Sophomore center Kris Kirchner tonight again came up with a cure for Maryland's season-long ailment of living with prosperity. The antidote consisted of a strong dose of Formula 53, Kirchner's uniform number.
The 6-foot-3 All-American scored the final seven points to pull out a 60-57 Terrapin victory over previously unbeaten and fifth-ranked Cheyney State at Towson State College.
The victory in the Association of Incollegiate Athletics for Women's Region 1B semifinal guaranteed sixth-ranked Maryland a berth in either the East or South sectionals next weekend.
First, Maryland faces seventh-ranked Rutgers Saturday at 8 p.m. for the 1B championship. The winner earns a trip to Fordham University the loser goes to a tougher bracket at Tennessee Tech Cookeville, Tenn.). Rutgers beat No. 10 Penn State tonight, 88-82.
Maryland squandered an 11-point lead in the final 12 minutes, but regrouped behind a full-court press and two costly Cheyney miscues to make up a four-point deficit in the final 2:18.
Kirchner's short turnaround jumper with 2:45 left pulled Maryland within two, 55-53. Then Lady Wolves' forward Stacy Rhoades did what she had been doing all night: she turned a rebound of Valerie Walker's missed shot into a basket and a 57-53 Cheyney lead.
Kirchner retaliated by powering her way inside, sinking a layup and adding a free throw after being fouled to make it 57-56 with 1:50 left.
Then Maryland fullcourt press took Cheyney apart. Betsy Bailey stole a pass in the Cheyney backcourt, was fouled and missed the front end of the one-and-one with 1:24 left. But Aletha Blackman walked after grabbing the rebound and Maryland got the ball. again. Kirchner, who scored a teamhigh 15 points, missed but Blackman again walked at Cheyney's end of the court.
Kirchner muscled her way for another layup and a 60-57 Terp lead with 37 seconds left.
"It was Kris, come hell or high water," said winning Coach Chris Weller. "She was going to take the game into her hands. Kris got open inside more during the late going because of Pam Reaves' outside shooting. Pam had forced their zone to open up."
Reaves, who started in place of Bailey at second guard, scored the first eight Terrapin points and finished with 12. She also guarded Cheyney star Walker for three-quarters, helping limit her to eight-for-21 shooting.
Senior Terp forward Jane Zivalich also played a sloid defensive game and contributed several key rebounds assisted in the late going.
It was the Terps' seventh straight game, raising their overall mark to 21-5. One of those defeats was to Rutgers at Cole Field House, 85-76.