tampabay.com

Maryland coach has wedding ties to bay area

By GREG AUMAN
Published April 2, 2006


BOSTON - With two sophomores and two freshmen in her starting lineup, Maryland coach Brenda Frese has the kind of young team that could easily make headlines in Tampa in two years when the Final Four comes to the St. Pete Times Forum.

Even then, it likely wouldn't be her most memorable trip to the bay area.

On Aug. 20, Frese and Mark Thomas were married at Sand Key Park in Clearwater. Neither has family in the area, but the location was exactly what they wanted. "We knew we wanted the beach," said Frese, who was referred to the location by her strength and conditioning coach. "With our schedules, we had such a short window and wanted a private ceremony with him and I and both sets of parents."

Both keep busy with their teams, as Thomas is the videographer for the U.S. national soccer team. Frese has enjoyed the past seven months, leading Maryland to its first Final Four appearance in 17 years, and Thomas was by her side Saturday, reminiscing about the ceremony.

"We did it at sunset, and it was tremendous. Such fond memories," Frese said. "Our only question mark was because of the hurricane weather. I called and said, "What happened if there's a hurricane?' But the weather was awesome. One weekend later was Katrina."

AWARDS: LSU senior Seimone Augustus won the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Wade Trophy player of the year for the second year in a row after leading the nation in scoring at 23 points per game. Augustus was one of three players in the Final Four named to the 10-player WBCA All-America team, along with Duke's Monique Currie and North Carolina's Ivory Latta. Duke's Lindsey Harding, UNC's Erlana Larkins, Maryland's Crystal Langhorne and LSU's Sylvia Fowles earned honorable mention.

TWIN TOWERS: One key matchup in the Duke-LSU semifinal is in the post, where the Tigers' 6-foot-6 Fowles goes up against Duke's 6-7 Alison Bales.

LSU eliminated Duke in last year's region final, outrebounding the Blue Devils 42-27, with Fowles finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

"(Fowles) might be one of the most improved offensive players of the year," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "We don't anticipate stopping her. We know that's not really possible."

Duke has 213 rebounds, on pace to break the NCAA Tournament record if it reaches the final.

NO CINDERELLA: Maryland is the only non-No. 1 seed in the Final Four, but it was ranked 14th in the preseason poll and No. 3 in the final rankings. So when a reporter tried to compare their position with the men's team from nearby George Mason, making an unexpected Final Four appearance, the Terrapins took exception. "Who thought that? Not in our locker room. We think that not only we're not the underdogs, but we should have probably gotten a No. 1 seed," guard Shay Doron said.

THIS AND THAT: It's less of a March Madness on the women's side, where the Final Four has had three No. 1 seeds and one No. 2 three times in the past four years. ... Seven of Maryland's 10 players have been limited by a virus, including freshman starter Marissa Coleman, who was held out of Friday's practice. Frese is recovering herself. "Anyone who wants to go on the Albuquerque Diet and lose a quick 5 pounds, I'm getting ready after the Final Four to write my book," she said.