Md. women get past Ga. Tech

January 03, 1994|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland women's basketball coach Chris Weller saw all but the last 3.5 seconds of the first half of yesterday's game with Georgia Tech.

By then, a troubling pattern of turnovers and sluggish play had so soured Weller that she took off for the locker room before the buzzer.

Things didn't get a whole lot better, but the 20th-ranked Terps played well enough down the stretch to eke out a 69-62 win in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener.

"We picked up our final turnover and there really wasn't anything to see," said Weller of her abrupt departure. "Usually, it's when I care the most. I was upset because I really care about this team and I get upset when they don't make the adjustments."

The Terps (6-3, 1-0) consistently didn't adjust to the scrappy Yellow Jackets (4-4, 1-1), who lost seven players to graduation.

Still, Georgia Tech pressed and trapped the more experienced Maryland players all over the floor, forcing 24 turnovers, nearly pulling off an upset.

"They [Terps] are not big, they are huge," said Georgia Tech coach Agnus Berenato. "They are a veteran team. We're looking at a whole new team. No one knows what to expect and neither do we. It's tremendous that we forced -- and I want to emphasize we forced -- 24 turnovers."

The Terps, who dropped a 56-55 decision to unranked Washington on Wednesday night and gave up 35 turnovers, looked like the inexperienced squad most of the game.

For a huge chunk of the game, Maryland played sloppily and ran into Georgia Tech defenses. When they did set up the offense, the Terps often took poor shots.

"I think we're good enough to play with anyone in the country, but we're not so overly talented that we can just show up," said Weller. "We're going to win because we work really hard and we make good adjustments."

Weller was frustrated enough in Maryland's lethargy to bench her three seniors, Bonnie Rimkus, Monica Adams and Michele Andrew, for a five-minute stretch of the second half.

When they returned with 7:03 left, Rimkus hit a jumper in the lane and knocked down two free throws, and Adams hit a put-back to give Maryland a two-point lead.

"Monica and I came right off the bench and we picked up a bit. We had to," said Rimkus, who scored a game-high 18 points.

Still, the Terps have displayed a couple of habits that could spell disaster down the road.

For one, Maryland has turned the ball over 59 times in the past two games, not the mark of a team that is ranked among the nation's elite.

Just as troubling is their seeming ineptitude on the offensive boards. Georgia Tech out-rebounded Maryland 20-7 on the offensive end, which followed Washington's 16-4 dominance Wednesday.

"Rebounding. That's all we've talked about lately," said Weller. "Maybe I'll stop talking about it since I hope they understand now how important it is."

The Yellow Jackets, who led by seven at one point in the first half, forced the tempo for most of the afternoon, but collapsed in the last six minutes.

The Terps did a nice job defensively on freshman forward Kisha Ford (Bryn Mawr). Ford, The Baltimore Sun's Player of the Year last year and Georgia Tech's leading scorer, was held to four points, 11 below her average.

"Each game, someone has to step up and play well," said Ford. "I just didn't do it today."

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