March magic

March 13, 2007

It's not every day that a pack of Retrievers turns into Cinderella but what has happened to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County women's basketball team is no fairy tale. Few outside of Catonsville (and probably not that many inside either) could have predicted that the Retrievers would make it to the NCAA tournament. After all, this was a squad that ended the regular season with a losing record and was seeded a dismal seventh out of nine teams for the America East conference championship.

But a funny thing happened. The Retrievers just kept winning games in the conference tournament, beating the top three teams, Vermont, Stony Brook and, for the conference title, top-seeded Hartford. It was a 48-46 nail-biter in which the Retrievers failed to score a single point in the final six minutes. No seventh seed in the America East had ever won the title before. It's also the first time the Retrievers have qualified for the Division I tournament.

Amanda Robinson, a junior forward from Lusby who was named the conference tournament's outstanding player, may not be as well-known to Maryland basketball fans as D. J. Strawberry (or most any other member) of the Terps men's team that also made it into the so-called March Madness this week. But what she and her teammates have achieved deserves to go down in state athletic lore nonetheless. Forget the glass slippers and Prince Charmings: The Retrievers work their own brand of magic.

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