Reporting Mark Viviano
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ)—College basketball’s March Madness includes an all-Maryland match-up in the women’s tournament.
Sports director Mark Viviano has the latest on the Terps and Navy– set to meet in the first round.
Annapolis and College Park are less than 30 miles apart. But Navy and Maryland have never faced one another in women’s basketball. They will meet on the Terps’ home court in the Comcast Center on Saturday.
The Terps’ NCAA assignment was unveiled at the bracket announcement on Monday.
The University of Maryland is a powerhouse: a No. 2 seed in the region, a threat to win a national championship and heavily favored to beat Navy.
“This is an opportunity now to be able to play a team that’s so close to our home. They’ve had a tremendous year just winning their championship as well, so we’re looking forward to being able to play Navy. I’m sure their fans will travel being in the region,” said Brenda Frese, Maryland coach.
At the Naval Academy, the Midshipmen begin preparations as the ultimate underdog when they face the Terps.
Navy is the two-time Patriot League champ. But they know they’re in for a whole new ball game when they face Maryland.
“We were watching them. I did notice their inside presence. I got a little nervous and excited,” said Jade Geif, Navy sophomore.
“I think our mindset is going to be super important too and our preparation. Just go in there with a not-going-to-lose attitude,” said Stefanie Pemper, Navy coach.
The Terps’ attitude is that they’re in the tournament to win a national title like they did six years ago. But Maryland’s focus is on Navy first.
“I think you have to take one game at a time. Our major goal is to make it into the Final Four, but you can’t overlook our opponents,” said Tianna Hawkins, Maryland junior.
“We’re excited for the tournament to start being that we’re hosting and get to play in front our crowd, so it should be pretty good,” said Alyssa Thomas, Maryland sophomore.
“There’s no place like home,” Hawkins said.
Home court in College Park is an advantage for Maryland. But they remember the NCAA tourney a year ago when they lost on their home floor to Georgetown.