COLLEGE PARK -- Thankfully for the fourth-ranked Maryland women's team, basketball isn't like gymnastics or figure skating -- style has no bearing on whether you win.
The Terps earned few style points in their 73-47 rout of Wake Forest yesterday before 786 at Cole Field House.
The Terps (12-1, 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), the best field-goal percentage team in the country, were kept under 50 percent for only the sixth time this season, and they turned the ball over 16 times to boot.
But they kept the overmatched Demon Deacons (7-5, 0-3) off balance, forcing 20 turnovers and holding Wake Forest to 38 percent from the field, including 31 percent in the second half.
"They've got an excellent ballclub, they're very deep and they're a national title contender," said Wake Forest coach Joe Sanchez. "We couldn't do what we wanted to do."
Actually, in the first half, the Demon Deacons did do what they wanted -- stop the Maryland fast break.
Wake Forest extended nearly every possession to nearly the 30-second limit and got back defensively, not giving the Terps the chance to run.
As a result, Maryland, which travels to top-ranked Virginia Wednesday night, was able to score only five points in its transition game in the first half and led just 34-24 at halftime.
"I didn't think we did anything wrong. Wake just did a good job of slowing us to their tempo," said Maryland coach Chris Weller. "We were kind of slow and methodical in our offense."
"We can't get into a running game with them," said Sanchez. "Our kids handled themselves well, for the most part."
At halftime, Weller let her charges know of her extreme interest in having them run.
"After our conversation with Weller, she made us play with more enthusiasm," said guard Limor Mizrachi. "We thought we could run more than we did in the first half."
And they did. The Terps reeled off the first nine points of the second half, with seven coming from center Jessie Hicks, who had a team-high 16 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with four blocks.
"They were packing it in in the 2-3 [zone defense]. Getting open from block to block was not easy," said Hicks, who posted double-figure marks for the second time this week.
The Deacons, who meet UMBC tomorrow afternoon, dressed just nine players and have been hampered by injuries and the lack of a player taller than 6-2.
"We're playing without a center, and that hurts us, especially against a team like Maryland that is so strong in the middle," said Sanchez.
As a result, freshman Laura Coakley, a 6-1 freshman from St. Mary's High, is getting extensive playing time at all three front-court positions.
Coakley, a former Catholic League Player of the Year, scored a team-high 14 and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
"It was great to come back, but it was also a disappointing loss," said Coakley. [The transition to ACC basketball] is a bigger step than I ever thought I'd have to take. I just hope that by the end of the year, I am improved and I can help the team."
"She's had to come in as a freshman and produce immediately," said Sanchez. "She's been a workhorse for us. Every game, she gets better and better. She's got a huge heart and she's a real