Despite blowing a 10-point lead, the third-ranked University of Maryland women's basketball team defeated North Carolina, 91-77, yesterday at Cole Field House.

The Terrapins led by as many as 21 points in the second half before coasting at the end, and ran their record to 15-0 overall and 6-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Nine of those victories have been by 15 points or more.

North Carolina dropped to 13-5, 3-2.

A Maryland rout seemed likely early, as the Terrapins took a 16-4 lead in the first 4 1/2 minutes. But the Tar Heels came back, thanks to the inside scoring of Tresa Brown and Henrietta Walls, both of whom finished the half with eight points.

North Carolina outscored the Terrapins, 18-4, in the next five minutes to take a 22-20 lead, and Maryland Coach Chris Weller called two timeouts within a minute.

"Our offense had come to a screeching halt," she said. "I called a second timeout because it continued. It was an indication that I was terribly upset."

Weller did say the performance was "one of our better games this year" mostly because Maryland regrouped and led at halftime, 47-36.

Maryland pushed the lead up to 15 points early in the second half, but a Carolina rally cut it to 62-53 with 12:16 left. However, with a 20-8 run, with eight points by Marcia Richardson, Maryland pulled away.

In other women's games, Clemson defeated Virginia, 76-71; Providence beat Georgetown, 61-50; Navy won, 71-51, over William and Mary; Rider topped George Washington, 61-52; the University of the District of Columbia edged Delaware State, 79-78; Mary Washington had a 68-47 victory over Catholic; George Mason routed Virginia Commonwealth, 84-48; Marymount defeated Hellenic, 70-30; and Gallaudet defeated Johns Hopkins 63-56.