Maryland Coach Chris Weller is felling bad vibes. Her women's basketball team is winless in the new year losing its second straight game, 63-61, to Southern California last night at Cole Field House.
After an impressive win over Rutgers at Madison Square Garden two weeks ago, the Terps lost to North Carolina Wednesday night. Their season record is 5-3.
"We're just not playing well," said an exhausted, frustrated Weller. "Maybe we're just running up against teams that are better than us. But I don't think that's it. We had a five-day break and can't get rolling again."
Maryland fell behind by nine points early in the second half and still trailed by eight, 54-46, with seven minutes remaining. Both teams went cold but Maryland's Jasmina Perazic scored eight of Maryland's next 13 points and the game was tied, 61-61, on a basket by Dana Crone.
Trojan Terri Huff made two foul shots with 1:20 left to end the scoring.
In the last minute, the Terps comitted three turnovers, the key one when guard Debbie Lytle rebounded a Trojan shot, dribbled out the backcourt but had her downcourt pass intercepted by Linda Balabuch. Later, when Balabuch missed a free throw, Maryland couldn't complete a fullcourt pass play with two seconds left.
Balabuch led USC with 18 points while the Terps were led by Perazic's 13. Maryland's Kris Kirchner, plagued with game-long foul trouble, was bottled up by the Trojan defense and scored only six points -- all in the first half.
"I had seen Kris play before and we keyed on her," said USC Coach Linda Sharp. "We decided we had to keep her to half of her average (21.6) or less. This was a big win for us. It feels great."