It was too much Valerie Walker and too much Cheyney State as the big and quick Wolves beat defending champion Maryland, 64-56, at the Palestra, tonight to win the AIAW Region 1-B title and a berth in the women's national tournament.
Walker, a 6-foot-2 junior, followed a 30-point assault on Penn State Friday with 24 points and 18 rebounds against the Terps. Myra Waters had 16 points for Maryland, which still could receive an at-large berth in the nationals, which open Wednesday. Berths and seedings in the national tournament will be announced Sunday evening.
Terp Coach Chris Weller believes her team will be invited. "I think both Maryland and Rutgers (which Maryland beat Friday) will get bids," she said.
Top-seeded Cheyney (25-2) shot only 23 for 72 from the floor (32 percent), but the Terrapins (18-8), seeded third, couldn't capitalize. Their 22 turnovers -- to 12 for the Wolves -- were part of the reason. So was Maryland's eight-for-11 foul shooting, compared to 18 of 24 for Cheyney.
Mainly, it was the eight minutes in the first half when Maryland managed only one field goal. A 7-6 Terp lead with 14:07 left in the first half became a 21-9 deficit with 6:49 to go.
The Terps were tight and they forced shots beyond their normal range. Cheyney had something to do with that.
"They had a good defense," Weller said. "They're very big and very quick.
They made us extend our offense. We were moving way out. We made adjustments and got back in it, but they had a couple of breaks and we got flustered again. We never got back into the Maryland offense."
Carried by Walker's 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Cheyney held a 29-19 lead at intermission. Jasmina Perazic, who scored 28 against Rutgers, was held to six points by Cheyney in the first half and finished with 14.
They're bigger on the perimeter so they put a little more pressure on the shooter," Weller said. "They make it harder to get shots off."
In the second half, the Terps received a double dose of Walker. Debra Walker (no relation to Valerie) made seven of her nine points in less than two minutes as the Wolves went ahead, 40-28, with 12:30 remaining.
The Terps rallied with an 8-2 spurt on shots from short range and cut the lead to 46-36 with 9:36 left.
But Debra Walker, a 5-9 guard, snuck inside to put in a missed shot and the Wolves were back up by 12. The eight point spread at the end was as close as Maryland got thereafter.