*This article originally appeared on WNBA.com.
Marissa Coleman won a national championship in her freshman season at Maryland in 2006. Playing alongside fellow WNBA stars Crystal Langhorne and Kristi Toliver, Coleman helped the Terrapins defeat North Carolina and Duke in the Final Four to claim their first national title.
Coleman is now entering her fourth season with the Indiana Fever, and she’s currently finishing an overseas campaign in Turkey. From afar, she’s hoping to watch her Terrapins get back to the destination she and her teammates reached a decade ago.
By Marissa Coleman, as told to WNBA.com
People always ask me what I remember most about our national championship season. The answer is easy – the people I was with.
That’s what helped us win the championship. It sounds cliché, but we really were like a family. From the players to the coaches, trainers and everyone, it was a special thing. I’m biased, but I don’t think many teams had something close to what we had.
Winning is always great. But when you can do something of that magnitude, and you’re surrounded by people you love and care about, people you know will be in your life forever, it makes it even more special.
If you would have asked me then, I would have said we’re going back to the championship three more times. But it’s just hard to get back. My sophomore year, we got knocked out in the second round by Ole Miss. You never know what’s going to happen. So my advice to the Terps is just enjoy the moment, whether you get to the championship or not. Just playing alone is a blessing. Not a lot of people can say they played in the NCAA Tournament. Just enjoy each and every moment.
Maryland had gone to the Final Four two straight years, but then last season proved that nothing is guaranteed. Every game at this point could be your last. You have to leave it all on the court. I’m sure the team is determined to avoid losing on our home court again. I know we have two seniors, Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who certainly don’t want to end their careers with another loss in College Park.
They want to get to the Final Four again and compete for the national championship.
Even though we might have to face UConn before the Final Four, it really doesn’t matter what region you’re in. Any team that wants to win the championship is going to have to go through UConn at some point. It’s inevitable. So whether it’s in their region or on the other side of the bracket, in my opinion they will have to go through UConn.
It would be awesome if Maryland was the team to dethrone them. It’s amazing what UConn has done. If we could knock them off and go on to win the championship, it would be something for those players to remember the rest of their lives.
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