Defending champion Maryland survived a first-half scare from Virginia and defeated the Cavaliers, 72-63, in the first round of the women's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament at Reynolds Coliseum tonight before a crowd of 500.
The 11th-ranked Terrapins (20-6, 6-1), who have won this tournament three of four times, will meet North Carolina State Saturday at 8 p.m. in one semifinal game. N.C. State (23-4, 6-1) defeated Duke (12-14, 2-5), 69-55.
In the Maryland game, Terrapin forward Debbie Lytle led all scorers with 22 points and eight rebounds. Forward Belinda Pearman scored 20 points, although she sustained a cut to her left ear midway through the second half. Pearman continued to play the rest of the game despite sporadic bleeding. After the game she was taken to a hospital for stitches, but said she will play Saturday.
Guard Cathy Grimes, a freshman from T.C. Williams High School, led Virginia with 19 points.
Maryland committed nine first-half turnovers and the Cavaliers held Maryland scoreless for the opening three minutes before Maryland went to the press and began to score. Virginia guard Melissa Mahony made a 15-foot-jumper at 14:10 to give Virginia a 10-7 lead.
"Virginia played a smart game," said Maryland Coach Chris Weller. "They took advantage of us when we set up our offense. I think we held our poise despite the roughness of the game. We had to hold a small lead throughout the game evenn when it was that rough."
Pearman gave Maryland a 13-10 lead two minutes later on a short jumper after a quick pass from Lytle. The lead changed five times before Maryland pulled together for a 31-26 halftime lead.
North Carolina and Clemson will meet in Saturday's other semifinal. Tresa Brown led North Carolina (17-10, 6-1) with 21 points in a 90-65 win over Wake Forest (11-17, 0-7).
Clemson's Barbara Kennedy, the leading scorer in the nation (28.2 average) needed 18 points against Georgia Tech (9-16, 2-5) to become the first woman in ACC history to score over 3,000 points. Kennedy scored 22 points before fouling out late in the game and the Tigers (19-10, 4-3) beat Tech, 62-54.