Kay Yow wanted to make sure every one knew just how well her team played. The North Carolina State women's basketball coach set off a 15-minute run-on sentence explaining how her Wolfpack captured its first Atlantic Coast Conference title with an 85-75 win over Maryland.
"We just came out in the second half and played much tougher on the boards and got the ball to Genia (Beasley) and ran our offense which gave us that spurt that put us in great shape for the rest of the game . . . " said Yow.
Beasley's baseline jumpers gave her 28 points for the game and an MVP trophy for the tournament at Cole Field House.
Maryland's Kris Kirchner, not to be outdone, turned in a superb 28 points before the crowd of 1,500.
The Wolfpack, down five at the half, scored the first 10 points of the second half to take a 50-45 lead. Kirchner and center Krystal Kimrey finally slowed the State surge. But Beasley, who made just five of 13 shots in the first half, hit eight of 10 in the second, many when Maryland was trying to regain momentum.
The key point in the game came after the Terps, seemingly in a never-ending struggle to tie the game, finally drew even. 71-71, on a three-point play by Myra Waters with 3:51 left. However, 11 seconds later, State center June Doby got the three-point play back and State promptly raised its lead to 78-71 and the Terps were dethroned after being ACC champions the last two years.
Maryland Coach Chris Weller said, "All the junk was coming to us in the first half . . . We were pretty lucky. But what happened was we got up 10 points and went out of our offense. I think Debbie (Lytle) got a little over-confident in the first half. The whole team was out of the offense during that disastrous spurt in the second half."
Kirchner seemed to sense things going south in the first half: "I was a little too intense at a few points when we got up 10 and stopped running our offense."
Weller added, "I'm proud of our team. We played 2 1/2 good games but it takes three. I didn't believe anyone could beat us man-to-man. That's what's hard to take."
In the first half, a five-minute Terrapin burst put them up, 41-29, with 3:35 remaining. Kirchner scored 10 of her 16 first-half points in the rally and Maryland's fast break had State in seemingly dire straits. Pam Reaves and Kimrey, with 11 and 10 points each in the half, also were leading the charge.
However, Beasley used her liquid-smooth jump shot to bring State within five at halftime. The Terps dominated the half and could have led by considerably more. Weller predicted that the team that dominated the backboards would dominate the game. In the first, the Terps outrebounded State, 28-15, but their dominance was shaky.
"That's what we talked about at halftime," said Yow. "We got beat badly off the boards in the first half. We had to start coming up with the lost balls and getting the ball moving up court."