COLLEGE PARK -- The scene looked as though the winning team had just clinched the NCAA championship, with a pile of players jumping for joy.
Since it's only November, it's much too early for the screams of titles won. But what the Richmond women's basketball team got in its 79-69 victory over 18th-ranked Maryland last night could be just as valuable.
For the Spiders (3-0) achieved a measure of respect in beating the Terps (2-1) that could mean a world of difference down the road.
"This is, without question, the biggest win since I've been here," said Richmond coach Stephanie Gaitley, in her sixth year. "All of a sudden, people take notice."
The Spiders, 25-5 last season, trailed by as many as 11 points with 13 minutes left, but slowly crawled back into the game.
That crawl was led by 5-foot-11 junior forward Amy Mallon, a graduate of Mount Hebron High, who scored eight of her 17 points down the stretch.
"It's nice to be in your hometown and win in your hometown," said Mallon, who added the win was a form of revenge as Maryland didn't recruit her out of high school.
"Amy's the most improved player that I've ever had," said Gaitley. "She wasn't a ball-handler, but her work ethic at that has been phenomenal. She's made herself a great player and she's the one who wants the ball down the stretch."
The taller Terps, who were led by Walbrook's Dwuanna Lee, who had 20 points, were frustrated by Richmond's ability to hit from the outside.
Maryland coach Chris Weller chose to keep her three post players benched for long stretches and go with a lineup without a player over 6 feet to combat the Spiders' outside shooting, which rang up seven three-point shots on the night.