The University of Maryland Lady Terrapins basketball team won the national championship last night with a come-from-behind overtime victory over arch-rival Duke. Duke did an outstanding job on inside threat Crystal Langhorne, Maryland’s best player. But freshman guard Kristi Toliver led the comeback with a series of fall-away and step-back jumpers that Juan Dixon would have been proud of, including the three-pointer that sent the game into overtime with only a few seconds left. In the extra period, all floor-burn guard Shay Doron (an Israeli) kept Maryland in the running until Toliver finally put the Terps ahead with two free throws.
Basketball is a great game when it’s played above the rim (witness Florida’s awesome display on Monday). But it’s just as great when played at a lower altitude, as we saw tonight (contrast this with women’s soccer, where the inabililty of women to kick the ball as far as men and to run as fast makes the sport a pale imitation of the men’s game). To me, the “final four” now means a four-day festival consisting of the two alternating, contrasting and complementary spectacles.