Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Numerous games canceled due to storm

By The Associated Press

A winter storm dumped up to 4 feet of snow on the Northeast and wreaked havoc on the sports schedule throughout the region.

The Big East saw its men's basketball schedule wiped out Monday by the Presidents Day storm that was the worst to hit the mid-Atlantic and central Appalachian states in seven years. It caused at least 21 deaths and left 49 inches of snow in Maryland's Garrett County in the central Appalachians.

The game between No. 9 Pittsburgh and Georgetown was rescheduled for Tuesday night, and a Washington Wizards game against the Toronto Raptors on Michael Jordan's 40th birthday was postponed until March 4.

Two other Big East games were called off: Villanova at Seton Hall and Miami at Providence. Other Division I men's basketball postponements included Florida A&M at Howard, South Carolina State at Delaware State, Ohio at Akron, Chattanooga at Virginia Military, Appalachian State at Wofford and East Tennessee State at North Carolina-Greensboro. Several minor league hockey games and women's college basketball games also were called off.

Maryland and Wake Forest postponed their Atlantic Coast Conference battle from Sunday night to Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. The tipoff was then moved back to 5 p.m.

The 13th-ranked Terrapins handed No. 10 Wake Forest its worst loss of the season, 90-67, and 14,222 fans showed up at the Comcast Center - which seats 17,950.

Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow had tried to postpone the game until next month but conference rules dictated it be played.

"I was told that poor attendance was not a reason to set the policy aside," Yow said. "Certainly, that was a concern for us. That said, I am amazed by the number of people who are at this game. I am grateful so many fans made the effort to get here on such short notice."

Another sport that was adversely affected was horse racing. Racing at Laurel Park in Maryland was postponed Sunday and Monday. The two biggest races of the winter meet, the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap and the $200,000 General George Handicap, were moved to Saturday.

Philadelphia Park canceled its racing card for Sunday and Monday while Aqueduct abandoned Sunday's card after one race and postponed Monday racing, including the $75,000 Rare Treat, rescheduled for Wednesday.

In New Jersey, the Meadowlands and Monmouth Parks canceled their simulcasting cards.

Airports for Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York largely shut down, stranding thousands of passengers trying to leave and get into the region. Amtrak's north-south service was halted between Washington and Richmond, Va., and regional bus service stopped in many areas.

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