Harford will be well represented in Thursday's "Big Game" involving Maryland - UConn women

Maryland's Brionna Jones, left, defends agains Loyola's Alexis Gray in a game played Dec. 12 at Loyola's Reitz Arena.
Maryland's Brionna Jones, left, defends agains Loyola's Alexis Gray in a game played Dec. 12 at Loyola's Reitz Arena.(Lloyd Fox / The Baltimore Sun)

There are many sporting events - from important NFL games to not so important college football bowl games to plenty of NBA and college basketball games - filling the holiday airwaves.

There are so many games it might be a stretch to call any The Big Game. But Thursday at 6 p.m., UConn comes to College Park to face Maryland in as big of a women's college basketball game as there is outside of the Final Four.


Harford County, especially the Aberdeen and Havre de Grace areas, will be well represented by Brionna Jones, Maryland's best player.

This might be the biggest game in women's college basketball at least until all of the Madness of March that includes countless conference tournaments and the NCAA tournament leading to the crowning a national champion.


Even at that, there won't be many games, even in the national championship tournament as big as this one.

UConn, the all-world women's basketball program, ranked number one in the country, comes to the Xfinity Center to play The Terps. Maryland, ranked third in the country, is one of the few teams to interrupt UConn's streaks of national championships over the past two decades-plus.

Maryland won the national championship in 2006 under Coach Brenda Frese, who is in her 15th year leading the Terps in women's basketball.

How good has UConn been? They've won as many national championships in the last 22 years – 11 – since 1995 when Geno Auriemma led the Huskies to their first national championship, as all the other programs combined.

In addition to Maryland's title in 2006, Tennessee has won five, Baylor has won two and Notre Dame, Purdue and Texas A&M have each won one.

The Terps-Huskies matchup will be televised around the world Thursday on ESPN2, WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.

The matchup can also be heard online through the Maryland Sports Network on 1300 AM in Baltimore and 570 AM in Washington.

How good has Jones, the 6'3" senior who graduated from Aberdeen High School and lives in Havre de Grace, been?

After leading the country in field goal shooting percentage last season by making 66.5 percent of her shots from the floor, Jones is Maryland's leading rebounder and scorer, averaging 17.5 points per game with a total of 210. She also has 114 rebounds for a 9.5 per game average. The next two leading rebounders for the Terps, Kaila Charles with 59 and Brianna Fraser with 57, have combined for 116.

"I'm immensely proud of what Bri has achieved in our program, both on and off the court," Frese said about Jones in her online bio. "She embodies a lot of the best qualities of what it means to be a Maryland Women's Basketball player. It's been incredible watching her grow and I'm going to keep pushing her to get better. She has tremendous hands and is a big time finisher around the basket."

And then there's Stephanie Jones, Brionna's younger sister, a 6'2" Maryland freshman who blew her knee out last January as a senior at Aberdeen High School. In limited playing time, she is seventh on the team in scoring with a 5.2 points per game average. She has scored 62 points.

"The Jones family has been incredible for our program," Frese said about Stephanie Jones in her online bio. "Stephanie is coming along well while rehabbing her repaired ACL. Once she's 100 percent, we know she can provide that same Jones family standard we've enjoyed for four years."


This story has been updated to reflect a correction on the date of the game being Thursday.

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