long in a 75-59 loss to the Blue Devils in front of a huge crowd of 15,853 at Comcast Center.

"Tough night for us," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "Credit Duke. They came in here ready to play, shot extremely well and their physicality was hard to match."

What made the Terps' let-down so baffling was that they had talked all week about how badly they wanted this one, especially after being blown out by Duke, 71-56, two weeks ago at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Oh, that had been another sunny meeting between the two rivals, a game that resulted in Frese losing her cool and picking up the first ejection of her career for complaining about the officiating.

There had also been major grumbling by Terps players this week about tweets from Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie during the Maryland-Duke men's game that seemed to take shots at the rest of the ACC, including UM.

"What would all these venues do without Duke basketball?" went one gem from McCallie. "Sell fewer tickets, have less to dream about &just melt away into oblivion. Go Duke."

That one was quickly deleted, apparently on the grounds that it would give Duke opponents bulletin-board fodder for the next 100 years.

But McCallie is no shrinking violet. Her next tweet was equally understated:

"Top dog vs. underdog. Take the top dog status any day. Got to bring home a national title or a few to truly be a top dog. It's concrete. #Real."

All of it, the revenge factor and the Twitter blasts, had some experts convinced there was no way the Terps would allow themselves to lose this re-match.

There was also this: Duke was playing without its All-American point guard and best player, Chelsea Gray, who is out for the season with a dislocated kneecap.

Obviously, this was no small loss for the Blue Devils. Gray was averaging 13.1 points and leading the ACC in assists and steals while ranking in the top 10 nationally as well.

The junior was also a leading candidate, along with Maryland's sublime junior forward, Alyssa Thomas, to win ACC Player of the Year.

But when McCallie was asked after the game if her team had proved a lot of the experts wrong with this win, she dropped her Twitter persona and took the high road — sort of.

"We don't think like that," McCallie said. "We're just trying to get better. We're just trying to grow as a team. We had an All-American point guard out for the season, which has never happened in the history of the ACC. Matter of fact, I don't think it's happened nationally.

"... You can imagine how teams would feel if they lost their very best player. … [But] we just try to grow and get better. We don't pay attention to other people's thoughts."