Maryland Survives Georgia Tech 71-66 to Advance to Semifinals
March 4, 2006
By David Droschak
GREENSBORO - Fourth-ranked Maryland survived a major scare in the quarterfinals of the ACC Women's Tournament, scoring on its last seven possessions to edge 11th-seeded Georgia Tech 71-66 on Friday night.
The No. 3 seeded Terrapins (27-3) will now face nemesis Duke in the semifinals Saturday. The Blue Devils dumped Maryland in the semis last year 74-44 and handed the Terrapins two of their three losses this season.
"We always love playing against great competition and Duke is just another team to us that brings out our best," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "We're two completely different teams from last year's ACC Tournament. We have a true point guard, we have a lot more depth this year and we like the way we match up. Every game we play them we learn more about ourselves."
"It's a new game so we're not looking at what happened in the past," said Maryland star Crystal Langhorne, who scored 20 points against the Yellow Jackets (14-15) on 8-for-9 shooting.
"The only person who can stop Crystal Langhorne is Crystal Langhorne," said Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph. "That's why she's the top post player in the country in my opinion. She's special."
The Terrapins led for most of the game until a 10-2 run gave Georgia Tech a 52-51 lead with 6:54 left.
The score was then tied three times down the stretch before two of Maryland's freshmen made a difference.
Kristi Toliver hit a 3-pointer with 1:24 left to give the Terrapins the lead for good after she had missed seven of her first nine shots.
"That 3-pointer was a dagger in our hearts there at the end," said Joseph.
Then after a pair of free throws by Stephanie Higgs, who led Georgia Tech with 22 points and eight rebounds, the gap closed to one. However, Marissa Coleman hit a shot in the lane and closed out the Yellow Jackets with four straight free throws over the final 15.4 seconds to keep Maryland alive for a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
"Maryland showed today why they are one of the top five teams in the country," Joseph said. "I was impressed with the way they persevered."
"Marissa was a little out of sync with her offensive rhythm, but really stepped up and hit that key shot and then she stepped up and hit some key free throws," Frese said.
The Terrapins got themselves in trouble this game with 21 turnovers and a poor effort at the foul line.
"It's definitely a new environment," Frese said after her club went 17-of-26 from the foul line. "You've got to get used to the background and I think a lot of time there is an advantage with the team who played the night before. It's just great to be able to get that first game under our belt. It's nice to get those jitters out."
Jill Ingram also had a nice game for Georgia Tech with 15 points, but had to leave the game with 1:40 left after hurting her right ankle.