Terps women upset No.1 Vols Boles,Hicks spark Maryland, 77-72

December 31, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Malissa Boles got the feeling a night earlier in shooting practice. It was the same feeling that came over her last January, when the Maryland women's basketball team traveled to Charlottesville to wrest the No. 1 ranking away from Virginia.

So, how fitting was it that Boles was front and center when the Terps (7-1) knocked Tennessee (7-1) from its perch atop the rankings last night with a 77-72 win in the final of the Maryland Invitational Tournament?

Very fitting.

Boles, picked on a number of preseason All-America teams, had had a poor season, but when sixth-ranked Maryland needed the right pass and the clutch shot last night, the 5-foot-11 guard from Milwaukee was there.

Boles was hoarse, but her play spoke for itself: 16 points and a game-high six assists.

"She's really been struggling. I told her not to worry about it," said Maryland coach Chris Weller. "She's a gutsy young lady. She's playing on bad knees, but I don't think anything will stop her."

Center Jessie Hicks had a game-high 20 points and earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Forward Bonnie Rimkus scored 17, including the last two free throws with 10 seconds left to clinch it.

Trailing by six at the half, the Terps climbed back steadily and took advantage of Tennessee's foul trouble to win before 3,680 at Cole Field House, the second-largest crowd in Maryland women's history.

"The second half of the game, I asked the team to play the game, not the score," Weller said. "Tennessee is such a great team that you start to scare yourself. That's what I thought we did the best: staying together."

Said Tennessee coach Pat Summitt: "We dug a hole for ourselves. I'd like to blame somebody other than Tennessee, but it was our own fault."

Maryland will gain some upward movement in the polls with the (( win, but faces a tough challenge Saturday against eighth-ranked Purdue in Columbus,Ohio, in a nationally televised game.

"We have to come to practice [today] and play at the same level. If we do, we'll be OK. We just have to take it in stride," said Hicks.

Boles hit a tough baseline shot with 13:34 left to pull the Terps within four. Rimkus then connected on the wing to cut the Tennessee lead to 54-52 with 13:08 left.

Tennessee's Dana Johnson (Western) then sank one of two free throws to give the Volunteers a three-point lead, but Rimkus hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 57 with 11:25 left and Katrina Colleton connected on the baseline to give Maryland a lead it would not surrender, 59-57.

PTC "We thought they would focus on Hicks and we were more concerned with stopping her," said Tennessee forward Lisa Harrison. "When we backed off, they hit from the perimeter. We )) didn't know what to do."

"At the 4-minute mark, I told our staff that I didn't see us digging down," said Summitt. "They [Terps] were well-coached and well-prepared. Those kids wanted this game."

The Terps shot 57 percent in the second half and limited the Volunteers, who went to the line 12 times in the first half, to just three free-throw attempts in the second half.

Hicks, who missed 10 minutes of the first half with two fouls, was particularly effective in the second half with 12 points and two blocks.

"We were hungrier throughout the whole game. They [Volunteers] played a really good game and their post players were good, but we just played the whole 40 minutes."

Boles, however, was the story, playing under control and making wonderful passes, including a brilliant touch pass to Hicks for an easy layup with 5:04 left.

"At other times, other players have stepped up for us offensively, but Malissa did it . . . when we needed her. She made all the shots that we needed," said Hicks.

The win over Tennessee marked the second time in the calendar year that Maryland has defeated the top-ranked team, and only the third time in 10 meetings that the Terps have beaten the Volunteers, who have won three national championships in the past six years.

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