Kicking tar out of Heels isn't NCAA ticket

On Women's Basketball

January 23, 1998|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

When the horn sounded Sunday afternoon at Cole Field House, public address announcer Nick Kovalikedes declared "deja vu all over again," as for the second time in a week, a Maryland basketball team had conquered a North Carolina team xTC ranked in the Top 10, thrashing the Tar Heels, 84-62.

But unlike their male counterparts, the Terps women may not be able to parlay their upset into postseason gold.

With nine regular-season games and at least one game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament remaining, Maryland (10-7) will need at least seven more wins, and probably eight, to make the NCAA tournament.

And even that might be difficult, given the Terps' rather soft nonconference schedule, which includes wins over lightweights like Harvard, Holy Cross and Hampton and bad losses to St. Peter's and Loyola. And the Terps still will have to reckon with conference leaders Clemson and North Carolina State, as well as another tussle with the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, and Virginia, whom they haven't beaten in the last 11 games.

But Maryland will have some things in its favor, including winnable games with Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, and two games against Florida State, including tonight's meeting.

And even if they miss the NCAA tournament, the Terps will have the warm memory of destroying North Carolina, the league's trash-talking leaders, before a big crowd and a national television audience.

'Car-pooling' in title drive

Duke coach Gail Goestenkors, whose Blue Devils dealt N.C. State its first ACC loss Monday, agrees it's too early to call the conference's topsy-turvy race.

"Within a week, we could all change positions," she said. "People are saying Clemson's in the driver's seat, but I don't think there is one this year. We're all car-pooling."

Laboring for a shot

On Jan. 7, Mary Beth Kennedy gave birth to her third child at 2: 35 a.m. At 7: 30 that evening, she returned to work, coaching the Nebraska Wesleyan team.

"You're either very criticized or people think you're awesome. I would have been a nut sitting in that hospital room," Kennedy said.

Kennedy, who missed a game three years ago for the birth of her first child, had been asked by her doctor to induce birth two days earlier, but she persuaded him to wait until Jan. 9 after the game against Midland Lutheran.

However, the baby had other ideas.

Kennedy's contractions began in the evening of Jan. 6, and she finished practice, watched film and took her team to dinner before watching the school's men's team. She then checked into a hospital in Lincoln at 10: 30.

Four hours later, Jaret John Mowrey arrived. He's 0-1, as Nebraska Wesleyan lost, 79-64.

By the numbers

Because the NCAA has been reluctant to release it, the women's Ratings Percentage Index has been a mystery for years, but the Women's Basketball Coaches Association is now posting its own.

Here's this week's Top 10, with the school's Associated Press ranking following: Tennessee (1), Old Dominion (2), Texas Tech (5), Arkansas (not ranked), Connecticut (3), Utah (14), N.C. State Illinois (6), Hawaii (not ranked) and Florida (10).

Maryland comes in at 29, with Loyola at 98 and Towson at 114.

Pub Date: 1/23/98

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