Maryland's Coleman Named ACC Women's Basketball Rookie of Year
March 1, 2006
By AARON BEARD
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Marissa Coleman was confident she'd have an immediate impact when she arrived at Maryland. But even she couldn't help but be surprised at the season she's had.
Coleman ranked among the Atlantic Coast Conference leaders in several categories during the Terrapins' breakthrough season under coach Brenda Frese, helping Maryland reach No. 4 in the national rankings. And her veteran-like play this season was enough to make her The Associated Press rookie of the year in the conference on Wednesday.
"I knew I'd have some impact, but I didn't think my numbers would be where they're at this year," she said. "I credit my teammates and my coaches. They were never giving up on me and had confidence in me. The coaches tell me day in and day out that they want me to shoot and score."
Coleman, a 6-foot-1 swing player, earned 61 of 70 votes in voting by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Wake Forest's Deirdre Naughton finished second with five votes, followed by Duke's Abby Waner and Maryland teammate Kristi Toliver.
Coleman ranked third on her team in scoring (14.6 points) and second in both rebounding (7.5), blocks (1.5) and minutes per game (30.7). She also shot 53 percent from the field and 82 percent from the line, while finishing tops in the ACC by shooting nearly 51 percent from 3-point range.
Coleman led all ACC freshmen in rebounding, blocks, shooting percentage and 3-point percentage. She ranked second in scoring and free-throw percentage to Naughton, who averaged 15 points and hit 85 percent of her free throws.
Coleman, however, joined a team with returning all-league performers Crystal Langhorne and Shay Doron. That eased the pressure on the McDonald's All-American, who helped the Terrapins (26-3) finish third in the nation's toughest conference.
Maryland is having its best season since winning 29 games and reaching the Final Four in 1989.
"Marissa's game has grown so much," said Duke coach Gail Goestenkors, who coached Coleman on the USA Under-19 World Championship Team last summer. "She is one of the most versatile players that I have ever had the privilege to coach.
"She is going to be exciting to watch over the next three years, and is certainly going to cause the rest of us a lot of headaches."
She's also not bashful. In her bio on the team's Web site, she answers a question about who will be in the Final Four by saying, "Not sure about all four, but Maryland will be one."
That attitude says plenty about Coleman's views on her first college season. While she's pleased with her ACC debut, she doesn't sound satisfied with what the Terrapins have accomplished just yet.
"We have two championships I think are within our reach: the ACC and the national championship," she said. "Anything less, and I don't think we'd be too happy without accomplishing both."