Maryland basketball fans will remember Marissa "Shoulders" Coleman and Kristi Toliver this way:
Not this way.
We love you. We are proud of you. We will never forget the skill and determination you brought to the game and the glory you brought to your school.
For now, that is all that matters and all we can say. Peace out.
A.M. Update: Here come the obits, the tributes, and the faint whiffs of off-court intrigue.
- Camille Powell recaps the game here. Coach B acknowledges both the heartbreak and the tremendous accomplishment of Coleman and Toliver:
"It's always tough to have that moment, for seniors, for their careers to end. Especially two seniors like these two," said Coach Brenda Frese, who embraced each player as she left the court. "What they've meant to our team, what they've meant to our program -- you hate for it to end like this. I want to remember all the good times, all the wins. Remember the position they put us in."
- Rick Maese, having doomed Coleman to failure by imagining her in Icarian terms of flight after Saturday's astonishing performance, lets Shoulders and Coleman speak for themselves as they grapple with the raw emotions of a huge defeat. Get out your hankies, and read it here.
- Mike Wise puts himself inside Toliver's head as she tries to find her shot and rhythm in the game, which, because of Louisville's very effective defense, was difficult to do. Read it here. As good as Wise's emotional reconstruction is, the eyebrow-raiser in his column is the suggestion that there is bad blood between Coach B and her former assistant, Louisville head coach, Jeff Walz. The two no longer speak, according to Wise, which makes a moment we noted at the conclusion of the game even more noteworthy. As time expired, the teams went through the traditional line of handshakes and acknowledgment, but Toliver and Coleman stayed on the Maryland bench, too disconsolate to participate in the ritual. At that moment when cameras were focused on the devastated stars, Walz, engineer of their disappointment, went over to each of them, got down on his knees, and put his arms around them. Moose thought there was something jarring about it at the time. It seemed disingenuous of him to take on the role of comforting them for a loss he and his team would be boasting about in a matter of seconds. Word of friction between Walz and Frese makes the gesture even harder to take. If Walz sincerely wished to express sympathy to Coleman and Toliver or admiration for their brilliant careers, he should have done so out of the limelight and only after Coleman and Toliver had had a chance to compose themselves. To insert himself into that moment was to take on a role that rightly belonged to his old boss and, apparently, his new foe. He beat her team, handily. He didn't need to try to usurp her role.