Brenda Frese and the Maryland Terrapins crashed a party in Louisville.
Now, the object is to slay a giant (or two) in Nashville.
A native of Cedar Rapids and a graduate of Washington High School, Frese takes the Terrapins to the women's basketball Final Four for the second time. No. 9 Maryland (28-6) meets No. 2 Notre Dame (36-0) in a semifinal at 5:30 p.m. (Iowa time) Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.
"I think my appreciation is greater because you know how hard it is to get to a Final Four," said Frese, who piloted the Terrapins to the national championship in 2006.
Iowa storylines are thick in the Music City. All four of the survivors have ties to the state.
* Notre Dame's Markisha Wright (6-foot-2, junior, Des Moines East) has played in 34 games as a reserve forward. She averages 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
* Stanford's Taylor Greenfield (6-3, junior, Ballard) has played in 28 games, with five starts. She averages 5.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest.
* And Connecticut's Kiah Stokes (6-3, junior, Linn-Mar) has enjoyed a nice bounce-back season. She averages 4.4 points and 7.2 boards per game, is sixth on the team in minutes and third in rebounds and blocks.
Fifth-rated Stanford (33-3) meets No. 1 UConn (38-0) in the second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Most of the national coverage of the women's tournament has focused on a projected battle of unbeaten Notre Dame and UConn in Tuesday's final.
"They've backed it up all season long with their undefeated records," Frese said. "But we just want to be true to what we are and continue to keep fighting and battling and scrapping and see where it takes us."
Maryland was a No. 4 seed in the Louisville Region, but pulled a minor surprise against the host Cardinals, 76-73, Tuesday.
"We still haven't come down off that high," Frese said in a teleconference Wednesday. "Just an incredible resiliency, toughness from our team to be able to go into Louisville's home court and be able to get a win in just an incredible environment."
Frese was the fifth-youngest coach to win a national title when the Terrapins struck gold in 2006. She owns a 15-year coaching mark of 363-130, including 306-100 in 12 seasons at Maryland.
Next season, Maryland joins the Big Ten."I'm thrilled about that," Frese said. "I'm going back to my roots, the Midwest. When you get to be my age and have a family, just how important it is to be able to share your livelihood and your profession with your family and your friends."