Plenty of History in Terps' 2nd Round Game

The Terps last played the Cardinals in the Elite Eight in 2009 in which Louisville won 77-60.

Maryland and Louisville have only played one game against each other before: an Elite Eight game in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. In that one, Louisville ended the Terps' run at a Final Four with a 77-60 victory.

Even though all three of Maryland's current seniors - Lynetta Kizer, Anjale Barrett, and Kim Rodgers - played in that game, the Terrapins have tried to put it behind them and will be focusing on the present tomorrow night, when they take on the No. 7 seed Louisville Cardinals for the second time ever in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“When you have situations of something that's happened to you in the past, we're a prideful team,” said Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese. “But to me this is Maryland vs. Louisville and this is the next opponent that's in our way for us to advance to the next round and that's how we're approaching it.”

Still, the game from three years ago is hard to forget for those that played in it.

“It's in the back of my mind right now,” said Barrett. “But this is a new team; the teams are new at both ends … we're just happy to be playing in the next round, and we just want to get the win for ourselves, and our school."

Yet there is another element of history to tomorrow's match-up. Former Maryland Associate Head Coach Jeff Walz, who was with the Terps in 2006 when they won it all, is now the head coach at Louisville. Frese said she hasn't kept in much contact with Walz because of their busy schedules, but is happy to see his success.

“Any time you have assistant coaches that go on and are successful it speaks volumes,” she said.

Maryland will be looking to avoid ending its season in the second round at Comcast Center for the second year in a row, after falling to Georgetown at this same stage last season.

“Last year we didn't protect our house,” said Alyssa Thomas. “We got blown off the court in front of our own fans, so I know this year there's a different focus and we just want to go out and show people that this is a different team.”

To do so, the Terps will have to beat a talented Louisville team that finished seventh in the Big East and is led by sophomore guard Shoni Schimmel, who averages 14.1 points per game and was a first team All-Big East selection.

“We're looking forward to playing a very good Louisville team,” said Frese. “I think from both of our ends we know each other's philosophies and we even have some of the same play calls, so that makes it fun.”

Maryland is hoping to have shaken off the rust from a rough start to its first round game, after which Frese said her team might have been a little too amped up for. The main culprit, Alyssa Thomas, said she figured out what went wrong.

“I was watching March Madness [Friday night] and getting really excited for our game,” said Thomas. “That's one of the reasons I couldn't sleep. I know now not to watch basketball before I go to sleep. I'm just going to shut it down early.”

The Terps will tip-off against Louisville at 7 p.m. on Monday, and despite being a two seed playing a seven seed, not everyone has Maryland winning. President Obama himself has picked the Cardinals for the upset win in his bracket, yet Frese doesn't seem to mind.

“I was actually thrilled with that because during the season we have had different people tell me that picks are against us, and we've won those games,” she said with a laugh. “We've had to prove ourselves all season, so this isn't any different.”


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