An Early December Showdown??

By Richard Kent
Updated: December 4, 2007

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Big games like this aren’t supposed to happen this early in December, maybe in March. Monday night, two heavyweights (No. 3 Maryland and No. 4 Rutgers) were fighting it out in at the RAC.

It was the Jimmy V Classic on ESPN. The only game in town. Women’s basketball at its best. Rutgers won 68-60 but it was a much closer game than it seemed.

The Lady Knights were down by 10 in the first half as Maryland looked like it had the game at hand in the second half. But a stifling Rutgers defense would not let that happen. The Lady Terps were only 5-of-23 from the field in the second half and they were all 3′s.

The crowd of over 4,000 was treated to an NCAA game for only 15 bucks. What a bargain. These two teams could very well meet again, but before that Rutgers will have played UConn three times and Tennessee once.

Maryland will have played North Carolina and Duke among others.

Rutgers was led by sophomore Epiphanny Prince with 22 points and an amazing 10 assists. Essence Carson and Matee Ajavon had 15 each. The three of them played almost a full 120 minutes. It wasn’t about depth. It was about ability.

Maryland was led by Marissa Coleman with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

The Lady Knights will play at No. 17 Duke on Thursday. They also have LSU, Tennessee, UConn and George Washington on their schedule. Head coach C. Vivian Stringer wants to earn a no. 1 seed.

She might just do that. Right now the terrain on the women’s front looks like UConn, Tennessee, Rutgers and Maryland are the four best teams. LSU could also challenge as well.

With players like Carson, Ajavon, Coleman and Prince, women’s college basketball is alive and well at Maryland and Rutgers.The irony of the day was that Don Imus made his return on the air.

He apologized profusely to Rutgers for his remarks last spring. They won’t be forgotten. Neither will this Rutgers basketball team. They could dfeinitely win it all in Tampa.