Maryland, which struggled on offense nearly the entire game, lost to 20th-ranked Virginia, 64-53, tonight in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball tournament.

The sixth-seeded Terrapins, who ended the season with a 9-18 record, the poorest in the school's history, managed to score only 14 points in the first 15 minutes of the game. Maryland was beaten in 12 of its final 13 games, including seven in a row.

"We looked scared to death. I think that was the biggest thing," said Chris Weller, Maryland's coach. "That was probably the worst beginning of a game we've had in a long time."

Third-seeded Virginia (21-6) led by 36-22 at halftime. But Maryland could not capitalize when the Cavaliers managed only 10 points in a 12-minute span of the second half. The Terrapins, who had won five previous ACC titles, were eliminated in the opening round for the first time in the eight-year history of the tournament.

In the other first-round games today, top-seeded North Carolina State won, 87-60, over Georgia Tech, and fifth-seeded Duke played strongly in the second half to eliminate fourth-seeded Clemson, 81-76. Clemson, which finished 18-9, had a seven-game winning streak broken. It was Duke's first-ever tournament victory.

Second-seeded North Carolina, the defending champion, defeated seventh-seeded Wake Forest, 76-64, as sophomore center Dawn Royster scored 28 points and got 16 rebounds. Wake finished 14-13.

In Saturday's semifinals, which will start at 6 p.m., 15th-ranked North Carolina State (22-5) will face Duke (19-7), followed by Virginia vs. North Carolina (20-9).