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Return to the court nearing for Wiley-Gatewood

Remember those days when you didn't mind if your report card didn't show up right on time?

Well, this semester, Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood might be counting the minutes until her grades are in.

Wiley-Gatewood left Tennessee last December and transferred to Maryland within weeks. Per NCAA rules for transfer students, Wiley-Gatewood is required to complete one full year of academic residence at Maryland (two semesters) before she is eligible to suit up for her new team.

With the fall term ending Wednesday, Wiley-Gatewood should be able to make her Maryland debut when the Terps make the short trip to Baltimore on Thursday to face Loyola. However, according to Maryland coach Brenda Frese, the 5-foot-9 junior guard won't become eligible until each of her professors posts her grades.

"If that doesn't happen, Sa'de won't play until after Christmas," Frese said.

Maryland's first game after the holiday is Dec. 29 at home against UNC-Greensboro in the Terrapin Classic.

The top-ranked Terps, of course, are off to a 12-0 start this season and have won 18 consecutive games dating back to last season's NCAA Tournament run. All five of Maryland's starters recently were named to the preseason top-50 candidates list for the Naismith Award, one of several national player-of-the-year accolades.

Wiley-Gatewood started eight games at point guard for Tennessee last season, averaging 8.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists before deciding to transfer. In 2004-05, her freshman season with the Lady Vols, Wiley-Gatewood averaged 3.9 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and shot 91.7 percent from the free-throw line. Tennessee reached the Final Four that season, though Wiley-Gatewood played in just 13 games while suffering from patellar tendinitis, for which she underwent surgery in March 2005.

Nancy Lieberman, an ESPN analyst and Hall of Famer, is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage. Contact her at www.nancylieberman.com.