Maryland's full-court press and the outside shooting of guard Tara Heiss, who had 26 points, broke open an close game today and the Terps defeated Cheyney (Pa.) State College, 63-54, to advance to the semifinals of the Eastern Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women's Mid-Atlantic Region tournament.

Maryland (17-4) trailed 37-33 with 14 minutes to play at Temple University, then installed a 3-2 zone press and outscored the Wolves, 18-2, over the next four minutes. Heiss got 15 of the points, mostly on 15- to 18-foot jump shots.

"I wasn't shooting much in the first half," explained the 5-foot-6 point guard, "and we needed some outside shooting to open up the middle for Angie Scott (12 points) and Debbie Stewart (eight points)."

In an other quarterfinal St. Joseph's outclassed Pitt, 101-64. Tonight, Montclair State opposes Edinboro State and top-seeded Immaculata faces Penn State. In a consolation game today, Rutgers walloped Slippery Rock, 92-70.

Maryland's next game is at 9 p.m. Friday, against the winner of the Immaculate-Penn State game.

Cheyney State controlled the game in the early going, jumping to a 13-8 lead on an 18-footer by Drucilla Smith, her only points of the contest. The Terps grabbed their first lead with 4:41 left in the half on an offensive rebound, reverse layup by Scott for a 20-19 score. Maryland led, 26-25, at the half.

Cheyney opened the second half with the same fervor that it started the first and moved ahead, 35-31, as 6-foot Lauretta Allen hit two field goals and a three-point play.At that point Terp coach Christine Weller called for the press, and Heiss went into her aft.

"The zone press is what did it," Weller maintained. "When we tried to press man-to-man, they'd send four people down court and were able to bring the ball up sucessfully, one-on-one. We wanted to make all five players work to bring the ball up."

Cheyney State was not finished, however. With the Terps going turnover crazy ("I think we let up with the big lead," said Heiss), Cheyney closed the margin to 52-50 with 5:47 to play.

But field goals by Scott, Heiss and Scott boosted Maryland to 58-52 with 1:28 left and Heiss sealed the fate of Cheyney, now 16-6, with three free throws in the final 32 seconds.

Heiss made 11 of her 18 shots while the Terrapins dominated the boards, 41-24, with the 6-foot Scott (10 rebounds and the 6-1 Stewart (12 rebounds) almost matching the output of the entire Cheyney squad.

Assuming Immaculata, second ranked in the country, gets by eighth-seeded Penn State, Maryland will get a rematch with the taem that beat the Terps, 63-53, in late February.