Success isn't foreign to the Maryland women's basketball team, which plays Central Michigan in a NCAA East Regional quarterfinal tonight at 7:30 in Cole Field House. The sixth-ranked Terrapins (25-4) have reached the national quarterfinals the last five years.
The international aspects in Maryland's success are Jasmina Perazic, a senior from Novisad, Yugoslavia, and junior forward Lea Hakala, from Lahti, Finland. Both competed for their national teams and Perazic played on Yugoslavia's 1980 Olympic bronze medal winners.
Central Michigan (21-8), the Mid-American Conference champion, features a guard-oriented offense led by Lisa Zodtner (13.8 points per game average). The Chippewas come into Cole as underdogs, with no starter taller than 6-foot-1. Maryland enjoys a height advantage, and the Terrapins may try to go inside against the Chippewas' full-court pressure and man-to-man defense that will concentrate on stopping Perazic's accurate outside shooting.
Perazic's nickname, Jazz, aptly describes her flashy style. She attended Frankfurt (West Germany) American High School where she averaged 22.3 points per game as a senior. Perazic's high school coach contacted American universities, but Perazic "just wanted to see the U.S. I had never taken basketball seriously. I never thought I'd stay."Perazic became a starter her sophomore year, averaging 12.4 points while making 53 percent of her shots.
Perazic is leading the team in scoring (16.2) and was named the co-most valuable player as the Terrapins won the ACC tournament. Perazic ranks third on Maryland's career scoring list (1,363) and only needs 63 points to pass Kris Kirchner for first.
Maryland's first European player, Perazic has made things easier for Hakala, the second. She played on the Finnish National team for six years, earning all-European honors in 1981.
Hakala emerged from the shadow of Perazic, Debbie Lytle and Marcia Richardson in the ACC tournament, scoring 58 points, including a career-high 24 against North Carolina.