The Maryland women's basketball team survived 30 turnovers to beat Texas, 68-63 tonight, and advance to the quarterfinals of the AIAW tournament.
The Terrapins travel to Knoxville, Tenn., Tuesday to meet second-ranked Tennessee, which thrashed Kansas State, 94-64, at Knoxville tonight.
The apparent key to tonight's win was a halftime talk by Coach Chris Weller after the Terps were down, 42-38.
"At first I started talking about the Xs and Os but when I didn't like the way they were responding, I went off on them," said Weller, who told her team they were playing one-on-one, selfish basketball. "They could have folded but they chose to unite, I'm proud of them, they stopped the arguing and realized they care a lot about each other. This was a big win and a great learning experience for us."
Foul trouble kept point guard Debbie Lytle and center Krystal Kimrey nailed to the bench most of the second half.
The Terps fell behind by as many as eight points in the early part of the final period and appeared to be in deep trouble when Lytle picked up her fourth foul. The fifth-ranked Texans had several chances to put the game away but went cold from the outside, inside . . . everywhere. Nothing dropped. The Longhorns shot 34 percent in the second half.
The Terps didn't burn the nets, either. They finished at 42 percent. They slowly chipped away at the lead. Substitute point guard Jasmina Perazic, who was disappointing in the first half, moved the team in the second. Maryland had a sizable height advance and started to take advantage of it in the last 10 minutes. Lydia McAliley, in a reserve role, grabbed 12 rebounds.
The score was tied at 61 with 4:05 left. The Terps then made their move. Forward Myra Waters, Maryland's only consistent player, made one of two foul shots for a one-point edge. Lytle reentered the game with three minutes left and scored a 17-foot baseline jumper.
After speedy point guard Hattie Browning penetrated for a short jumper to move Texas back within one, the Longhorns called a timeout. However, it was the Terps who benefited. They set up a lob pass from Lytle to guard Pam Reaves, who cut off of a Kris Kirchner screen for an easy layup with 1:16 left. After a Texas miss, Waters iced the game with two foul shots.
"We haven't used that play all year," said Weller with smile. "We used to use it . . . Tennessee will remember it.
In the first half, the Terps trailed because of Texas' full-court pressure that forced 16 turnovers. The Terps all had theories about how to deal with the problem and openly debated the issue on the court.
"That never happened to us before," said Kirchner, who led the Terps with 19 points. "We had a very moving halftime and it did it for us. We saw the men start playing one-on-one when they got in trouble last night against Georgetown and we learned from that."
In learning, both Kirchner and Weller both left they escaped with the victory. "This was a very average performance," said Weller. "Nothing like Rutgers last week which was way above average."
Way above average is what the Terps wil need to play in Tennessee. The Terps have beaten the Volunteers in each of the past two postseasons. "You take those past games and forget them," said Weller."(Tennesee coach) Pat Hoad swears we have some king of hex over them but playing Tennessee is another story."
The Terps, 21-8, know all about the Vols. "I've seen them play," said Kirchner. "It'll be a real close game. I'm ready."