Terps women pay back Tar Heels, set up ACC title showdown, 73-52 Maryland plays at Va. on Tuesday

February 21, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- The obvious angle to yesterday's Maryland-North Carolina women's basketball game was that the winner would claim sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference going into the last week of the regular season.

In that regard, the 12th-ranked Terrapins took care of the obvious and dispatched the 14th-ranked Tar Heels, 73-52, for their second win over a ranked team in three days (Maryland defeated No. 20 Clemson, 81-73, Thursday night).

But, in the process, Maryland (19-5, 10-4) accomplished another task, sending the Tar Heels a message that they would not be dominated, physically or mentally.

As has been the case for most of the season, center Jessie Hicks was the chief messenger, with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Hicks, who got sick in the Maryland dressing room at halftime, took advantage of North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell's decision to play Hicks man-to-man, rather than with the collapsing zones that have confronted her all season.

"I just had to refocus myself," said Hicks. "We all wanted this game. We want to go out with a bang."

Said Maryland coach Chris Weller: "Jessie played phenomenal. This young lady got sick at halftime and played the second half as if nothing happened. This is the most focused Jessie's played in a while."

Hatchell said, "They went in to Jessie Hicks and she rose to the challenge."

The Maryland win sets up Tuesday night's game with 11th-ranked Virginia (11-3, 19-5) in Charlottesville as a battle for the ACC regular-season title and top seed in next month's ACC tournament.

Hicks, who has been in a recent mini-slump, was understandably focused on North Carolina (19-5, 9-5). The Tar Heels humiliated the Terps last month in Chapel Hill, scoring 85 points, the most Maryland has yielded all season.

And Hicks bore the physical brunt of the humiliation, as she was hurt late in the first half by a shot to the stomach from North Carolina's Tonya Sampson.

Sampson, who scored 38 that night, said after the contest that she "out-physicaled" Maryland and the Terps appeared to collectively shrink, giving the psychological victory to North Carolina.

Yesterday, however, the Terps looked as feisty as they have all year.

Said Hicks: "As a team, we had to play aggressively, but keep our composure, run our offense and get good defense."

"If it was going to be physical, then it was going to be physical, but nothing flagrant," said guard Malissa Boles, who had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. "If we got hit, we were going to say, 'Come hit me again.' We weren't going to take it."

What the Terps took instead were daring chances on defense and virtually all of them worked, as they held the Tar Heels to their lowest scoring output of the season and a paltry 33 percent shooting.

"Maryland and North Carolina are two great teams, but it will take little things like boxing out and intensity that raise one team above another and that's what Maryland did," said North Carolina center Sylvia Crawley.

The Terps drew a particular bead on Sampson, who was held out of the starting lineup for reportedly refusing to run with the team after its loss earlier in the week to North Carolina State.

Sampson, the ACC's leading scorer, was hampered by the flu and scored just eight points to go along with nine rebounds and seven turnovers.

Sampson looked frazzled, thanks to the Maryland defense, which picked her up almost immediately after she received the ball and stayed with her through the possession.

"We came into the game with a focus to have good defense and a better transition game and you could see it today in the good [defensive] rotation we had," said Boles.

The Tar Heels led 25-18 with 6:44 left in the first half, but the Terps closed the half on a 20-6 run that pushed them ahead 38-31 at the break.

From there, Maryland scored the first five points of the second half, and was never seriously challenged the rest of the way.

ACC women's standings

.. .. .. .. .. .. Conf. .. .. .. Overall

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

Virginia .. .. .. .11 .. ..3 .. .. 19 .. .5 .. .. .792

Maryland .. .. .. .10 .. ..4 .. .. 19 .. .5 .. .. .792

North Carolina .. ..9 .. ..5 .. .. 19 .. .5 .. .. .792

Clemson .. .. .. .. 7 .. ..7 .. .. 15... .8 .. .. .652

N.C. State.. .. .. 6 .. ..7 .. .. 12 .. 11 .. .. .522

Georgia Tech .. .. .6 .. ..8 .. .. 13 .. .9 .. .. .591

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

Wake Forest .. .. ..4 .. ..9 .. .. 13 .. 10 .. .. .565

Duke .. .. .. .. .. 3.. ..10 .. .. 12 .. 11 .. .. .522

Yesterday's results

Maryland 73, North Carolina 52

Virginia 87, Clemson 70

Today's games

N.C. State at Florida State, 2

Wake Forest at Georgia Tech, 2

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