Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The University of Maryland withstood a furious last-minute Immaculata rally, including a missed layup by Susan Martin with two seconds left, to gain the final of the AIAW Eastern Regional basketball tournament Friday night at West Chester State College.
The 80-79 victory guaranteed the fourth-ranked Terrapins (24-2) a berth in the national round of 16 and a shot at the crown for the first time.
Montclair, with 36 points from three-time All-America Carol Blazejowski, outlasted eighth-ranked St. Joseph's, 86-78, in the other regional semifinal.
Maryland will meet Montclair State (21-6) for the Eastern title tonight at 8:30.
Immaculata, with a rich basketball history and a partisan standing-room-only crowd of 2,500 at Hollinger House urging it on, didn't fall without a fight. Denise Burdick (18 points) sank two free throws and 6-foot-4 center Sandy Miller (25 points and 14 rebounds) dropped in two baskets over smaller Terp defenders to give the mighty Macs new life, 80-79, with 36 seconds left.
The comeback was aided by three straight Maryland turnover in the face of a dive-onthe-floor press by Immaculata and missed free throws by Doreen Lefeled and Tara Heiss.
The Terrapins had control of the ball and Heiss, who had been splendid with 31 points and five steals, was double-teamed and Lorrie Gable stole the ball with 19 seconds left.
Following a timeout, the Macs played for one shot.
"I expected them to go for one shot and we went man-to-man," said Maryland Coach Chris Weller.
The play was designed for Miller inside or Burdick cutting off a pick for a 12-foot jump shot but both were well covered. The ball was passed to Martin, free momentarily under the basket. But Maryland forward Jane Zivalich jumped at Miller and appeared to deflect the ball. It caromed wildly in the air and came to rest in Zivalich's hands as the final buzzer sounded.
"I don't think I deflected it. Maybe I hit her hand, the ball, I don't know," said Zivalich. "I was sagging on Miller and saw the ball go to Martin and I ran over there and jumped straight up. I saw the ball go in the air and I grabbed it and ran."
Martin, who came in early in the first half to ignite the lethargic Macs from a 22-7 deficit, said the ball was deflected a bit but that wasn't the reason she missed the shot.
"I was the third option on the play and when Sandy threw me the ball I was too far under to get a good shot off," said Martin, who finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
It was the first time in seven years Immaculata (13-10) has failed to gain the Nationals. The Mighty Macs won the crown three straight years ('72-'74) before Delta State claimed the next three championships.
The Terps led by as many as 15 points in the first half as Heiss sank all six of her attempts from the field and six of seven from the line, and Zivalich and Debbie Jones scored nine and seven points, respectively.
"The first time we played them, we were emotionally high while they were flat," said Weller, "and I knew this one would be different."
Martin registered eight points followed by eight more by Miller, including a 10-foot jumper to put the Macs ahead for the first time, 64-63, with 8:12 to play.
Mary Briese hit a bucket to regain the lead for the tiring Terps. Little used 6-5 sophomore Krystal Kimrey surprised the Macs by sinking four straight shots and then Heiss regained a second wind to add seven more, giving the Terps a seven-point lead.
"I don't think they expected me to shoot," said Kimrey, who also added four rebounds, two steals and an assist in her nine-minute stretch.
But Immaculata regained its composure, slapped its tenacious full-court press on the Terps and nearly denied the Terps their first trip to the Nationals.