A bruised and aching Maryland team may think it is having to play nemesis Rutgers again when the Terrapins take on Valdosta State Friday night in a South Sectional semifinal of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women basketball tournament.
Terp Coach Chris Weller, who has not seen Valdosta play this season, said that, according to scouting reports, the Blazers closely resemble Rutgers.
"They are supposed to be the quickest team in the nation," said Weller. "They are similar to Rutgers in that they utilize a lot of motion and passing, dribbling very little. They play a pressure, full-court defense."
That may spell trouble: Rutgers beat the Terps twice this season, including an 80-75 decision last week in the Region 1B final. That loss sent Maryland, which had guaranteed itself a spot in the final 16 with a regional semifinal victory, to Tennessee Tech to join Valdosta, top-ranked Old Dominion and Kansas State.
The Terps face the Georgia team at 8 p.m. and Old Dominion meets Kansas State at 10, with the winners playing at 10 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the final four next weekend in Greensboro, N.C. Saturday's consolation game begins at 8, and both Maryland games will be broadcast by WEEL-1310 and WINX-1600.
The seventh-ranked Terrapins, 21-6, have been plagued by a season-long series of nagging injuries, the most troublesome of which has been All-America center Kris Kirchner's chronic tendinitis in both knees. Her playing time has been limited.
Second-leading scorer Betsy Bailey has a painful Achilles' tendon; sophomore Pam Reaves, who spent her freshman year recuperating from an operation for tendinitis, has played well lately although both knees are heavily wrapped; freshman Myra Waters still is bothered by a three-month old sprained ankle, and power forward Debbie Stewart missed several recent practices with a virus.
But all are expected to play this weekend, as will freshman point guard Lynn Callander, despite a stress injury to the fibula of her right leg that has forced her to use crutches.
The 12th-ranked Blazers, 26-7, will have to stand on tiptoe to look the Terps in the eyes. Valdosta starts no player taller than 5-foot-10.
"We face that problem in almost every game we play," said Blazer Coach Lyndal Worth. "But we rely on quickness, run a lot and try to execute well. Maryland is big and good and we can't afford to make mistakes."
If Calandar can not play, the Terps will have to rely on Lisa Schlesinger to handle Valdosta's defensive pressure. Bailey can move over to the point.
The teams have never met although both played in last year's South Sectional. Valdosta has won its three AIAW sectional qualifying games by a total of 53 points, beating Alabama, Mississippi and Mercer. Both the Terps and Blazers lost to secondranked Stephen F. Austin this season. The Blazers also lost to Tennessee, which Maryland beat by six points.