For nearly 30 years, the Maryland and Georgetown men's basketball teams have done their best to avoid each other. Without nearly as much attention, the women's teams have met just about as infrequently.
Tuesday's game at McDonough Arena between No. 13 Georgetown and No. 21 Maryland didn't need any extra enlivening, given that it involves two teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 and the proximity of the schools. But the rareness of the Terps' playing the Hoyas — this is the first meeting between the teams since December 2003 and just the third since 1985 — adds an extra bit of spice.
When Maryland first approached Georgetown about scheduling the game, Hoyas coach Terri Williams-Flournoy's initial reaction was to decline.
"I was like, 'No, I don't want to play Maryland,' " she said. "My staff and everybody else, including the administration, said, 'Aww, yeah, that would be a great game.' I'm thinking, 'I know who they signed. I know the freshmen, how good they are. I recruited them. I've seen them.' "
Williams-Flournoy was quickly swayed, and the date was set with an agreement to play at College Park next season.
"We want to play anybody and everybody around here," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "I love these kind of road games 'cause there's no hotel time. You can sleep in your own beds. I just think it's great for the game. I hope we can help Georgetown set an attendance record."
The last time these teams met was nearly seven years ago on the other side of the country. Maryland defeated Georgetown, 66-63, in overtime on Dec. 30, 2003, at the Surf-N-Slam tournament in San Diego. It was the narrowest margin of victory in the series, which the Terps lead 8-0. The other seven games were all decided by at least 10 points.
Both coaches were in high school the last time Maryland played at McDonough Arena. On Jan. 19, 1984, the visitors beat Georgetown, 71-61.
Georgetown, which hasn't lost at home since Feb. 28, 2009, will put its 16-game home winning streak on the line. But Williams-Flournoy says keeping that streak alive isn't the players' top priority going into this game.
"They just want to beat Maryland," Williams-Flournoy said. "It's the school that everybody thinks is so great … and they're so big. It's just like Maryland, Maryland, Maryland. When you go to the store, all you see is Maryland gear. See, I live in Maryland, so you know I get tired of seeing Maryland gear in the store."