“Confidence can accomplish anything.” That’s what Maryland’s ecstatic coach Brenda Frese told a reporter at the end of one of the greatest games in women’s college basketball history. The Terrapins weren’t supposed to win the NCAA women’s championship. But they played so fearlessly, and with such confidence, overtaking powerhouse Duke by 78-75 in overtime, that it made you believe anything was possible.
My 14 year old daughter, Nika, who lives, breathes and plays b-ball–she’s a shooting guard on her high school varsity team, for the Douglass Panthers’ team in the NY Housing Authority League, and is starting to play in AAU tournaments around the state–sat without moving during the entire game, mesmerized by Maryland’s freshman point guard Kristi Toliver, whose clutch basket took the “Terps” into overtime with just a few seconds to spare.
After too many desultory Knicks games, and a near-blowout men’s NCAA final Monday night, this was one shining moment for b-ball and women’s sport. As Maryland freshman Stephani Buckland told the Washington Post on the eve of the game, punching her fist into the air: “Power to women. For so long no one here cared about women’s basketball. All of a sudden, the women are the best. We do rock!”