Terps head to tourney out of tune Women have had inconsistent year

March 01, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- While the teams warmed up Saturday night before the Maryland women beat Wake Forest, the band played Phil Collins' "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven."

And for this season, truer notes were never played.

With the 80-65 win, the Terps (20-6, 11-5) clinched second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference and their 10th 20-win season in 18 years.

But there was still the sense that 12th-ranked Maryland could -- and perhaps should -- have had so much more.

In the last week of 1992, the Terps beat top-ranked Tennessee and then-No. 8 Purdue within four days, climbed to No. 3 in the nation and looked like a strong contender for the Final Four, using a blend of inside power and outside marksmanship.

However, once into conference play, Maryland stumbled, losing its second ACC game of the year on the road to Florida State, its quarterfinal opponent in next weekend's ACC tournament in Rock Hill, S.C.

The Terps played well in most games but were inconsistent in other games, inexplicably losing to the eighth-place Deacons in Winston-Salem, N.C., early last month.

Then, two weeks after beating North Carolina State by a club record 40 points in College Park, Maryland lost by two to the Wolfpack in Raleigh.

A good deal of Maryland's up-and-down play can be attributed to the way coach Chris Weller has juggled her rotation to find a consistent combination.

Weller used 11 starting lineups in the regular season, and though the losses came, the team added key offensive components besides center Jessie Hicks and guards Malissa Boles and Katrina Colleton.

Boles said: "We have had a lot of different lineups, and we've heard about that from some people. But that will give us more options, and that will show up in the ACC tournament. You have to play three days, and we plan to play three days."

Senior guard Monica Bennett, who has averaged 13.1 points in her past seven games, including two games of 24 points each, and junior forward Bonnie Rimkus have become important parts of the offense, though Rimkus' playing time has been reduced sharply in the past two weeks.

The Terps, who won the second seed in the ACC tournament over North Carolina by virtue of a tiebreaker, will face the Seminoles, with whom they split the season series, at 1 p.m. Saturday.

In other tournament pairings, the Deacons will meet ninth seed Duke in a play-in game Friday night, with the winner to meet top seed Virginia on Saturday.

The Tar Heels, the third seed, will take on sixth seed North Carolina State in the other half of the Maryland-Florida State bracket, and fourth seed Georgia Tech, which won a three-way tiebreaker with Clemson and the Wolfpack, will meet the fifth-seeded Tigers in the final quarterfinal game Saturday.

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