Terps women fall behind by 17, lose to Iowa, 53-50 Zone defense slows Maryland's flow

December 07, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- The wish of every decent college basketball coach is that, no matter the outcome of games in December, those contests somehow make the team better when the tournaments of March and April roll around.

That is likely what Maryland women's basketball coach Chris Weller is hoping her fourth-ranked Terrapins take from yesterday's 53-50 loss to seventh-ranked Iowa before 1,056 at Cole Field House.

If losing builds character, the outcome of the game, combined with Maryland's attempt to make up a 17-point halftime deficit, should give the Terps (2-1) more than a little to learn from.

"We need to be aware of things that we have to work on, and the earlier we address them, the better," Weller said.

The Terps, who lost here for only the second time in the past 15 home games, were driven to distraction by a tight Iowa zone defense that largely disrupted the Maryland offensive flow.

Maryland made just four of 23 shots in the first half, on the way to a 14-point total, its worst offensive performance in a half since the Terps scored seven points against Notre Dame here in 1985.

And yet, the Terps gamely battled back and pulled to 51-50 with 11.4 seconds left.

Even after Iowa senior guard Laurie Aaron made two free throws with 9.7 seconds left, Maryland had a chance to tie on a three-pointer, but senior guard Malissa Boles, a preseason All-America selection who has been in a mini-slump, mishandled an inbounds pass and the Hawkeyes (2-0) recovered and held on.

"I just lost it. I'm all right. I haven't had a good week, I guess," said Boles, whose ring and middle fingers on her shooting hand were taped, leading to a 3-for-13 shooting performance.

The win came at just the right time for the Hawkeyes, who have been reeling since the death of Bill Stringer, their exercise physiologist and husband of coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Bill Stringer died of a heart attack on Thanksgiving Day, and the Iowa players have been struggling to overcome their grief.

"Of course, we had Coach Stringer on our mind, but we had a job to do," said assistant coach Marianna Freeman, who is filling in for Vivian Stringer. "We knew we had to come in and play a very, very tough ballgame and that's the way we approached it."

The Hawkeyes approached the game by showing Maryland a variety of zone defenses, designed to show the Terps' inexperienced point guards, freshman Lena Patterson and sophomore Karon Ferguson, different looks.

It worked, by and large in the first half, though the Terps were able on occasion to find center Jessie Hicks, who had a game-high 18 points, though she missed eight free throws.

Weller said, "Their zone was very effective and we couldn't get into a running game. It put us in a tentative mind-set and that's the difference between a top 10 team and everybody else. They don't worry about their offense. Their defense is their bread and butter. We'll get that concept."

Iowa also was able to take advantage of Maryland on the boards, out-rebounding it 44-35 overall and 15-10 on the offensive end.

The Hawkeyes were so strong on the boards that Weller was forced to go with a big lineup of the 6-4 Hicks; reserve center Monica Adams, who is 6-3; and reserve forward Bonnie Rimkus, who is 6-4 and played small forward.

"It was kind of embarrassing. We were trying to figure out what we needed to do to make the second half pay off," said Hicks.

That lineup bore some fruit, as Rimkus, the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year two years ago, began connecting from the outside, including her first career three-pointer with 8:38 left to cut the Iowa lead to five.

With 1:02 left and Iowa leading by three, Aaron, reading the sagging Maryland defense, stepped up and hit a three-pointer. It pushed the lead back to six, and effectively stemmed the Maryland comeback.

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