Win raises Terps' NCAA prospects

Tar Heels come up short despite late surge

March 05, 2010|By Gene Wang | The Washington Post

GREENSBORO, N.C. — — The Maryland women's basketball team arrived at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament with uncertain NCAA tournament prospects. The ninth-seeded Terrapins' 83-77 victory over North Carolina on Thursday at Greensboro Coliseum made their case to the selection committee that much more compelling.

Sophomore center Lynetta Kizer had a team-high 22 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman forward Tianna Hawkins added 13 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.

The Terrapins played the final 5:28 with four players with four fouls, including Kizer and Hawkins, but did not commit an infraction the rest of the way. Instead, Kizer's basket with 3:14 left gave the Terrapins a 71-61 lead. After that, they forced North Carolina into fouling, as Maryland shot 18 free throws in the closing minutes.

Maryland missed eight of those, and the eighth-seeded Tar Heels capitalized on that balky free-throw shooting to draw to 79-77 with 12 seconds to play. After a North Carolina timeout, Maryland guard Kim Rodgers, who had missed both foul shots in her previous trip to the line, sank two, and on the Tar Heels' ensuing possession, Jackie Nared stole the ball and tossed an outlet pass to Hawkins for a layup as time expired.

"Our young guns grew up today," Terrapins coach Brenda Frese said. "Just to see the poise and confidence that we played with, I think we definitely were inspired today after watching our men's team yesterday. Just tremendous passion and energy in terms of what we wanted to do against UNC, and I think the biggest thing is we finished it. We finished it and completed it for a 40-minute game."

Over several stretches, Maryland (19-11) appeared to be rolling into today's quarterfinals, in which they will play top-seeded Duke. The Terrapins built a 24-8 advantage midway through the first half, led by 10 at halftime and pushed ahead to 53-37 after intermission.

But North Carolina (18-11) stiffened and leaned on the inside-outside combination of center Chay Shegog and guard Cetera DeGraffenreid to retaliate.

DeGraffenreid, who finished with game highs of 23 points and six steals, scored six straight points, including four free throws. The junior went 10-for-10 from the line overall before fouling out. With many of Maryland's inside players in foul trouble, Shegog found room to maneuver underneath, and her basket with 5:11 left cut the margin to 63-59.

Maryland, meanwhile, could have prevented the drama in the final minutes had it been more steady from the line. After making all six of their free throws in the first half, the Terrapins missed 15 of 28 after the break, including four errant attempts by freshman point guard Dara Taylor over the final two minutes.

MARYLAND-Tchatchouang 3-11 1-2 8, Kizer 9-12 3-3 22, Taylor 3-10 4-10 10, Rodgers 2-8 2-4 6, Bjork 2-7 4-4 10, Nared 3-6 1-3 8, Barrett 3-7 0-0 6, Oyefuwa 0-0 0-0 0, Hawkins 4-6 5-5 13. Totals 29-67 20-31 83.

NORTH CAROLINA-Bursey 1-6 0-0 2, Shegog 6-16 4-8 16, Rolle 1-2 0-0 2, Gross 2-2 0-0 4, DeGraffenreid 6-13 10-10 23, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, White 6-13 0-0 15, Wood 0-1 1-2 1, Broomfield 6-10 2-3 14, Robertson-Warren 0-2 0-0 0, Ruffin-Pratt 0-6 0-0 0, Lucas 0-4 0-1 0. Totals 28-76 17-24 77.

Half: Maryland, 41-31. 3-point goals: M 5-20 (Bjork 2-6, Kizer 1-1, Nared 1-2, Tchatchouang 1-4, Taylor 0-2, Rodgers 0-5); NC 4-16 (White 3-6, DeGraffenreid 1-4, Lucas 0-1, Wood 0-1, Bursey 0-2, Ruffin-Pratt 0-2). Rebounds: M 49 (Kizer 10); NC 48 (Shegog 12). Assists: M 9 (Taylor 3); NC 12 (Lucas 6). Total fouls: M 22, NC 25. Fouled out: DeGraffenreid. A: 4,776.

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