Weller is looking to get Terps women focused Concern is losses to bottom teams

February 18, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

MILTON KENT — COLLEGE PARK -- If the game of basketball were strictly a physical endeavor, the Maryland women's players would have a sizable edge virtually every time they step on the court.

But lately, mental lapses have stripped a portion of the physical edge away for the No. 12 Terps.

As a result, they've fallen out of The Associated Press top 10 for the first time since Nov. 27, 1991, a period of 27 straight weeks.

"Some members of the team could be more focused and they understand that. They're working on it. They haven't given up on their abilities, by any means," said Chris Weller, whose team has lost two of its past five games to teams in the lower end of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The most recent example of Maryland's mental funk came Saturday at North Carolina State, where the Terps dropped a 74-72 decision to the same Wolfpack team that lost to last-place Duke three nights earlier and whom Maryland drubbed by 40 two weeks before.

What made the loss more shocking was that Maryland had stormed back from a 13-point first-half deficit to lead by 10 with 4:45 left in the game.

That's the point of a contest where talented teams, and certainly squads with Final Four aspirations like Maryland, put lesser teams away.

"I thought that [the first N. C. State game] would be a confidence builder to let us know that we had a killer instinct," said senior guard Malissa Boles. "We've had a few lapses and they've cost us."

Weller expressed "disappointment" in her inability to get her team to take the Wolfpack more seriously after the game here, in which the Terps led N. C. State by only six points with five minutes left in the first half.

Maryland went on a 32-1 run over the next eight minutes to break open the game.

"I couldn't get them to believe that a 40-point win can be so deceiving and it was," said Weller. "We blew the game open in a couple of minutes and N. C. State kind of gave up in the second half, which is highly irregular for an N. C. State team."

Beyond that, the Terps haven't looked crisp offensively since the N. C. State blowout on Jan. 30, scoring more than 75 points in a game only once, a 90-71 win over Duke.

But, for all the stops and starts, the Terps, perched in third, a game behind Virginia, are in command for the ACC regular-season championship.

With four games remaining and only one road contest, Maryland can clinch the title and top seed in next month's ACC tournament by sweeping all four.

The task, however, might be easier said than done, since the opponents are No. 20 Clemson tonight, No. 14 North Carolina on Saturday afternoon, No. 11 Virginia at Charlottesville on Tuesday and Wake Forest next Saturday night.

The Tar Heels and Demon Deacons have beaten Maryland, and the Terps could eke out only four-point wins over Virginia and Clemson.

ACC women's standings

=3.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Conf. .. .. .. .. Overall

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. W .. .. L .. .. W .. .. L .. .. Pct.

Virginia .. .. .. .. .. 9 .. .. 3 .. . 17 .. .. 5 .. .. .773

North Carolina .. .. .. 9 .. .. 4 .. . 19 .. .. 4 .. .. .826

Maryland .. .. .. .. .. 8 .. .. 4 .. . 17 .. .. 5 .. .. .773

Clemson ... .. .. .. .. 7 .. .. 5 .. . 15 .. .. 6 .. .. .714

N.C. State ... .. .. .. 6 .. .. 6 .. . 12 .. . 10 .. .. .545

Georgia Tech . .. .. .. 5 .. .. 8 .. . 12 .. .. 9 .. .. .571

Florida State ... .. .. 5 .. .. 8 .. . 12 .. . 11 .. .. .522

Wake Forest .. .. .. .. 4 .. .. 7 .. . 13 .. .. 8 .. .. .619

Duke ... .. .. .. .. .. 2 .. . 10 .. . 11 .. . 11 .. .. .500

Yesterday's result

Wake Forest at Virginia

Today's game

Clemson at Maryland, 7:30

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