Terps overrun Georgetown in opener

Warley scores 19 as UM keeps Hoyas under wraps in 63-46 win

Va. Tech next

Women's NIT

March 17, 2000|By Rupen Fofaria | Rupen Fofaria,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK -- When it comes to her youthful basketball team, Maryland women's basketball coach Chris Weller is hard to surprise.

She was not surprised that her team dominated Georgetown with its interior offense and its rebounding yesterday in the Women's National Invitation Tournament.

And she was not surprised at the margin of the Terps' 63-46 win before 1,045 at Cole Field House. It was Maryland's 16th appearance in a postseason tournament and first since 1997.

With the victory, the Terps advanced with 15 other teams to the tournament's second round. Maryland will travel to Blacksburg, Va., to meet Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

"I like this group and how they respond to things," Weller said. "With this group, nothing ever surprises me."

Well, almost nothing.

"There was one moment when I actually celebrated," she said, "which I rarely do as a coach."

Weller had ample reason to celebrate. After starting the game a bit rusty and falling behind 7-2, the Terps came up with an 8-0 run to take the lead and a 16-5 burst to end the first half with a 14-point edge.

Maryland went on to fluster Georgetown in the second half with pressure defense and take advantage of the Hoyas' weak interior defense.

Georgetown struggled, shooting just 32 percent from the floor and committing 27 turnovers.

Maryland's Deedee Warley led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Rosita Melbourne (14) and Vicki Brick (13).

The three scored about 75 percent of their shots from the inside as the team totaled 38 points in the paint.

"We played our game and ran our plays," Warley said. "[The inside] happened to be open, so we kept going to it."

No Hoya scored in double figures as Georgetown struggled to cope with the loss of standout Katie Smrcka-Duffy, who did not dress because of back problems.

"I don't think we had a letdown at all," said Georgetown coach Patrick Knapp. "When you go down the floor and throw the ball away 27 times, and you miss 70 percent of your shots, it's hard to keep your spirits up."

Entering the contest, Weller also was worried about keeping her team's spirits up. Maryland rebounded from a program-worst 6-21 record last year to finish 14-14 this regular season.

But Weller was unsure how her team would respond to playing in the WNIT.

"We played with a lot of enthusiasm," she said, "and that's what I was concerned about. Everybody talks about the NCAA. I didn't know if they would be excited about the NIT."

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