Thomas To Wear Marissa Coleman's Number

Freshman Alyssa Thomas is going to be wearing former Terp Marissa Coleman's jersey number.

On Tuesday, November 2nd, as fans take their seats in the Comcast Center for the first women’s basketball home game of the 2010-2011 season against Gallaudet, they will be welcomed back by fond memories and greeted with the promise of new adventures to come. They can still look up in the rafters and see the 2006 national championship banner, the 2009 ACC championship banner, and many retired players’ jerseys. They can still look down on the court and see the familiar faces of juniors Lynetta Kizer, Yemi Oyefuwa, Kim Rodgers, and Anjale Barrett as well as sophomores Dara Taylor, Diandra Tchatchouang, Tianna Hawkins, and Essence Townsend. However, they will also now get their first looks at this year’s top-ranked recruiting class: freshmen Sequoia Austin, Whitney Bays, Natasha Cloud, Alicia DeVaughn, Laurin Mincy, and Alyssa Thomas.

Nevertheless, among this mix of new and old, veteran Maryland fans will likely notice something that seems surprisingly and impossibly familiar: a 6’1’’ player wearing number 25.

For most Maryland fans, this description will bring back memories of 2009 Maryland graduate Marissa Coleman, who also stands at 6’1’’ and wore number 25 in her Maryland days. However, this year’s number 25 is actually freshman Alyssa Thomas.

Thomas acknowledges that Maryland fans will likely make comparisons between herself and Coleman, given that Coleman was arguably one of the most legendary players in the program’s history. Coleman was a starter on the 2006 national championship team, became the only player in school history to record a triple-double, received All-ACC honors, Associated Press All-America honors, State Farm All-America honors, was awarded 2009 ACC tournament MVP, and broke school records in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. “She was a big-time player and Maryland fans definitely loved her, so I definitely have a lot to live up to, wearing this number,” said Thomas.

Maryland fans will soon notice that Thomas has achieved similar success at the high school level; she, too, has proved legendary at her alma mater, Central Dauphin High School, receiving Parade, ESPN, and USA Today All-America honors as well as graduating as her school’s all-time leading scorer.

And besides clearly noticeable linkages between the two players, Coleman’s presence and influence throughout Maryland’s preseason is a notable intangible. Since the end of the WNBA season, Coleman has been participating in some of the strength and conditioning workouts at Comcast Center with Thomas and the rest of the 2010-2011 team. In addition, Coleman, along with other starters from the 2006 national championship team spoke to the 2010-2011 team recently and offered wisdom and shared experiences, according to Thomas.

Role models such as these serve as motivation for the young Terps, and Thomas believes that the whole team is “on the same page” in terms of goals for the upcoming season. “We’re definitely bonding and working really well together, and I think we’re shaping up to have a really good team,” said Thomas.

And although no one player is the same, it would appear that these players share more than just a number, they share an attitude as well. Like Maryland fans came to expect of Marissa Coleman, fans can also expect this year’s number 25, Alyssa Thomas, to do whatever it takes to help her team. “I’m just going to be myself, work hard, and help my teammates,” declared Thomas.

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