The Department of Eye Candy insisted we pass along this exceptional photo of Maryland guard Marissa Coleman, known in Roxie's World as Shoulders, for reasons this picture makes obvious, in action late Friday night against UC Santa Barbara. Shoulders scored a career-high 30 points and saved the game for the turkey-stuffed Terrapins, who opened up an early lead but found themselves down by 3 points in the second half to a team they had beaten by 61 points last year. You read that right: 61 points! Coach Brenda Frese, who is pregnant with twins, didn't make the trip to Santa Barbara on the advice of her doctor. (Report on the game is here.) The Terps kept their composure in the last few minutes, though, and won the game on free throws and without the help of forward Crystal Langhorne, who is still out with a sprained ankle.
Here are some early-season predictions from Roxie's World: The Mighty Women of Maryland have shaken off the doubts that plagued them last season, as they tried to figure out what to do after winning a national championship as a young team. They are having a blast on the court, and they will go far this year, even if they have to deliver Coach B's twins themselves at mid-court during a time out in the middle of an ACC tournament game. (Frese is due in early March.) Shoulders will be the strong, calm leader of the team, even after Langhorne returns and re-asserts her dominance under the basket. When that happens, these women will be unbeatable. Oh, wait -- With a 7-0 record, it appears they already are unbeatable!
Pull the red tee-shirts out of the drawers, kids -- It's college basketball season. Roxie's World will root first and always for the Lady and non-Lady Terps of Maryland, but we'll keep an eye on the Scarlet Women of Rutgers as well to see what coach C. Vivian Stringer and captain Essence Carson will do this year after their amazing journey to the championship game last year (and the bizarre Don Imus debacle that followed it). Oh, and if you're looking for another reason to be thrilled that the Maryland women beat LSU last weekend, look at the way the hiring of Van Chancellor to replace Pokey Chatman, who resigned in the wake of allegations of "improper sexual relationships with former players," is being presented by LSU:
Chancellor’s credentials aside, the hiring of a man added to growing concerns among some administrators over the declining number of women in college coaching. On the other hand, the hiring of a man allowed L.S.U. to avoid and eliminate the stereotype of lesbian coaches as sexual predators.(That's from a New York Times story on LSU's post-Pokey re-building. Emphasis added to indicate places in the story that made us put our paws on our head and cry.)
The Lady Tigers have signed seven high school recruits and a junior college player for the 2008-9 season, a group generally rated among the nation’s top three recruiting classes.
“We didn’t dwell on the past,” Chancellor said of recruiting. “We told them what my wife and I stood for, that we believe in equal opportunity and a great education and that you could come here and feel comfortable.”
Um, okay, I suppose it's a safe bet that if you hire a man to coach a women's basketball team he won't be a lesbian sexual predator. Maybe he'll just be the more typical HETEROSEXUAL MALE sexual predator. Probably not, though, with that WIFE right next to him to certify what he stands for. We all know what a reliable barometer of sexual probity that is, don't we?
Eight months after her resignation, Roxie's World is still waiting to hear Pokey Chatman's side of the LSU story. The Times notes that Chatman reached a $160,000 settlement with LSU and is currently serving as an assistant coach for a professional team in Moscow. Carla Berry, the assistant coach who made the accusations against Chatman, has since left coaching.
Hold 'em high, Shoulders. We need your pride, your strength, and your incredible muscle definition. And LSU needs to pause and consider whether it can compete at the highest level if its communication strategy makes lesbian athletes and coaches feel they are not welcome in the program.