BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Leigh Frendberg couldn't get Michael Jordan out of her mind. She took the basketball great's advice to heart and to the lacrosse cage to lift the University of Maryland to the NCAA women's Division I lacrosse championship, 11-10 in overtime, over Harvard yesterday.
Frendberg scored the goal that pushed the game into overtime and the game-winner with 1:15 left in the six-minute overtime. The 5-foot-1 senior also scored the game-winner in overtime in Saturday's semifinal victory over defending national champion Virginia.
"On the bus trip up here Thursday, we watched a video, Michael Jordan's 'Playground Talk,' " Frendberg said. "He talks about wanting the ball in the last 10 seconds, that you have to have the courage to want the ball. Honestly, ever since we watched the video, I've thought about it every chance I had. I was wishing I could do what he said to do in the video."
Because the Terps fell behind as they had in the semifinals, Frendberg got her chance. Maryland (14-1) watched its 3-0 lead dissipate as top-seeded Harvard (14-2) picked up momentum. At halftime, the score was tied at 5.
Harvard, the only team to beat Maryland this year (7-5 during the regular season in Cambridge, Mass.), went ahead 8-5 in the first seven minutes of the second half.
On Saturday, Virginia had taken a two-goal lead in the second half, and Maryland goalkeeper Mandy Stevenson had quipped that the Terps liked to play under pressure.
"We didn't really mean it," Stevenson said yesterday after facing the same game-ending scenario.
With six seconds left in overtime, Harvard's Liz Berkery had a 10-meter penalty shot. Several defenders jumped in front of the ball.
"I wanted Berkery to shoot the ball so I could hold it for six seconds," said Stevenson, who had 19 saves.
Maryland second-year coach Cindy Timchal said it was a great thrill for her team to come from behind in two straight games to win a title that eluded the Terps in the 1990 and 1991 finals. Maryland won the NCAA crown in 1986 under Sue Tyler.
"I have to give credit to the courage of our players to sustain and come from behind the 1990 national champion [Harvard] and the 1991 champion [Virginia] in less than 24 hours," Timchal said.
Stevenson, a junior; Betsy Elder (three goals), a sophomore from Severna Park; and junior defender Kerstin Manning were selected to the all-tournament team for Maryland. Frendberg wound up with three goals, and freshman Laura Harmon and sophomore Patty Parichy each scored two goals in the championship game.
Harvard outshot Maryland, 28-22.