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Two Terps tops in high jump; Grabiak strikes again

Thea LaFond is off to a great start.
Thea LaFond is off to a great start.
University of Maryland Athletics

A pair of area women earned conference or national accolades for their performances last week. Two others earned some attention.

First, Maryland’s Thea LaFond (Kennedy High School) is in the national spotlight after winning both the women’s high jump and triple jump last Saturday at the Penn State Relays.

Those performances have earned recognition from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association as the NCAA National Women’s Athlete of the Week, as well as the season-opening honor as the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Performer of the Week.

LaFond’s mark of 5 feet, 11.25 inches in the high jump matched the result of teammate Amina Smith and were the best clearances in the nation on the first full week of the season. She and Smith were two of three athletes nationally to hit 5-11.25.

Then Catholic’s Emily Grabiak was named the Landmark Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week of the second consecutive time after leading the Cardinals to a 2-0 record.

Grabiak averaged 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6 steals, and 3.5 assists per game. On Monday she scored a career-high 26 points, pulled down six rebounds and dished out four assists in the 84-72 win over Gwynedd Mercy. Grabiak followed that up with a strong showing on Saturday at Merchant Marine, shooting 53 percent from the floor en route to 21 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven steals.

The senior captain ranks ninth nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 2.80, which is also the best in the Landmark. Grabiak is in the conference’s top 10 in almost every statistical category, including top 5 in points (15.1), rebounds (8.1), assists (4.9), steals (2.9), and 3-pointers made (1.6) per game.

In addition, a pair of Maryland’s hoopsters received good news from their communities. Lexie Brown was named to the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List Jan. 14. She is one of two freshmen in the country named to the 29-player list for the award that goes to the nation’s top point guard.

Candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. Brown and Northwestern's Ashley Deary are the only rookies on the list.

Two-time ACC Player of the Year Alyssa Thomas was named to the 33-player 2014-16 USA Basketball Women's National Team pool Monday. Rosters for the 2014 USA World Championship Team and, if the U.S. qualifies, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team will be selected from this pool.

The USA Basketball Women’s National Team will compete in the 2014 FIBA World Championship (Sept. 27 - Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey), and if the USA qualifies, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games (Aug. 5 - 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games.