Maryland routs Howard, eyes No. 1 Tenn. tonight

December 30, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- There were two items on last night's list of things to do for the Maryland women's basketball team.

The first was to get past Howard and stay healthy while preparing to meet No. 1-ranked Tennessee in tonight's championship game of the Maryland Invitational Tournament.

The sixth-ranked Terps got both items accomplished, drubbing the Bison, 101-46, and setting up a showdown with the Volunteers.

"We're very anxious to play [tonight]. The team is up for them [Tennessee]. They're a good team, but it's like playing any other team," said center Jessie Hicks, who had a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds in 19 minutes.

After winning the opening tip, the Terps survived their only remaining challenge against Howard, which was not to trip over the slower, shorter Bison on their numerous fast breaks.

In the first half alone, Maryland forced 22 Howard turnovers and made five more shots than the Bison took (24-19).

The Terps led 10-1 in the first four minutes, 32-9 with 7:49 left in the first half and by 50 with 10:12 left.

All 10 Maryland players who appeared scored. Point guard Lena Patterson dressed but did not play.

Maryland coach Chris Weller said Patterson was kept out of the game as a part of "a team thing," but said she would play tonight, raising speculation that she was hiding the freshman from Tennessee.

"I won't tell you. I can't give away all my secrets," said Weller with a smile.

As the clock wound down, the crowd that remained was reduced to cheering for Maryland to reach the 100-point mark.

And when reserve center Monica Adams put back a missed free throw with 20 seconds left, what remained of the crowd of 1,382 got what they came for.

Maryland (6-1) ran their all-time record against hapless Howard (0-9) to 17-0 and scored in triple figures against the Bison for the second straight season, falling just short of last season's 101-43 effort.

The Terps will meet a top-ranked team for the second time in the calendar year. They beat Virginia, 67-65, in Charlottesville last January, before assuming and then losing the mantle themselves to the Cavaliers a month later, 75-74, at Cole.

"I'm really excited," said senior guard Malissa Boles, whose 17-point effort was her best of the year. "In shooting practice, I could feel the excitement."

But the Volunteers will present a different challenge to Maryland than the Cavaliers with their inside power and stingy man-to-man defense.

"They're a big, powerful team. They're strong with great height, great size," said Weller.

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