espnW: Chloe Pavlech
Words can't even describe how it felt to experience the Final Four with our amazing seniors.
Coach B [Brenda Frese] said in the locker room after our loss to Notre Dame that they have done more than anyone can imagine for our program. To be able to be one of the last four teams standing, and for us all to get there together, was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Coach B always wants us to savor every moment and experience, and we live that every day. As soon as we pulled up to our hotel, we took in the cool signage with our logos and the welcome party, not to mention the send-off we got from our fans in College Park. We all took in every moment of the salute and just tried to soak it all up. We had so much fun and it only felt right that Alyssa [Thomas], Alicia [DeVaughn], Katie [Rutan], Essence [Townsend] and Sequoia [Austin] got to experience it all.
I wanted to give myself a few days before I wrote this last blog. We are so proud of our run to the Final Four, but of course it takes you a day or so to recover from everything! If you think about it, out of the 64 teams that make the NCAA tournament, there's only one that will end the season with a high and there's only one team that will end the postseason undefeated. I think it's truly amazing that UConn finished this season 40-0, and credit to Notre Dame for almost having a perfect season, especially since the ACC is so competitive.
I was so sad after our game versus Notre Dame because I realized it was the last time I would have a chance to play with our seniors. I cried because I realized we won't ever have a season together again. I feel like I'm not only losing great teammates, but I'm losing my big sisters, and with some of them, I feel like I'm losing a mom (LOL).
When I first got to campus they cooked for me, they taught me how to do laundry and they were all my protectors. They're such a special group. It's hard to imagine not seeing them every day. I'll be an upperclassman, so now I'll have to help take care of the freshmen and lookout for the sophomores. It's really hard to imagine college without them, but I feel so lucky to have them in my life and to have had two years with them.
It's amazing how much our team has grown over the last month.
I just remember walking out of the ACC tournament so frustrated because we knew we were better than a loss. It's crazy how things can change, and it's even crazier how hard it is to beat a team with a strong bond and great chemistry like we have. Chemistry can't be forced, and chemistry can't be created. It just happens. In order to shine together you have to grind together.
The two weeks before NCAA tournament were the hardest weeks of my career -- all because of practice. Our coaches did whatever they could to make it as hard on us as possible. We knew in order to survive we had to come together and rely on each other. No one could have gotten through practice alone.
The KFC Yum! Center is the loudest arena on the road I've ever been to. I couldn't even hear my own thoughts. It was a sea of red, so we tried to imagine that they were all cheering for us. Even when we were up by 10, we knew we couldn't be content. And when Shoni Schimmel hit two back-to-back 3's, we knew the game wasn't over.
When the buzzer went off, we had an unbelievable celebration. I haven't cut down a net since my senior of high school, and I forgot how amazing it feels. I also forgot how to cut it, but luckily I wasn't the first one up the ladder. We named our NCAA regional champion trophy Regina, which is short for regional champions.
We didn't get back to College Park until 4 a.m., so the only postgame celebration was sleep! Unfortunately, for me I had class at 8 a.m. It's funny how after an all-time high moment like that you have no problem getting up!
We decided to plan a pep rally at our student union but it was focused around the concept of making me "Vine famous." Basically we created a "super Vine" which was a bunch of the students behind the team yelling. It's hard to explain so check out the vine below.
I'LL SEE YOU GUYS IN NASHVILLE, BECAUSE THE TERPS ARE IN THE FINAL FOUR!
I’ve never had so much fun in a locker room after a win like we had Tuesday night. We were dancing and singing at the tops of our lungs. The next day felt awesome. I can’t even remember how many people stopped me on campus to say, “Great win and good luck in Louisville.’’ I think the fact that we knew we had beaten a really good opponent in Texas, we had to dig deep and so many people came through for us made it so sweet.
It’s hard to believe there are only 16 teams left in the tournament -- and after Sunday there will only be eight. I can still remember how awful I felt after losing to UConn in the Sweet 16 last year. I know I don’t want to feel that way again, and I know the team we have now isn’t satisfied yet.
For tournaments, Alyssa Thomas and I always room together. She wakes me up, makes sure I’m on time and, most important, makes sure we have the best snacks. She is literally my big sister, and I know we all just want to send her out the way she deserves to go out. She’s had an amazing career and is an amazing person. She deserves something special.
Sunday is going to be a lot of fun. I can’t even remember the last time Maryland played Tennessee. I can’t wait to see orange surrounded by a sea of red. It was really great to have our home crowd for the first two games, and I know they will make the trip to Louisville!
Even though it was my second selection show, it still felt brand new to me and it still feels as if this is my first time going to the NCAA tournament. It never gets old, and as Coach B said before the show, never take seeing our name up there for granted!
Our entire team was waiting in anticipation to see Maryland in one of the brackets. Our team had talked before the selection show about if we could choose a region to be in, where would it be? Most of us said Louisville because there could be really fun matchups and a great location. And low and behold, look where we were placed.
We know how lucky we are to be hosting the tournament for the first two rounds, and I think it gives us a slight advantage. March Madness is the best time of the year, and I think we are extremely dangerous because we have so many seniors. With a little bit of luck, why not us? The Terps love to dance!
Hello, all. It’s been quite an up-and-down few weeks for us, and I’m so happy to say we are really up right now. We lost three straight a few weeks back. That did not sit well with us at all.
I have to give credit where it’s due. Virginia, Notre Dame and N.C. State came ready to play for 40 minutes and we did not. We showed flashes of great basketball in each of those games, but we did not finish games out. It just goes to show that you have to be ready to play on every single night.
I’ve noticed other teams talking about how strong our team chemistry is, and they are absolutely right. I think that’s probably the first thing people notice about us when they see us play. I think it shows with how we’ve come out the last few games since losing those three. We’ve got our mojo back, and it feels so good. We’re stronger for it. We were really rolling at Syracuse and against Pitt and Clemson.
How great are our pink uniforms? So cool to have great gear for a great cause!
We head to Miami later today and I have to say, I don’t think any of us will complain if we get stuck there for an extra day or so because of the bad weather! None of us have ever won at Miami, and that’s because they’re always so good and so competitive. I’m sure this game won’t disappoint.
We play at Duke on Monday, but none of us have really thought about that. Miami first!
Have you ever had a dream and then questioned yourself along the way? It's so easy to give up. It's even easier to make excuses.
My dream always has been to play for Maryland and to play professionally. I told someone the other day that my other dream was to be a broadcaster and be one of the greatest coaches in women's college basketball. Both are true.
This has been an interesting year for me. I love my team and I love Maryland, but after my concussion in November, I questioned myself and the dream I have had since I was in fifth grade. I've never given up on anything (except for track, but that's a different story, lol). I think we all go through moments like that, when you really wonder if you can dig deep. No matter how much coaches and teammates believe in you, and mine definitely had my back, you have to believe in yourself.
Just when I thought I was content with my mediocre mindset, I received a message from a young girl. She told me that her dream is to be like me and play for Maryland. She told me how hard she's working to accomplish that. I was in fifth grade when I first had the dream that I was going to play for Maryland. That girl brought my dreams back to life. She reminded me what drives me at this level and why I strived so hard to play for an elite program.
I'm doing this for anyone who's ever had a dream but didn't make it a reality. I'm doing this for the dreamers.
We had a two-week break from games for exams and Christmas. We sure did miss each other! We came back right after Christmas and hosted our home tournament against Wofford and the College of Charleston. After sitting out from my concussion, it felt so good to get back out there. I literally had to tell myself during the game to stop smiling so hard.
We took our last trip to Chapel Hill last weekend, and it was one to remember. I can remember us being up by almost 20, but I still never felt like the game was over or that we had won until the clock hit 0:00.
I have to commend our freshmen -- they played at a whole different level. I know when I first played at UNC I was nervous out of my mind, but our freshmen were very poised and didn't play like freshmen at all. UNC is one of my favorite teams to play against, so this win was a little more special than our others.
Our next game is Thursday at home against Wake Forest. We saw them three times last year, and every one was a little different.
The first time, at their place, we had only six players and it came down to the end. It was one of the toughest games I think I’ve ever played in because we didn’t have any subs. A month later, they came to Comcast for Senior Day and we played so well as a team for our seniors. Then, just a week later, we took on Wake in the ACC quarterfinals, and, boy, was it a good one. Alyssa [Thomas] played out of her mind and got the first triple-double in ACC tournament history. I remember hitting a 3 with like 30 seconds to go to take the lead. Great memories!
We love our fans and we love Comcast so we're excited to play back at home.
We went to Puerto Rico for Thanksgiving break, and it was the definition of paradise. The weather was beautiful, and we were absolutely spoiled because when we got back to Maryland it felt like it was freezing.
Our team went jet skiing on Thanksgiving Day. Now that’s how everyone should spend Thanksgiving! Alyssa Thomas was my riding partner and I decided to let her drive, which was pretty scary, I think, but I am not completely sure because I kept my eyes closed the entire time. Kudos to her for getting us back to land safely. We all got tossed off more than a few times.
Playing in a tournament in another country was really cool. Even though I could not play, it was so cool to see the gym, which was way different from what we’re used to. It was so basic, as opposed to the huge, elaborate arenas we see all the time. The PA announcer said the starters’ names with a Spanish twist, and they were playing salsa music during warm-ups. It was definitely fun to change it up a bit.
I don't know how many people can say they took a trip to Puerto Rico for their 20th birthday, but I can! It was one I'll never forget. This team is really awesome, and our chemistry got even better while we were in Puerto Rico.
I am so lucky to be a part of this Maryland family. Since we've returned to the States, our bond has strengthened. We spend a lot of time together off the court, with coaches and staff and without, to really trust each other and become a true family. It’s important to us that our relationships with each other are strong, and I think that translates on the court.
Now we have one more game before we get to go home and spend time with our families for the holidays. Then we'll be right back at it for our holiday tournament. Then, it’s ACC play.
It feels so good to be back, and our team is healthier than ever. We're ready to be battle-tested tonight against South Florida.
Preseason flew by and I was nervous for our practices. Since we have 14 healthy players, I knew we would practice hard for two-three hours five-six days a week. Last year there were times we only practiced for an hour or every other day.
You can feel the excitement. Our four freshmen are so eager to learn, and you can feel the desire from those who were injured last year to get back on the court.
I can't explain how thankful we are to actually have subs, something other teams take for granted. Or how awesome it is to have three point guards. I call it “Beauty in the Backcourt.’’ Our depth drives this team, and I think other teams will ask, “Do they ever get tired?"
As soon as we get back from USF we have to turn around and play a tough Loyola team Sunday at home. Next week we play UConn! That’s a game we’ve been looking forward to since the season ended. Our tough nonconference schedule truly will prepare us for the ACC this year.