The Maryland women's basketball team survived practice this week and now must survive an encounter tonight with unbeaten Cheyney State to remain in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women's national tournament.
The Terps play the Lady Wolves in a 9 p.m. Regional 1B semifinal and Penn State takes on Rutgers in the 7 p.m. opener at Towson State College.
Bowie State puts its 25-4 record on the line against Morgan State (22-5) in a Region 1B small college semifinal in Johnstown, Pa. Top-seeded Seton Hall (23-5) and Slippery Rock (16-11) complete that field.
The winners play Saturday for a spot inthe 16-team small-college national tournament March 21-24 in Fargo, N.D.
Maryland is riding a six-game winning streak and is 20-5 after beating Montclair State last week to qualify for the tough 1B playoffs.
Four of the nation's top 11 ranked teams are in Towson: Cheyney is fifth, the Terps sixth, Rutgers (24-3) seventh and Penn State (20-6) 10th.
The Terps must beat Cheyney (24-0) to guarantee an appearance in an AIAW regional. Saturday's 1B winner advances to the East Regional; the runner-up to the South.
The Terps will be without the full services of freshman point guard Lynn Callander, who suffered a stress fracture to a fibula in practice. Callander, who has shared the point with Lisa Schlesinger, may still play but will be considerably slower.
Betsy Bailey can move over to the point, as she has in the late stages of several close games this season. Super-sub Pam Reaves is then capable of filing in at Bailey's second guard spot.
Center Kris Kirchner, the team's leading scorer and rebounder (13.0 and 9.1), collided this week in practice with forward Debbie Stewart. Stewart suffered a slight concussion and Kirchner had some teeth loosened, but both are expected to be at full strength for Cheyney.
The Lady Wolves own seven- and four-point decisions over Rutgers, which beat Maryland by nine points in Colege Park, and a one-point win over Penn State, which clobbered the Terps by 21 points at State College, Pa.
"I think Cheyney should take Maryland," said Howard Coach Sylvia Groomes, whose Bison were beaten 77-41, by the Lady Wolves.
"Cheyney has a very good shot at reaching the final four," Groomes said. "Cheyney has good height and leaping ability. They pack their zoen in real tight to cut off the inside. If you try and pass inside, they'll either steal the pass or swat away your shot. Maryland's best chance may be to press them. Their guards are their weak point."
The Lady Wolves have held opponents to an average of 47 points per game and have won by a whopping average margin of 27.
Freshman forward Vaalerie Walker and senior forward Stacy Rhoades carry much of the offensive load. The 6-foot-1 Walker averages 19 points and 10 rebounds, and is considered one of the nation's best pure jump shooters.
Rhoades adds 18.6 points and leads her team in rebounding with a 10.3 average.
Saturday's consolation starts at 6 p.m.; the championship is at 8.Friday's games will be played at the new campus gym, Towson Center; Saturday's at Burdick Hall, also on Campus.