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'Slighted' Maryland women set for tourney

March 19, 2006

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.

Maryland guard Shay Doron says the sore right thigh that bothered her during the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament a couple weeks ago is just fine. Her ego doesn't seem to be too bruised either by the No. 2 seed for the Terps.

Maryland (28-4) had high hopes for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament after its stellar regular season and No. 3 national ranking, but had to settle for a little less.

"It's been discussed, but it's the past," Doron said Saturday. "We're pretty happy with the way we're seeded right now."

The Terps' only losses came against Tennessee and Duke twice in the regular season, and North Carolina in the ACC Tournament final. They had upset the top-ranked Tar Heels at the Smith Center on Feb. 9 and beat the Blue Devils in the ACC Tournament.

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After the NCAA selection committee's seedings were announced, Maryland coach Brenda Frese said, "I'm not surprised they slighted us." She avoided such talk on Saturday.

"There's a ton of talent in women's basketball," she said. "I mean there are eight or 10 teams out there who are disappointed."

The Terps play 15th-seeded Sacred Heart (26-4) in the first round of the Albuquerque Regional today at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Another No. 2, perennial power Connecticut (29-4), is the other marquee team in Happy Valley and will face 15th-seeded Coppin State (22-8) in the Bridgeport Regional. The Huskies open an NCAA Tournament outside Connecticut for the first time in school history.

"I kind of like being on the road, everybody talks about being at home as this huge advantage," coach Geno Auriemma said. "It can be, but the distractions at home can be huge, too."

Seeding aside, there's little to be disappointed about this year for the Terps. Just three seasons ago, in Frese's first year as coach, Maryland was 10-18 and won just four games in the ACC.

Now, Maryland has recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in more than a decade. All five starters, including Doron (14.1 points), score in double figures.

Doron said the thigh bruise that limited her at the conference tournament a couple weeks ago was healed.

"We're battle-tested," she said. "We've played every situation, overtime, everything that we can possibly go through this season."

Sacred Heart, riding a 10-game winning streak, is in the NCAAs for the first time after capturing the Northeast Conference's automatic bid.

Yet the tournament isn't even tops on coach Ed Swanson's mind - his wife gave birth last week to the couple's first child, 6-pound, 1-ounce Connor John Swanson.

"It's been a crazy week," the proud father said. "You work all your career to get to the tourney and it's the second-best thing to happen to you."

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