Terps women hold on, knock off Miami

86-85 first-round victory is UM's first in 14 years in NCAA tournament

College Basketball

March 22, 2004|By Robin Fambrough | Robin Fambrough,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BATON ROUGE, La. - The 12th-seeded Maryland Terrapins seized momentum from fifth-seeded Miami late in the first half last night and never let it go, scoring their first NCAA women's basketball tournament victory in 14 years.

The 86-85 win in a first-round game at Louisiana State University came 15 months after the Terps lost to Miami by 31 points in a regular-season contest. Maryland is making its first NCAA appearance since 2001.

"I'll tell you what ... this is just a very special win for this team and our program," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "Most people counted us out of this game like they counted us out all season.

"The will of this team, the will of our seniors ... they just refused to lose."

Senior post players Delvona Oliver and Crystal Washington each had 22 points to pace Maryland (18-12). Freshman guards Shay Doron (19)and Kalika France (16) also scored in double figures.

Maryland advances to play LSU tomorrow.

Chanivia Broussard also scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds to pace Miami (22-7). A first-half knee injury sustained by Broussard provided a key turning point after the Hurricanes led by as much as 12 points in the half.

Shaquana Wilkins added 17 points for Miami. Yalonda McCormick (16), Tamara James (15) and Melissa Knight (14) also scored in double figures for a Miami team that lost in the opening round of the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.

The game ended with Miami having a chance to tie the score. Instead of opting for a three-pointer, the Hurricanes settled for a basket inside by Wilkins just before the clock ran out.

"We were going for a three-pointer and we didn't run the play," Miami coach Ferne Labati said. "We haven't had a chance to talk about what happened, but it [the play] never materialized."

Miami set a torrid pace in the opening minutes, racing to a 15-5 lead with 14:34 remaining in the first half.

The Hurricanes limited France and Doron to two points in the first 10 minutes. It seemed like every time the Terrapins were poised to make a run, Miami had the answer.

But the complexion of the game changed with 5:50 remaining in the first half. Broussard injured her right knee during a collision under the Miami basket and had to leave the game.

At the time, Miami led 33-23. After that, Maryland outscored Miami, 15-4. The Terrapins, who got 13 first-half points from Oliver, used clutch plays by Doron and France, along with an inside-out strategy in which the 6-foot-3 Oliver and 6-foot Chrissy Fisher moved to the outside to shoot three-pointers.

Maryland scored 10 consecutive points, including a three-pointer by Oliver that tied the game at 33 with 3:26 left in the half. France had pulled Maryland within three with a driving basket and free throw a minute earlier.

Tamara James and Wilkins answered for Miami with baskets that gave the Hurricanes a 37-33 lead with 1:04 remaining. A three-pointer by Fisher got Maryland within 37-36 with 36 seconds left, and then Doron made a bank shot from the left side as time expired to give Maryland its first lead of the game, 38-37, at halftime.

"I told them I thought we played one of the worst halves we've played all year," Frese said. "I told them good things would happen. I thought we were a lot more patient in the second half."

Said Washington: "We came out and played with a lot of heart. Our guards were doing a good job reading the traps. They found people open."

Broussard came back wearing a knee brace for Miami and scored 12 second-half points. But the game was never quite the same.

Miami led only once in the second half - 52-50 with 13:03 left on a steal and layup by James.

The game was tied three more times after that. Washington scored 15 second-half points, and Doron had 12.

James tied it one last time at 79 with a three-pointer with 1:29 left. Oliver put Maryland ahead to stay, 81-79, with a layup 18 seconds later. Doron made three of four free throws in the closing seconds and Washington added two free throws to help Maryland maintain its lead.

"Coach said it right," Doron said. "This team refused to lose."

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