Brick back for Maryland with competition at point

Standout guard returns after season lost to injury

could share backcourt role

College Basketball

October 18, 2001|By Tommy Ventre | By Tommy Ventre,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Vicki Brick had been waiting a long time for this. A little more than a year, to be precise.

Twelve months after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in a pickup game at Cole Field House and redshirting her sophomore season at the University of Maryland, the former Baltimore All-Metro point guard from McDonogh is returning to the Terrapins, who open practice this week.

"It's hard to put into words how excited I am to be on the floor," Brick said at yesterday's women's basketball media day for a team hoping to build on last season's 17-12 mark and NCAA tournament appearance.

"Sitting on the sideline overcoming my ACL was probably the toughest thing I've had to do emotionally, physically, mentally in my life. I was very psyched for the girls when we got that bid into the tournament ... but a part of me was sad just for the fact that I couldn't be there and truly experience it with them on the floor."

Brick, an All-ACC freshman pick two years ago, is healthy and ready to help a team that many expect to do big things this season. Three publications rank the Terps 18th to 20th in the nation in preseason polls, and coach Chris Weller said her team is ready to justify the hype.

"I can tell they have a lot of confidence," Weller said. "Our first day of practice was the most competitive our practices have looked in 10 years, and I'm not exaggerating. People are talking about us on the national level again. We're looking forward to big things."

Brick and sophomore Kiki Wimbush, an All-ACC freshman selection last season while spelling the injured Timonium native, will battle to start at point guard, and Weller hasn't ruled out having both on the court at the same time.

Both will be pushed by Anesia Smith, a 5-foot-10 freshman guard from Alexandria, Va., who Weller says can make an immediate impact.

Eleven of 12 letter winners - including all five starters - from last season's squad return. Senior guard MarchM-i Strickland and senior forward Deedee Warley both averaged almost 14 points a game last season and are early candidates for All-ACC honors.

"I think the biggest thing is the experience level," Brick said. "In the past, we've been such a young team with so many freshmen and sophomores. Now, for once, we have five seniors and [three] juniors. We have that edge there. We've been to the tournament. We know what it feels like to win big games. We have that belief in ourselves. ... We're setting no limitations."

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