Maryland Women Loosen Up
RALEIGH, N.C.—All is (relatively) quiet inside the RBC Center this afternoon, where approximately 40 fans are watching the Maryland women practice in advance of Saturday's NCAA South Region semifinal against Vanderbilt.
But an hour before practice, there were screams and shouts coming from the Terrapins' locker room. They were locked in a hard-fought battle of Pictionary, the "Good Guys" versus the "Bad Guys." Lynetta Kizer, Dee Liles, Anjale Barrett, Kim Rodgers and Marissa Coleman were part of the "Bad Guys," along with a team manager and trainer.
"The bad guys are winning," Kizer said with a smile. "Team bonding, pretty much. Lot of laughs, good competition. Yemi [Oyefuwa] is really good, but so far every [clue] that Anji has drawn up, we've gotten."
Seniors Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman have often drawn comparisons between this team and the one that they played on as freshmen. That group—which won the NCAA title in 2006—was young and loose, and played as if it had nothing to lose. The group that was upset a year later in the second round of the tournament, however, was too serious and played too tight.
"Especially come tournament time, we like to keep things loose and free," Toliver said. "We've got a lot of time on our hands; they keep us in the locker room for about four hours before we can go on the practice floor. This team has always had fun with one another, just like our freshman year. That's where this tradition started, playing these games. Our chemistry off the floor is why we have such good chemistry on the floor. I'm happy that this team has so many similarities as our one from freshman year."
Just as they did during their open practice in College Park, the Terrapins closed practice with a game of knockout from the top of the arc. A handful of players didn't participate; when Coleman was asked why she wasn't playing, she responded, "I'm not trying to get knocked out of the tournament, so…" Coach Brenda Frese eliminated Toliver, Kizer and Drey Mingo (who won last week's contest). Barrett, who is shooting 50 percent from three-point range on the season, won. Barrett then officially ended practice by sinking a running halfcourt shot.
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