Bolstered by their strong showing on the road last week, the No. 20 Maryland women returned home with a swagger and a renewed purpose. The Terrapins may not be at the top of the ACC, but starting with their 84-67 victory over Georgia Tech last night before 2,556 at Comcast Center, they appear poised to make a charge.
With the win, Maryland (15-5, 4-4 ACC) remained in sixth place in the league, three games behind first-place Duke (21-2, 7-1). Georgia Tech (12-7, 3-6) dropped to eighth. It was the 100th career victory for Coach Brenda Frese, who is in her third season at Maryland and sixth season overall.
Maryland's Crystal Langhorne (18 points) finds herself surrounded by Kentrina Wilson, left, and Janie Mitchell of Georgia Tech in the second half.
(Gail Burton -- AP)
After struggling with injuries throughout January, the Terrapins seem to have gotten their season back on track after playing Duke close in Durham, N.C., then pulling out an impressive overtime win at Arizona less than 48 hours later.
"You're starting to see us play with a lot of confidence, and I think that showed especially on the offensive end," Frese said. "We really gained from last week's trip. . . . It really showed our kids how tough they have to be in the conference. I really like how we're playing unselfishly, really clicking. We've talked a lot about in February building on the momentum."
Maryland controlled the game from the outset by frustrating Georgia Tech's shooters and by efficiently operating its offense. The Yellow Jackets showed why they are the lowest-scoring team in the ACC, missing four of their first five shots and committing six turnovers in the first six minutes. Georgia Tech shot only 38 percent and finished with 21 turnovers.
Meantime, Maryland had its inside-outside game working. The Terps' 84 points were the most points allowed by Georgia Tech this season. Crystal Langhorne was a force underneath the basket, scoring 18 points -- her 17th consecutive double-figure scoring game -- and she wasn't the only reason the Terrapins outscored Georgia Tech, 46-24, in the lane.
Guards Shay Doron and Kalika France were effective driving to the basket for layups, and when they were fouled, Doron and France were equally productive at the free throw line. They combined to make 13 of 18 foul shots. Doron finished with 18 points while France added 14 points.
Point guard Anesia Smith (Hayfield High) had 11 assists and a career-high 10 rebounds.
As they begin the second half of the ACC season, the Terrapins have little margin for error if they want a high seed in the ACC tournament. Fortunately, the schedule favors Maryland. Four of its seven remaining games are at home, and four of its six remaining conference opponents are ranked in the bottom half of the ACC standings.
"If we keep playing the way that we're playing, the sky's the limit," France said. "We have everybody on their heels. They know when they come in here it's going to be a harsh environment."
N.C. STATE 62, VIRGINIA 56: In Raleigh, N.C., Billie McDowell led all scorers with 17 points and the No. 25 Wolfpack rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit.
Khadija Whittington added 12 points for N.C. State (16-5, 5-3 ACC), which scored 25 points off 21 turnovers and won despite being outrebounded 44-36. LaTonya Blue led the Cavaliers (16-6, 5-3) with 14 points and Takisha Granberry collected 10 rebounds.
DELAWARE 68, GEORGE MASON 40: Tiffany Young scored 15 points to lead four Blue Hens in double figures as visiting Delaware remained undefeated in Colonial Athletic Conference play.
The Blue Hens (17-2, 10-0) made 20 of 21 free throws, compared with just 3 of 4 for the Patriots (8-11, 4-6). Kristin Higy, Julie Flanders and Moni Akintunde scored eight points apiece for George Mason, which trailed just 22-21 at halftime.
DELAWARE STATE 49, HOWARD 47: Raquel Collier scored 14 points and Terrelle Waller added 12 to lead the host Hornets (10-9, 6-4 MEAC) to their fifth win in a row. Melloni Benson led the Bison (10-9, 5-5) with 17 points and six rebounds.