Maryland produced an unexpected 92-61 rout of Clemson yesterday to gain today's 12-30 Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball final at Cole Field House.
The Terrapins will face North Carolina State, a 90-63 senifinal winner yesterday over North Carolina. Maryland has captured the previous two ACC tournament crowns, both times defeating N.C. State, today's opponent. a
Maryland will enter the championship ranked 14th nationally with a 13-7 record. N.C. State, ranked ninth, is 21-4.
The Terps quickly ended Coach Chris Weller's worries by jumping to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes. Debbie Lytle spearheaded the Terps' fast break. Two minutes later, the Terps led 20-6, helped by a six-point contribution from Kris Kirchner. Maryland could do no wrong. On one play, Lyle came down the middle, eluded two defensive players with a between-the-legs dribble and hit a layup while drawing a foul.
"Kris and Krystal (Kimrey) dominated the boards and got the ball out quickly," said Weller, who was all smiles after showing nonstop tension on the bench. "This was the best our fast break looked all year."
The Terps boosted their lead to 42-25 before action settled. By halftime Clemson had cut the lead to 46-32 as 1,200 fans looked on.
Maryland resumed the onslaught after intermissiion as Lytle, who finished with 11 assists left the tigers dazed.
Kirchner, who struggled through much of the game, managed 21 points. Pam Reeves added 20.
Looking ahead to today's final, Weller said, "We are going to have to outrebound so we can run. Whoever controls the boards will control the game, because neither team is quick on transition defense."
Unlike the other routs that have typified the tournament, the Wolfpacks's runaway over North Carolina was put together methodically, without runaway scoring sprees.
State led by four, 20-16, with 6:02 remaining in the half when Ronnie laughlin converted two baskets underneath. Genia Beasley added two from long range and a foul shot to make it a 29-16 spread. The Pack went into the locker room with a 39-22 lead, led by Beasley's 13 points.
"I was really pleased with our defense," said Pack Coach Kay Yow, who sensed the kill in the second half. "Any time you hold a team of North Carolina's caliber to 22 points in a half, you've done a job."
Beasley finished with 25 points while the rest of the State scoring was balanced between Tradi Lacey, Ronnie Laughlin and June Doby.
Despite the 27-point spread, Beasley played 36 minutes and Yow doesn't anticipate any rest advantage for her squad in today's final.