Coach Chris Weller thought if the Maryland women's basketball team could stay close to Virginia, perhaps the crowd arriving for last night's men's game between the schools could help the Terrapins upset the 15th-ranked Cavaliers.
Unfortunately for Weller and Maryland, Cathy Grimes scored all 10 of her points and freshman Donna Holt had three steals as the Cavaliers built a 41-19 halftime lead. The 63-50 victory was the Cavaliers' first ever in six games at Cole Field House.
Maryland drops to 8-10, 3-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia is 15-3 and 6-2.
"I think they're having a down year," Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan said. "We're finally seeing a turnaround. Before, we've come up here and we didn't think we could win. There's more parity now. This year we knew we could win."
Virginia led by 14-4 with 13:08 left in the first half when Nancy Mayer, who led all scorers with 14, made back-to-back jumpers. The Cavaliers led by 16 with 5:05 left in the half on Grimes' second three-point play.
"I just wanted to get off to a good start early," said Grimes, a graduate of T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria. "The games at Cole Field House are always tough."
Grimes' offensive play and the defensive play of Holt and Daphne Hawkins enabled Virginia to push the lead to 22 twice before the end of the first half. Holt's defense made it difficult for Maryland's guards to get the ball inside.
"They look to me for defense and for pressuring other teams," she said. "I'm not a real scorer. I only averaged 12 points a game in high school."