Boles lifts Terps over Tech, 75-70

February 08, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- The nickname "Shooter" has followed Malissa Boles from her junior college days in Kentucky to the Maryland women's basketball team.

It has little to do with her shooting form, which more resembles a swimmer kicking than a guard shooting, but more with her propensity to take clutch shots.

That knack was on display yesterday as Boles hit a clutch jumper and three free throws in the final minute to help the seventh-ranked Terps hold off Georgia Tech, 75-70, before 1,565 at Cole Field House.

Boles, a 5-foot-10 senior from Milwaukee who had a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, had seven of Maryland's last eight points, as the Terps (16-4, 8-3) remained a half-game behind North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference race.

About the baseline jumper with 57 seconds left, Boles said, "We were looking slow. I was open and I felt I could make it, so I took it."

It wasn't quite that simple. In fact, the Maryland offense had gone stagnant, with only a put-back by Bonnie Rimkus and a three-pointer by reserve Monica Bennett in the eight minutes before Boles' basket.

"It looked like she [Boles] was focused," said Georgia Tech forward Joyce Pierce. "She came to play."

A preseason All-American, Boles started the year slowly, suffering from bad knees. Not so coincidentally, her shooting percentage tailed off, dipping below 30 percent.

However, she has picked up her play in the past six games, shooting 55 percent from the field and averaging 16.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists during that span.

"Malissa's been playing like that all season," said Maryland coach Chris Weller. "I never once thought of taking her out of the starting lineup. She's a competitor and anybody with any degree of common sense doesn't take a competitor out of the lineup."

The Yellow Jackets (10-9, 4-8), who were trounced by co-second place Virginia on Friday night, had plenty of chances to pack it in, especially when the Terps took a 62-49 lead with 9:18 left.

But Georgia Tech, switching to a 1-2-2 zone trap, took off on a 17-7 run to pull to within three at 69-66 with 1:32 left, when Pierce (20 points) made two free throws.

"I never thought we were out of it. It was a game the entire time," said Georgia Tech coach Agnus Berenato. "With 16 seconds left, I thought we could still win. I'm very confident in this team."

Her confidence was well placed.

The Jackets' run yesterday was reminiscent of the opening game of last season's ACC tournament, when Georgia Tech made up a 17-point deficit in the last eight minutes to upset then fourth-ranked Maryland, 70-69, at the buzzer.

"That's going to cross your mind, but we felt pretty confident and thankfully it didn't come back to haunt us," said Terps guard Katrina Colleton.

Following Pierce's foul shots, Boles and center Jessie Hicks, who, like Rimkus, had 14 points, took turns rebounding each other's missed free throws to use up time.

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