Hair-raising task: Maryland targets Texas center

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - To keep tabs on Texas-Maryland, look for the 6-foot-7 center whose hair matches the Longhorns’ uniforms.

At least until she dyes it again.

The Terrapins would love to see as little of Imani McGee-Stafford as possible when fourth-seeded Maryland hosts No. 5 seed Texas on Tuesday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

That’s not a bad idea, considering the sophomore had 20 points and 12 rebounds in the Longhorns’ opening win over Penn.

“Our goal pretty much is to get Imani in foul trouble,” Maryland guard Lexie Brown said Monday. “Our 3-ball is going to be so important because if they’re worried about us, we can get the ball inside and pound it in there and get her out of the game.”

McGee-Stafford was a bit taken back by such a declaration.

“Well, I’m flattered that I’m a target,” she said. “But I’m not really sure that I’m the only thing they should be worried about.”

As if being tall and talented weren’t enough to draw attention, McGee-Stafford also catches the eye with her hair style, a temp fade which has its own back story.

“Last season I was known for having a big Afro,” she said. “And in the summer I cut it off, and since I’ve cut it off I’ve changed my hair color, like, every month. So if we make it out of this round I’ll probably have a different hair color when we go to the Sweet 16.”

So what was her previous color?

“It was red,” interjected coach Karen Aston. “We don’t really like red at Texas, so we got that changed pretty quick.”

Then there was a quick discussion about the current color. Aston said she thought it was burnt orange - to match the most prominent of the university’s official colors.

“I’m so Longhorn, my hair matches,” McGee-Stafford deadpanned.

Here are five other hair-raising tidbits about Tuesday’s game:

GET IT IN GEAR: It’s one thing to start slow against a heavy underdog from the Ivy League or the service academies, but neither Texas nor Maryland can much afford to stumble out of the gate the way the Longhorns did against Penn and the Terrapins did against Army in their first-round games.

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