Terps women start out on defense for 82-49 win

November 28, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- The Maryland-American women's basketball game had long been decided when senior forward Bonnie Rimkus provided the day's talking point, a flat-footed blocked shot of Tiffany Turner's 15-foot jumper with 3:30 to play.

In the grand scheme of No. 23 Maryland's 82-49 romp over American yesterday, Rimkus' block was inconsequential, but illustrative.

With three starters, a valuable reserve and 68 percent of the 1992-93 offense lost to graduation, the Terps (1-0) will need to rely on defense.

The Maryland defense was more than up to the task yesterday at Cole Field House, as the Terps, who won their 21st opening game in 22 years, forced 23 American turnovers and held the Eagles to 36 percent shooting.

"Our emphasis was defense, and I think it showed," Maryland coach Chris Weller said. "It was the result of one person putting on some pressure and the other players scrambling."

The Maryland defense was a bit more complicated than that. The Terps used an effective set that stymied American and kept it from running much of an offense below the foul line.

"Their pressure was unbelievable," American coach Jeff Thatcher said. "It was almost like the physical pressure not only bottled us up, but it overwhelmed us. They did it early and often."

Rimkus said: "That was the plan to pick them up as soon as they crossed half-court. We're really concentrating on defense."

There was a fair bit of offense, too, as five Maryland players scored in double figures, led by senior Michele Andrew, who had 20 points.

Andrew and Rimkus, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds, emerged as Maryland's point producers, and although the senior frontcourt duo are capable, they'll need help if the Terps are to thrive.

Still, if yesterday's season opener was any indication, Maryland, picked for a finish in the middle of the Atlantic Coast Conference, may surpass expectations.

"The media is already telling us that we don't need to have so many worries, that we don't have to have such high expectations," Weller said. "We're going about setting our goal, which is to be the best we can be. We have the same expectations that we have every year."

The first half resembled nothing that will show up in either team's postseason highlight reel, as they slogged their way to 21 combined turnovers and 20 fouls.

The Eagles, who lost by 39 last season here, turned the ball over on their first three possessions and were pestered by the Terps' man-to-man defense.

After American pulled to three back with 13:37 left in the first half, Maryland launched a 17-4 run and was not seriously challenged the rest of the way.

American's Kristen Keller scored 16, but the Terps did a good job of keeping sophomore guard Gail Wilkens, last season's leading Eagles scorer, from breaking loose, limiting her to 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the floor.

"We wanted Gail to shoot the ball off the pass, but they kept her from doing that," Thatcher said. "It was just sort of ugly, and she had to force some things to get things happening, and it just didn't happen."

AMERICAN -- Baker 1-8 0-0 2, Hafnagel 4-8 0-2 8, Keller 8-13 0-16, Connell 0-3 0-0 0, Wilkins 3-10 5-5 12, Dorezas 0-3 0-0 0, Hirschler 2-5 1-2 5, Turner 0-4 0-0 0, Neeker 0-1 0-0 0, A.Dorfmeister 0-1 0-0 0, Campbell 2-2 0-0 4, B.Dorfmeister 0-0 0-0 0, Greenfield 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 21-59 6-9 49.

MARYLAND -- Andrew 8-14 4-6 20, Rimkus 6-15 4-6 17, Adams 4-7 4-4 12, Ferguson 0-0 4-4 4, Purvis 6-8 0-2 12, Camper 4-8 3-6 11, Ohman 0-0 0-2 0 Sloan 2-2 1-1 5, Williams 0-1 1-2 1, Anderson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-56 21-33 82.

Halftime--Maryland, 41-23. 3-point goals--AU 1-7 (Wilkins 1-2, Connell 0-2, Turner 0-2, Baker 0-1); Maryland 1-2 (Rimkus 1-2). Rebounds--AU 34 (Wilkins, Hafnagel 7); Maryland 40 (Rimkus 14). Assists--AU 10 (Wilkins, Dorezas 3); Maryland 19 (Ferguson 6). Total fouls--AU 26, Maryland 16. Fouled out--Keller. Technicals--none. A--883.

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