Will it Be Maryland’s Destiny
The NCAA women's basketball tournament starts Friday and in an earlier blog I mentioned several local reasons why this tournament could be fun to follow. Boise State plays at UCLA Saturday, Tricia Binford, a Hall of Fame Boise State player is the head coach of Big Sky champion Montana State but the most intriguing local connection with the women's NCAA Tournament is Destiny Slocum of Maryland.
Slocum is just a freshman who last year at this time was still going to Mountain View High in Meridian. She had led her team to back to back state 5A basketball crowns and was coming off a summer helping team USA win the Women's World Basketball title in Moscow, Russia. She was an alternate on that team and two days before the tournament began she received a call and next thing she knew was on a plane heading across the world. Slocum actually played in the tournament opener despite an 18 hour flight and little if any sleep or time to recover from jet lag.
As the tournament progressed Slocum's playing time increased and when team USA won the title, she grabbed the trophy and was front and center for the team picture.
Her enthusiasm was immediate at Maryland and she became the teams starting point guard as a freshman. Terrapin legend Kristi Toliver was the last Maryland player to start as a freshman at point guard in 2006 and led the Terps to their only national title.
Slocum could well be the next freshman to take Maryland to the promised land. As the Big 10 freshman of the year Slocum is already chasing every record Toliver set including most three pointers by a freshman which is 59 by Toliver, Slocum has 58.
Maryland is 30-2 and that includes a four point loss to Connecticut who is riding a 107 game win streak and is 32-0. It was against UCONN that the women's basketball world took notice of Slocum. She had 23 points and almost single handedly took down the Huskies. Maryland opens the NCAA tournament against Bucknell at 10 a.m. Friday on ESPN2.
Ironically Destiny is not an imposing figure. She's 5-7 and always has a smile. As a junior at Mountain View her team was upset in the District III tournament and while they went on to win the state title they didn't play for the district crown.
Instead, Slocum put on a pair of headsets and joined me in calling the District championship game between Centennial and Boise on 630 The Fan. She was a slam dunk with her commentary.
If Maryland can survive to the elite 8 and Connecticut does likewise, the two teams would meet again. Combined they'd be 70-2 and UCONN's win streak would have grown to 110. As Destiny would say...That's right where we want them.