Though UM women lose, night is something special

All years at Cole recalled during team finale there

February 22, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK - Renneika Razor and Deedee Warley each scored a team-high 13 points, but the University of Maryland women lost their final game at Cole Field House, 66-54, to North Carolina State last night on a festive evening celebrating the program's years of success in the building.

The Maryland women - who, along with the men, will move into the new 17,100-seat Comcast Center next season - have compiled a 277-100 record at Cole since moving into the facility in the 1973-74 season.

Among the most memorable moments for the team there was the 1992 game in which the top-ranked Terrapins hosted No. 2 Virginia in a much-hyped game that set an Atlantic Coast Conference women's regular-season attendance record with a capacity crowd of 14,500.

Also, the first-ever televised women's college basketball game took place at Cole on Jan. 26, 1975, when Maryland hosted Immaculata.

`The whole evening was great," said Maryland head coach Chris Weller, who remained two wins shy of her 500th career victory. "I wish we could've won the game, and I think the game was probably an indication of how badly the team wanted to play.

"I thought we were very tight. ... That, to me, was the only downside to the entire evening."

Two ceremonies commemorated the occasion. At halftime, the complete history of Maryland women's basketball was unfolded and honored.

Thirty-nine representatives of teams dating as far back as 1955, when women's basketball was a club sport, were presented a framed print of four buildings - the university's main gymnasium, Ritchie Coliseum, Cole Field House and the upcoming Comcast Center.

After the game, another ceremony commemorated the 29 seasons of women's basketball at Cole.

A ball was passed from members of the 1974-75 team to the current squad, then given to a student government representative to symbolize the transformation of the field house from the home of Maryland basketball to a campus recreation facility.

Among the attendees were onetime All-Americans Jasmina Perazic and Deanna Tate, as well as Tara Heiss, the first-ever ACC tournament most valuable player in 1978. Heiss, whose No. 44 is retired, was a member of the 1980 U.S. team that boycotted the Moscow Olympics.

Perazic, an All-American selection in 1983, played on the 1980 bronze medal-winning and 1988 silver medal-winning Yugoslavian Olympic teams, was a co-MVP of the ACC tournament in 1983 and has her No. 4 jersey retired.

Tate was an All-American in 1989, was the ACC tournament MVP and was named to the All-final four team in the same season. She also was the 1986 ACC tournament MVP.

"This is one of the best places to play, and I've played everywhere in the world," Perazic said. "For some reason, this gym has a certain warmth. And even though we didn't have sellout crowds, there was always this great team atmosphere, and the people who came to our games really got into it. This was one of my best floors to play on. I could never miss [shots] here, so I'm really going to miss it."

As for the game, N.C. State's Carrisse Moody scored a game-high 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting, and Kaayla Chones added 14 points by going five of seven from the field to send Maryland (12-15, 4-11 ACC) to its sixth loss in its past eight games.

The Wolfpack (13-13, 7-8) used its superiority down low to shoot a blistering 59.5 percent (25-for-42) from the floor. Meanwhile, Maryland struggled, going 20-for-57 (35.1 percent) from the field, including 3-for-18 (16.7 percent) from three-point range.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't win, but we represented the alumni," said guard Marche Strickland, who along with Warley, forward Jamecca Harrell, center Rosita Melbourne and guard Ije Agba was honored for senior night in a pre-game ceremony.

"It was very special to be the last class to play at Cole. We're always going to take that memory away."

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