Washington D.C., sad to say for area fans, does not have the greatest of sports teams. The editors, however, are usually kept fairly busy. For example, Sunday morning's sport's section of the Washington Post had stories on Gilbert Arena's long-awaited return to the Wizards, DC United's home opener, number one ranked Virginia's 10-9 win over number nine Maryland's lacrosse team in seven overtimes (the longest game in NCAA history), the Nats filling out their starting five with farm hands Jordan Zimmerman and Shairon Martis, and the Washington Freedom getting ready for last night's kick off match in the new Women's Professional Soccer league.
All good stories, but the half-inch headline, large color photograph and two by-lines on the front page (if the printed Post ever goes under, I'll miss those editorial decisions) went to Marissa Coleman.
Never heard of her?
That's quite understandable. It's a fact that women's sports does not draw the attention of the men. But the competition and pressure were there on Saturday, and Coleman had the game of a lifetime in the regional semi-finals in Raleigh.
Playing all 40 minutes, the 6'1" senior forward from Cheltenham, Maryland poured in 42 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Her jumper with 28 seconds left broke a 74-74 tie and she made the two final free throws. As Camille Powell of the Post noted, Coleman "made countless clutch plays in a game in which Maryland trailed by as many as 18 points and didn't take its first lead until just 2 minutes 7 seconds remained." As Mike Wise said, "she had 12 points and five rebounds during Maryland's 21-6 run the final six minutes.
The next time there's a conversation on D.C. sports teams, I hope it will go beyond the usual men's pro sports teams and include the Maryland women's basketball team. Coach Brenda Frese has done a great job of building a top notch program.
And any discussion on Washington's Game of the Year for 2009 had better include Marissa Coleman's performance. To borrow a line from a famous anthem, her numbers are too big to ignore.