It is unlikely that there is a better sporting event value in the D.C. metro area than the annual Maryland - Duke women's basketball game. Maryland's hatred for Duke often manifests itself in ugly and troubling ways, which is one of the principal reasons that it is difficult to fully become a fan of the Terrapins athletics program. But the women's basketball match is where it actually seems like there might be a respectful rivalry between the two schools.
Tonight, we sat behind a family of Duke fans fully decked out in Blue Devils gear. While they enjoyed the first few minutes of the game, the rest of it was fairly miserable -- not because Maryland fans hassled them; surrounding fans didn't even tease them. And they were not alone as a number of other people showed up in Duke colors. At Duke-Maryland soccer games at Ludwig, little kids wearing Duke logos get chased down and harassed by students. Since few students show up for women's basketball games, this isn't an issue.
The marketing arm of the athletics program offered us additional tickets to encourage fans to bring out more people to see the women's team. And it is a great showcase. We were able to get some friends to come out to the game and the environment was fantastic. We were not, I am certain, the only people that spent some time after the game heralding the $145 family of four season ticket package offered by the school.
I spent the much of the second half chasing children around Comcast, but what I was able to see was impressive. Bouncing back from two tough losses at Miami and at home to Virginia, Brenda Frese's young squad blistered Duke's more experienced team. At first, Maryland's players made a series of poor decisions and routinely turned over the ball, falling behind early. But in short order, the tables were turned and the Terps ended up forcing 20 turnovers.
Maryland has one more home game -- against Virginia Tech next Thursday night -- and then Comcast will host first and second round games in the NCAA Women's tournament. Reserved seats for the games are $30, which is a ridiculously inexpensive way to see three good college basketball games.