The Stanford women's basketball team did exactly what eighth-ranked Maryland wanted. It pressed. Early.
"We were begging for them to press us," said Maryland guard Debbie Lytle, who had 10 points and 13 assists in an 82-48 win over Stanford yesterday at Cole Field House in the first round of the NCAA West Regional.
"I think their mistake was to press us so early," said Lytle. "Our fast break works so much better out of a press."
Maryland (23-6) will meet Missouri (24-8) in the regional semifinals Friday at Stanford. The regional final is scheduled Sunday. The winner of the West Regional will gain a spot in the final-four tournament semifinals to beheld at Old Dominion on March 26. The championship game will be March 28.
"If I had seen Maryland play before, I would have held the ball until the last 10 seconds and kept the tempo down," said Stanford Coach Dotty McCrea. "Their overall team speed really hurt us. They were a step and a half quicker, but what could we do?"
The slow Cardinals attempted to run and failed miserably. What the Cardinals had in height--four 6-footers--they lacked in speed. Both teams came out pressing, looking for the fast break, but only Maryland found it.
For a while, Stanford (19-8) stayed with Maryland. Five minutes into the first half, Stanford's leading scorer, 6-1 forward Meg Metzger (11 points), drove the lane for an 8-6 Cardinal lead. In the next five minutes, there were four ties, the last coming when the Cardinals' 6-foot forward, Jeanne Hoff, who finished with 12 points, made a 16-foot jumper to square it at 18 with 10:13 remaining.
Maryland's accuracy improved thereafter. The Terrapins' shooting percentage for the game was 59, compared with 36 for Stanford.
Lytle made a flying hook shot with 9:40 remaining for a 23-18 Maryland lead. It was cut to 27-23 at 7:56 when Stanford's 5-7 guard, Debbie Gore, banked in a six-foot shot.
That was the last basket Stanford would score until 36 seconds remained in the half. When the first-half buzzer sounded, the Terrapins had a 43-25 lead.
"I thought our press and rebounding won us the game," said Maryland Coach Chris Weller. "We were lucky they got cold in that stretch. The rebounding in the first half allowed us to run and get the second shots off." Maryland outrebounded Stanford, 18-10, in the first half and 40-33 for the game.
Maryland had begun to intensify its press when the lead was 27-23. "That's when the press started to bother us," said McCrea. "The tempo of the game broke down and we knew they could pull away from us."
Maryland continued its press in the second half against a weary Cardinal team that shot only 28 percent after intermission. With 15 minutes remaining, Jasmina Perazic dribbled downcourt and passed to Lytle under the basket, who passed back out to Myra Waters for a 10-foot shot and 51-31 lead.
Maryland's lead continued to grow, even with the bench cleared. Freshman guard Julie Silverberg assisted Waters on a short jumper for a 71-43 lead with five minutes remaining.
Stanford's rebounding problems worsened in the final two minutes. At one point, two Cardinals struggled with each other for an offensive rebound. Finally, one kicked it out of bounds.
"Were going to California," yelled Lytle after the game. "I don't have any money to go home. Heaven knows where I would have spent the night if we hadn't won."
Five Terrapins scored in double figures. Perazic scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds, Waters had 14 points and 10 rebounds, 6-1 center Belinda Pearman had 13 points, Marcia Richardson had 12 points and Lytle 10.