Maryland women sloppy, but rout American, 93-54 4th-ranked Terps tune up for Iowa

December 05, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland women's basketball coach Chri Weller had no great philosophical ruminations on the significance of her 500th game as coach.

That's probably because the fourth-ranked Terps' 93-54 win over American last night was hardly a game worth philosophizing over.

Maryland (2-0) shot 37 percent, looked sloppy on offense and hardly looked the part of a team preparing to meet seventh-ranked Iowa here tomorrow, much less a squad with Final Four aspirations.

"I didn't promise anybody we would be smooth at this time of the year, but we played hard and that helped. Ultimately, we'll have a good year if we keep doing that," said Weller.

This season will be even better if the Terps continue to exert the kind of defensive pressure they placed on the Eagles (1-1), who committed 37 turnovers.

"They've just got great quickness and speed, which we just don't have," said American coach Jeff Thatcher.

The Terps also have seniors Katrina Colleton and Jessie Hicks, and they were enough to sustain Maryland in its 18th straight win in a home opener.

Colleton, a 5-foot-10 swing player from Tampa, Fla., had a career-high 20 points, combined with nine rebounds, six steals and five assists.

Colleton, who has spent most of her career in the shadows of Hicks and senior guard Malissa Boles, has emerged so far as a true offensive threat, both inside and outside.

"I've been getting more confident, especially since last season, but I was just trying to go out and play hard. I just felt we needed a spark," said Colleton.

Hicks, the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and All-America selection, was dominant inside, even in the throes of double- and triple-teaming from the shorter Eagles, scoring 19 points and pulling down 11 rebounds -- eight on the offensive glass.

"I felt like I had to go hard to the offensive boards, or at least I was told to," said Hicks.

The Terps overcame poor floor shooting and a paltry performance from the free-throw line, where they missed 17 of their 37 foul shots.

The Eagles, picked for sixth in the Colonial Athletic Association, stayed even with the physically superior Terps for the first 10 minutes of the game, playing them to a 20-20 tie with 9:20 left in the half.

But off a timeout, Weller called for Maryland's 1-2-2 zone trap press, and the Eagles turned the ball over on 11 of 12 possessions. Maryland took control, leading 48-30 at halftime.

"We needed to try something different to try to get a better flow for us. We changed the offense a few times, but we weren't getting a good flow," said Weller.

LTC Thatcher said: "It [the press] certainly was the turning point. We prepared for it, but the five players we used weren't like their five. At times, it must have seemed as though there were six or seven players out there the way they swarmed all over us."

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