View of past helps Terps see way to win Purvis' layup at buzzer tops No. 18 Clemson, 74-72

February 11, 1996|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- It wasn't by accident that Maryland women's basketball coach Chris Weller had her charges watch tapes of former Terps teams before last night's game with No. 18 Clemson.

Weller was gambling that some of the determination and grit from teams that won three Final Fours and eight Atlantic Coast Conference championships would filter through to the current crew.

The gamble paid off as junior guard Lillian Purvis hit a layup at the buzzer to give the Terps a 74-72 upset win over the Tigers, Maryland's second straight home victory over a ranked opponent.

Purvis, who missed an open 15-footer and nearly threw away a pass in the final minute, atoned by catching a pass from Sonia Chase and flicking in a shot from four feet out as the horn sounded.

"I saw there was 3.8 seconds or something like that. I ran and I was open. We were just running our offense," said Purvis, who had 14 points.

The Terps (10-12, 4-8 in the ACC) squandered a 16-point, second-half lead, and watched Clemson's Stephanie Ridgeway tie the score with 3.8 seconds to go.

Rather than call a timeout, which would have allowed Clemson (17-4, 7-4) to set up a defense, Kelley Gibson fired an in-bounds pass to Chase near mid-court on the Maryland end. The McDonogh graduate then hit Purvis for her sixth assist of the night.

"If I got stopped, I was going to call timeout, but I didn't even think. I got the ball and I looked down the court and I saw Lil," said Chase.

RTC Said Clemson coach Jim Davis: "It was a great, poised play from such young players to be able to convert like that. It was a great play not only from Lillian Purvis, but from the passers as well."

The heroics obscured a strong effort from Gibson, who had 28 points, on 10-for-19 shooting from the floor, to go along with nine rebounds and four assists.

Gibson, a redshirt freshman who missed all but three games last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, has returned slowly, with her shot and ability to finish returning as the season has gone on.

"It's been hard in practice. My teammates have been after me, 'Finish the play, Kelley,' " said Gibson. "I felt stronger today and more intense than I have."

The Terps dropped a 17-point decision to Clemson on the road last Wednesday in a game rescheduled because of the blizzard last month. They beat No. 14 Duke, 63-52, last Monday.

The Tigers' half-court trap gave Maryland fits Wednesday, forcing 25 turnovers. But the Terps adjusted last night, responding with only 16 turnovers and poised play -- thanks in no small part to their pre-game screening.

"It just fired us up. It made us feel like we could play like those guys from that era. This is our era now," said Gibson.

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