Terps spike Heels in upset UM returns to glory with 84-62 laugher against No. 7 UNC

January 19, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- With its morale already wounded after a three-game losing streak, the Maryland women's basketball team did not want to be embarrassed at home, on national TV no less.

Better to embarrass someone else, and that's exactly what happened as the Terrapins defeated seventh-ranked North Carolina, 84-62, yesterday at Cole Field House.

With several former players and assistants from better days among the 3,278 in attendance, Maryland used 57.1 percent second-half shooting and a career-high 26 points from Tiffany Brown to get its biggest win since defeating top-ranked Tennessee on Dec. 30, 1992.

"We really didn't think about the television, but it makes everyone feel so much better that we showed the whole world what we did," said Brown, who set a school record with seven three-pointers. "We were very excited. It was a beautiful feeling. They were pumping us up and we were pumping ourselves up. It was great."

Maryland (10-7, 3-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) used a 20-6 run late in the game to confirm what Maryland coach Chris Weller and North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said they both knew -- the Terps were better than they showed during their losing streak and the Tar Heels (13-4, 4-3) might have some growing up to do.

"We're delighted with the game," said Weller, whose team kept Hatchell from her 500th career victory. "This was our best game of the season, no doubt."

Maryland, which led from start to finish, held a four-point lead at halftime, and a Branka Bogunovic basket with 19: 32 gave the Terps a 31-25 lead.

This was when North Carolina seemed poised to make a move. The Tar Heels' leading scorer Tracy Reid, held in check during the first half, scored two baskets in the span of a minute, cutting Maryland's lead to 37-36, with 14: 26 left.

After Maryland forward Stephanie Cross hit a jump shot, Carolina's Natasha Davis cut the lead back to one and gave Weller reason to be worried.

"They're a team where you just hold your breath and wait for them to explode," Weller said. "They're a very explosive team and I have a lot of respect for them."

It was Maryland that shined brightly while the Tar Heels fizzled. As she did several times during the game, Brown answered a Carolina threat by hitting a three-pointer, one of a school-record seven threes that she hit.

Her three-pointer with 13: 22 left gave Maryland just the margin it needed, at 42-38, which was as close as North Carolina would get the rest of the game.

Over the next seven minutes, Maryland played tough defense while the Tar Heels played sloppy offense. Nikki Teasley and Reid had 25 and 17 points, respectively, but they were mostly quiet during this period, after which the Terrapins found themselves up, 59-44.

"I'm just very proud of how the team held their composure," Weller said. "They showed a lot of pride in that situation."

Meanwhile, Hatchell was resigned to the fact that her team had some improving to do in the poise department. It ended in North Carolina's most lopsided loss since a 25-point blowout against Virginia on Jan. 8, 1992.

"Maryland played well, but we are our worst enemy," said Hatchell, who described the anticipation of her 500th win as a jinx.

After the spurt, Maryland cruised, leading by 30 at one point and turning the game into a shocker, except for the team that was winning.

"We lost three in a row and we had a lot of people asking what was wrong," Weller said, "but nothing was wrong. Right now, we're where we should have been in December."

Brown provided the first six points for Maryland, which held Carolina without a basket for more than four minutes and took a 12-2 lead.

"I didn't know I would make that many, though I thought I'd make a few," Brown said. "At the beginning, it wasn't really there, but now I'm into my shot and know exactly what I need to do."

Pub Date: 1/19/98

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