- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

The Maryland Terrapins' showdown with Wake Forest for first place in the ACC was postponed last night because of heavy snow that forced the cancellation of most local events including today's game between the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors.
The Wizards' game, which would have helped Michael Jordan celebrate his 40th birthday, has been rescheduled for March 4 at 7 p.m., and it will force the Wizards (25-27) to play back-to-back nights. On March 5 the Wizards play host to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The plans for the Wake Forest-Maryland game are more tentative. The schools' and ACC officials will talk, via conference call, at 9 this morning to decide if weather conditions will permit the game between the 16th-ranked Terps and 15th-ranked Demon Deacons to be played this afternoon at Comcast Center.
If need be, the Terps (15-6, 7-3 in ACC) and Demon Deacons (17-3, 7-2) could play between Maryland's regular-season finale at Virginia on March 9 and the beginning of the ACC tournament on March 13. Tickets will be honored on the new date.
The Demon Deacons, coming off of a double-overtime victory over Duke, beat the snow by arriving in College Park on Friday. However, officials called off the game because of concerns over the safety of fans, game officials and employees of the new arena.
"Coach [Gary] Williams and I have been in constant contact with Wake Forest and conference officials throughout the day," Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow said. "We both believe that the safety of our fans and game day personnel is paramount. It would be next to impossible to appropriately staff the event, both inside and outside the arena."
The Wizards postponed their game for much of the same reasons.
"The safety of our patrons, players and staff is always our utmost concern," said Wizards President Susan O'Malley. "The extreme conditions in the Washington area have forced us to reschedule…."
The Raptors were scheduled to fly from Toronto to Washington last night following their 99-97 victory over the Orlando Magic yesterday afternoon. However, the snow caused Baltimore-Washington International and Reagan National airports to be closed, while Dulles International Airport had just one runway open during the afternoon. As a result, the Raptors had nowhere to fly into and the NBA has a rule that forbids teams to travel to a city and play a game on that same day.
The Wizards will honor tickets purchased for today's game on March 4.
The game between the Georgetown Hoyas and the No.7 Pittsburgh Panthers set for tonight at MCI Center is expected to be played as scheduled. The Panthers bused to the District from New Jersey late Saturday afternoon after their 73-61 upset loss at Seton Hall.
John Paquette, the Big East's associate commissioner for communications, said the league does not have a cancellation policy. Paquette said that with no games scheduled yesterday he didn't foresee any travel problems that would prevent league officials from getting to MCI Center on time.
A men's basketball game between George Washington and Richmond, a 64-50 GW victory, was the only local event played. The women's basketball game between Towson and George Mason scheduled to be played in Fairfax yesterday was postponed.
Local horse racing tracks also were affected.
Laurel Park will be closed today for the third straight day. Simulcasting will resume Wednesday and live racing on Thursday.
Three major stakes races set for the weekend now must be rescheduled.
The $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes and the $200,000 General George Stakes will run on Saturday along with the $75,000 Maryland Racing Media Handicap. The $100,000 John B. Campbell is now Sunday along with the "Rumble at the Races" amateur boxing card.
The racing card at Philadelphia Park was canceled, and New York's Aqueduct canceled its card after one race and postponed today's races in anticipation of heavy snow.
Philadelphia Park said no decision had been made on today's live racing card.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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