Last-ditch rally carries UM women 12 behind with 4: 26 left, Terps nip Deacons, 61-59

January 05, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- The Maryland women's basketball team could have used a breather yesterday. Wake Forest was expected to provide it.

But there was nothing of the sort for the Terps, who overcame a 12-point deficit to win, 61-59, before 632 at Cole Field House.

When the off-balance, heavily guarded three-point attempt of Heidi Coleman went nowhere, Maryland (9-4, 2-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) escaped with an important win before facing three Top 25 teams in the next four games.

"I'm proud of our comeback," Terrapins coach Chris Weller said. "I think we showed as much intensity as I've seen in a few years. That was a very positive sign for us."

With 4: 26 remaining, matters looked bleak for Maryland after the Demon Deacons' Olivia Dardy scored an inside basket to give Wake Forest a 56-44 lead.

Feeling the pressure, the Terps decided to apply a little of their own. Wake Forest (4-10, 0-4) wasn't up to it, and Maryland took advantage.

The full-court press led to two steals and subsequent layups by Tiffany Brown and Kelley Gibson, cutting the Demon Deacons' lead to 56-48 with 3: 38 remaining.

Wake Forest -- used to the luxury of open shots on its way to 50 percent shooting for the game -- began throwing up errant shots, when it got shots at all. On at least two occasions in the closing minutes, the Deacons committed shot-clock violations.

After baskets by Kalisa Davis, who led Maryland with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Branka Bogunovic, Maryland had reduced the deficit to 56-54 with 2: 25 remaining. Bogunovic then hit a free throw to make the score 55-54 with 1: 41 remaining.

Dardy, who scored 12 off the bench and helped establish Wake Forest's first-half dominance, had a chance to bump the lead back to three with 1: 36 left, but she missed the front end of a one-and-one.

This set the stage for Gibson's baseline jumper, which gave Maryland the lead for good with 1: 25 left.

The Deacons had several chances to take the lead back, but hurt themselves down the stretch with an air ball and a traveling call.

Coleman's three-pointer with 15.4 seconds left cut Maryland's lead to one, but Brown hit a free throw to put the lead back to two before Wake Forest's last chance.

Maryland's late flurry ruined a great effort while redeeming a dubious one.

"We played with a lot of heart, a lot of enthusiasm and intensity, and we just let it slip through our fingers in the last five minutes," said Wake Forest guard Kristen Shaffer, who had 12 points to share team-high honors with Dardy. "That [five minutes] is what bothers us the most. We had the game."

Weller said: "Because we weren't hitting and they were hitting, we could have easily started to panic and try anything, but we didn't."

Pub Date: 1/05/98

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