COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — So much for taking it one game at a time.
Soon after Maryland garnered a fourth seed in the NCAA women’s tournament Monday night, coach Brenda Frese acknowledged that the possibility of facing two-time defending champion Connecticut had already crossed her mind.
It just might happen. If the Terrapins (23-7) and Huskies both win twice in the Philadelphia Region, they will meet in the round of 16.
“I’m excited,” Frese said. “I actually had the thought over the week, kind of randomly in my head, who would we put on (UConn standout) Maya Moore? I’ve already kind of thought through the scenario. You want to play against the best, and if we get to that point, UConn would be a phenomenal opponent for us to play.”
First things first. The 16th-ranked Terrapins open at home Sunday against St. Francis (Pa.), the Northeast Conference champions and winners of five straight.
If Maryland beats the Red Flash (22-11), it will host the winner of the first-round game between fifth-seed Georgetown and No. 12 seed Princeton. Georgetown beat the Terps 53-45 on Nov. 16.
“They got us at their home, but they’ve got to come here with higher stakes,” Maryland junior center Lynetta Kizer said.
The Terrapins have the advantage of playing their first two games at home. Maryland is 10-2 in NCAA tournament games in College Park and went 13-2 at Comcast Center this season.
“I think it’s great for a young team, playing at home,” Frese said.
The Terps do not have a senior on the roster, and only three players have NCAA tournament experience: Kizer and junior guards Anjale Barrett and Kim Rodgers.
A year ago, Maryland played in the WNIT. On Monday, with around 200 fans in attendance in the Comcast Center, the team watched the selection show and erupted with glee upon learning of its seed and opponent.
“It means a lot for us to be back,” Frese said. “Playing last year in the WNIT was great experience for our young team, but there’s nothing better than being in the NCAA tournament. I’m just proud of the hard work we put in, and I’m excited to be in the big dance.”
The players are thrilled, too, even if it means a potential matchup against mighty UConn.
“When we step on the court with UConn, I know everyone will be ready to play,” Kizer said. “I know we’re looking forward to that matchup.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)