Sampson's 38 help Heels top Terps women, 85-80 Upset knocks No. 5 Maryland from 1st in ACC

January 24, 1993|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- True to her name, North Carolina guard Tonya Sampson is one of the strongest players in the Atlantic Coast Conference, maybe in all of women's college basketball.

Maryland knew all about Sampson, but it didn't matter last night at Carmichael Auditorium. The No. 5 Terps couldn't stop the 5-foot-9 junior, who led the No. 20 Tar Heels to an 85-80 upset.

It wasn't just the career-high 38 points she scored on a mixture of feathery jumpers from the outside and power drives to the basket. It wasn't just her 14 rebounds and six assists.

Sampson intimidated the Terps with her presence, not to mention a well-placed elbow to the midsection of Maryland center Jessie Hicks late in the first half.

"I 'out-physicaled' them and I outplayed them," said Sampson, who made 10 of 23 from the field and a school-record 16 of 19 from the free-throw line, including seven of eight foul shots in the last 44 seconds.

Said Maryland coach Chris Weller: "That was the top performance of any player I've seen this year."

The defeat knocked Maryland (12-3, 4-2) out of first place in the ACC. The Terps are a half-game game behind North Carolina (14-2, 5-2). The surprising Tar Heels, who started 0-2 in the league, have won five straight ACC games for the first time since 1984-85.

"I think UNC played a great game," Weller said. "Tonya Sampson was very tough to stop."

It was the most points scored by a team against the Terps since an 86-80 loss to North Carolina State last year. It was the most points scored by an opponent against Maryland since Tonya Hansen of Rutgers scored 34 last season.

"I decided at the end of the game to put the ball in Tonya's hands," said North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell, cradling the game ball from her 100th career victory -- and certainly her most important since coming here seven years ago. "I'm glad we did."

Not that Sampson did it by herself. After carrying the Tar Heels to a 50-39 lead with a little more than 16 minutes to play, Sampson got some help from sophomore forward Charlotte Smith.

Smith, a cousin of former N.C. State star David Thompson, finished with 22 points. After the Terps cut their deficit to 63-60, Smith scored 12 points in a six-minute span that enabled the Tar Heels to stretch their lead to 78-72.

"I think Charlotte did a great job taking some of the pressure off me," Sampson said, jokingly.

After North Carolina led by seven, 81-74, Maryland cut its deficit to four on a three-point shot by Katrina Colleton (21 points). After two free throws by Sampson, Michele Andrew hit another three-pointer for the Terps. They were the only three-pointers that Maryland made all game.

The Tar Heels also did a good job defensively in the second half on Hicks, who scored 17 of her team-high 24 points before halftime. They double- and even triple-teamed Hicks at times.

"They were the most physical team we've seen this year," said Weller.

Weller wouldn't go as far to say that Sampson was the most physical player Maryland has matched up against this year. Or even if she is the most physical player, despite her height, in the ACC.

"Tonight she was," said Weller.

NOTES: Sampson's 38 points equaled the most by any player in the ACC this season. . . . After playing five of their past six games on the road -- including a seven-point loss at Florida State -- the Terps play their next two games and five of their next six at home, starting with the unranked Seminoles tomorrow night at Cole Field House.

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