Maryland played what coach Chris Weller called "our best games of the year" today but it still wasn't good enough to win the championship of the Virginia Women's Invitational Basketball Tournament.

North Carolina State, ranked No 8 nationally, captured the title, 69-61, after taking advantage of No. 17 Maryland's cold shooting. The Terrapins shot a stone cold 35 per cent from the floor.

It was Maryland's third loss in the last five games, but Weller was delighted with the improvement her tall but young team made over the three day tournament.

"We're coming along, we're starting to jell as a team, finally," she said.

State's only loss in 16 games was a 990 overtime defeat by No. 3 Immaculate.

Maryland stayed close until midway through the second half when State jumped to a 53-45 lead on three straight baskets. moments later, Maryland star Tara Heiss went to the bench, exhausted, and the Terrapin's chances of making a comeback vanished.

"We tried to save some energy in the first half and just stay even," said State coach Kay Yow."We knew we would have to have something left in the second half to pull it out.""Yow was right, but her first-half shuffle system of substituting almost backfired. Maryland was able to execute its offense properly for good percentage shots, but missed a half-dozen layups.

The missed baskets allowed State to regroup after intermission. The Wolf-pack shot 53 per cent in the final 20 minutes, and never ran into a shooting drought which would have allowed Maryland to rally.

Although State got points from 6 foot-2 freshman center Genia Beasley, the tournament MVP, she was guarded effectively for the most part by Maryland's fine defensive center, Angie Scott. Beasley had scored 62 points in the first two games.

But Maryland couldn't handle twins Kaye and Faye Young. Kaye had nine points and Faye added 16 coming off the bench. "The twins were the game," said Weller. "We felt if we could contain Beasley comewhat and cut off everyone else we'd be okay. It didn't happen that way however."

Heiss finished with 15 points and made the all-torurnment, team along with teammate Debbie Stewart, who had12 points.