Weary Terps women no match for Clemson Maryland falls, 63-44, in ACC tourney semifinal

March 01, 1998|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In retrospect, the outcome of yesterday's Maryland-Clemson semifinal in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament was decided just after the horn sounded on the Terps' quarterfinal win over North Carolina State the night before.

The Terps, in pulling off the upset of the ninth-ranked Wolfpack, had expended so much energy and played with such a fierce intensity that, with their depleted numbers, it was difficult to imagine them matching that intensity for a second game.

The second-seeded Tigers pressed and trapped the weary Terps (15-13) all over the Independence Arena floor on the way to a methodical 63-44 win and a berth in today's championship game against fourth-seed North Carolina, which beat top-seed Duke, 56-52.

"The joy of victory and the agony of defeat, I guess. That's what happens in tournament play," said Maryland coach Chris Weller. "They jumped on us so hard right in the beginning. They wouldn't let us get into any kind of rhythm. They did a great job."

And No. 16 Clemson (24-6) never let up, holding the Terps to the lowest point total ever for a Maryland team in the 21-year history of the ACC tournament, an event the Terps have won a record eight times.

The deeper Tigers started to press right off the opening tip, and quickly ran out to an 8-4 lead. Maryland, off a free throw from TTC Kalisa Davis and a baseline jumper from Kelley Gibson, drew to within one, but Clemson ran off nine straight points, punctuated by the second of Amy Geren's three first-half three-pointers, and the Terps never threatened.

"This is not a knock on the University of Maryland, but they played so hard [Friday] and their greatest weakness is a lack of depth," said Clemson coach Jim Davis, who used 12 players to Maryland's seven. "That was something we wanted to exploit by pressing full court. It took its toll."

Trailing by 13 at halftime, Maryland, which had four players go at least 35 minutes, was forced out of its desired deliberate tempo and into pressing and trapping in the second half to try to get back into the game, but the Tigers beat them back for easy baskets.

"We tried to stay with our game plan for three-quarters of the game, and then we knew we had to change things to try and win at the end," said Weller. "We had to do things that we knew were not in our best interests, but you've got to do do what you've got to do to see if you can win. We got a little frustrated. We couldn't stop them."

In what was likely her final collegiate game, senior guard Sonia Chase (McDonogh), the focus of Clemson's defense, had a team-high 12 points.

In the first semifinal, the 10th-ranked Tar Heels erased a seven-point deficit in the second half with their best player, senior forward Tracy Reid, on the bench in foul trouble.

Reserve guard Jessica Gaspar hit a three-pointer on the right wing with 2: 50 to go to break a 48-48 tie, then sank two free throws with 23 seconds left to secure the win over No. 8 Duke (21-7) and send North Carolina (23-6) in search of their fourth ACC tournament title in four years.

MARYLAND -- Chase 5-10 2-4 12, K.Davis 3-4 3-8 9, Bogunovic 2-3 1-2 5, Brown 2-10 0-0 6, Gibson 2-7 0-1 4, Cross 2-10 4-6 8, McIntyre 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-44 10-21 44.

CLEMSON -- Jeanette Davis 2-4 1-2 6, Jennifer Davis 0-2 0-0 0, Thomas 2-3 0-0 4, Umoh 4-10 7-7 15, Geren 5-10 0-0 13, N.Forns 0-0 0-0 0, Gaines 0-1 0-0 0, M.Forns 0-0 0-0 0, Batth 2-3 0-0 4, Blassingame 5-7 1-1 11, Percy 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 5-8 0-2 10. Totals 25-48 9-12 63.

Halftime--Clemson, 35-22. 3-point goals--Maryland 2-11 (Brown 2-10, Gibson 0-1), Clemson 4-10 (Geren 3-6, Jeanette Davis 1-1, Batth 0-1, Umoh 0-2). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Maryland 28 (K.Davis, Gibson 6), Clemson 29 (Thomas 6). Assists--Maryland 8 (K.Davis 4), Clemson 15 (Umoh, Anderson 3). Total fouls--Maryland 15, Clemson 17. A--5,147.

Pub Date: 3/01/98

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