Maryland's women's basketball Coach Chris Weller is not known for her smiles. But last night, after her eighth-ranked Terappins thrashed seventh-ranked Old Dominion, 82-66, at Cole Field House, Weller was smiling broadly.
"It's one of our biggest regular-season wins ever," Weller said. "Except for that one stretch when they went to man to man in the second half, it was the best we've played this season. All of our starters had good games. We knew it would take that against them."
Maryland moved from a 31-28 lead with 3:10 to go in the first half, to a 39-28 intermission margin and then blew the game open by scoring the first eight points of the second half to lead, 47-28, with 17:20 to play. The lead reached 22, at 54-34, three minutes later.
Old Dominion went scoreless for 7:45 but then, just as suddenly, the Monarchs got hot. Maryland led, 64-42, with 10:30 to go as Debbie Lytle's layup was the Terrapins' 11th basket in 15 second-half shots. Old Dominion roared back, scoring 14 straight points, the last eight by Medina Dixon to narrow the gap to eight, 64-56, with 4:22 remaining.
Marcia Richardson's dazzling left-handed fast-break layup was Maryland's first basket in 6:50 and the Terrapins converted six of seven one and ones down the stretch to clinch the victory.
Old Dominion (16-5) had beaten Maryland (19-2) the last four times the teams had met, including a 77-46 rout last season. Weller and the Terrapin seniors, Lytle and Jasmina Perazic, had revenge on their minds.
"I was dying to beat ODU," Lytle said. "ODU and Cheyney were on my list. We came to play tonight. We just wanted it more. It was my last chance to beat them. I've never been this happy after a regular-season win. I even did Fun Bunch high fives and I hate the Redskins."
Defensively, Maryland utilized a 2-1-2 sagging zone against the Monarchs' imposing front line, led by 6-foot-8 all-America center Anne Donovan. On offense, the Terrapins didn't try to make Old Dominion run, but instead relied on 15-foot jump shots.
"We concentrated on trying to make it a perimeter game," Weller said. "We moved Debbie inside for this game. We wanted to get the point guard inside to pass out for the outside shots. We wanted to use our quickness against their height."
All 82 of Maryland's points came from the starters, who were all in double figures. Perazic led the way with 22 while Lea Hakala had 19 (16 after intermission).