Maryland women rush by Fla. State 91-68 win puts Terps in ACC semis

March 07, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

ROCK HILL, S.C. -- For 30 minutes yesterday, the Florida State women's basketball team had all the necessary ingredients to pull off an upset of No. 12 Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

The Seminoles had discipline, heart and the skill of All-ACC forward Tia Paschal, who torched the Terps for 36 points.

But the Seminoles were short of the most important ingredient -- overall talent -- and Maryland broke open a surprisingly close contest in the second half on the way to a 91-68 victory.

The second-seeded Terps advanced to today's semifinals to meet third-seeded North Carolina, which beat North Carolina State, 89-71, in the second of four quarterfinal games at the Winthrop Coliseum. Virginia and Georgia Tech will meet in the other semifinal.

Maryland (21-6) and North Carolina (22-5) split in the regular season, each winning at home. Though each team finished the conference schedule at 11-5, the Terps earned the higher seed in a tiebreaker.

Paschal's sheer will eventually could not erase Maryland's distinct advantage in ability. The Seminoles have just six scholarship players and no true center.

Maryland's Jessie Hicks made the most of the Terps' superiority, scoring a career-high 29 points and pulling down a season-high 12 rebounds to go along with four blocks.

"I just stayed within the offense, gave good seals and posted well," said Hicks, who made 14 of her 16 field-goal attempts.

Maryland coach Chris Weller said, "We felt offensively we had an advantage inside and we wanted to capitalize on it when we could."

Paschal, a 5-foot-11 senior who tied an ACC tournament record with 15 field goals, was sensational, using her quickness to slip around interior defenders for good shots.

"I knew I just couldn't stand there and shoot because she [Hicks] would just come over and block my shots," said Paschal. "I had to do whatever I could to get my points."

Ultimately, the seventh-seeded Seminoles (12-13) had no answer for Maryland's depth and skill, and the Terps, who led by five with 12:55 left, blew it open with a 24-10 burst in the next 10 minutes.

"It's pretty tough to play at this level with just eight players,

when two of them have hardly played," said Florida State coach Marynell Meadors. "We fought hard all the way to the end, but we seemed to lose our legs somewhere midway through the second half."

The Seminoles, who beat Maryland in January in Tallahassee, actually gave the Terps fits yesterday with their smaller size, forcing Maryland out of the man-to-man defense it traditionally plays and into a zone.

That permitted Florida State to find gaps in the zone and shoot from them, which worked in the first half, when the Seminoles hit 53 percent of their shots to trail 41-36 at halftime.

But the Terps, who hit 68 percent from the field in the first half and 62 percent for the game, were efficient offensively as well, using not only Hicks' strength inside, but also good penetration and effective jumpers out of their running game.

"We wanted to keep the offense spread and not let them gang up on Jessie," said Malissa Boles. "Our goal was to score in transition and off our defense."

Maryland added the final component with the insertion of reserve forward Bonnie Rimkus with about 15 minutes left to join Hicks on the front line.

Rimkus, whose playing time has been sharply reduced recently because of perceived defensive liabilities, had 13 points in her limited time, with five rebounds and two steals.

Said Weller: "I thought Bonnie played really well. I know people say, 'Why doesn't that coach play that girl more often?' Well, today, we were just trying to feel our way with the zone and Bonnie is not as strong in this particular matchup.

"This is the first game we've won here at Rock Hill, so we're really pleased," said Weller. "We're looking forward to just sticking around for a while."

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