#1: Terps Top Duke for First National Title
Sept. 3, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The season of firsts for head coach Brenda Frese's young 2006 squad still had one more big one to accomplish. As the Terrapins took the court against top-seeded Duke in the NCAA Championship game on April 4, 2006, they knew they were destined to win it all and bring home the school's first NCAA Women's Championship.
But, the game didn't quite go as planned. The Terrapins trailed by 10 at the half and by 13 at one point. With just under 16 minutes to play, Shay Doron and Crystal Langhorne both notched steals then scored to jumpstart the Terps' offense.
"This Duke team was really good defensively. Teams really struggled to score against them. Our offense wasn't clicking in the first half at all," head coach Brenda Frese said. "Nobody would mistake us for a dominant defensive team, but somewhere around the 15 minute mark of the 2nd half, I thought it was two defensive plays that got us going. First, Shay Doron got a steal and a layup and about a minute later, Crystal Langhorne got a steal and a layup with a foul. All the sudden we had life."
The Terrapins kept fighting during those last few minutes and trailed by three with 15 seconds left. Frese called timeout and brought her Terps over for a chat. What happened next, is history.
"Down the stretch we hit a series of really difficult shots to reel Duke in and send the game to overtime. But we had players that could make those plays and more importantly, wanted the ball in their hands to take those shots on the game's biggest stage," Frese said. "Kristi's shot is forever etched in the hearts of the Maryland faithful. It's one of those iconic images that stick in your brain. To this day, I still have people come up to me in airports, restaurants or wherever and tell me about watching that game. It's really cool to know how many people were touched by that moment."
The shot forced overtime and the Terrapins were 5-0 that season in OT games. They knew overtime was their time and were ready for a whole new game in those extra five minutes. The outscored Duke 8-5 in overtime, thanks to made Doron, Toliver and Marissa Coleman, who went 6-for-6 at the line.
"One of the greatest, most lasting memories from this game and the whole season was that we had a team who all lined up as one. Nobody's ego was out of control. We didn't have any selfishness issues," Frese said. "We were all working towards the same goal and nobody cared who got the credit. I'm sure some of that is because we were young and in new territory and also because the previous few seasons, we'd been humbled plenty of times."
"The celebration after the game was pure ecstasy. I remember hugging Shay Doron and some of our other players and being so grateful that they took a leap of faith and believed in us at Maryland. I had almost my whole family there and it was great to share that moment with them, not to mention everyone here at Maryland."
"No surprise that this game tops our list, right? What's really interesting to me is that so many defining moments of my first 10 years at Maryland have involved Duke. From beating them for the 2006 national championship, to beating them in 2009 for my first ACC Tournament championship, to beating them at Duke on the day that I delivered twins and even the first time I coached against them, when they drilled us by 51 points at Cameron. That's a credit to their program. It took a ton of work by all sorts of people here at Maryland, but we managed to climb the highest mountain."