Last Monday, Georgia Tech's women's basketball team was shocked by the death of its senior captain, Mandy Miller, who died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident the night before. Yesterday, in their first game since the tragedy, the Yellow Jackets came to Cole Field House and, for 37 minutes, played with enough heart to upset No. 16 Maryland.
But the Terrapins found their groove in the final three minutes and defeated the Yellow Jackets, 83-80, in both teams' Atlantic Coast Conference season-opener.
"It's been a tough, exhaustive and emotional week," said Yellow Jackets 6-foot-7 senior center Dolores Bootz, who scored a game-high 30 points. "We tried to forget about it and just go out and play. For 37 minutes that almost worked."
With 14:34 remaining in the game, the Terrapins (8-2) trailed by 57-47. But they began pressuring the wings and double- and triple-teaming Bootz. Maryland also began double-teaming forward Marielle Walker, who finished with 27 points, 15 on three-point goals.
The combination proved successful. And after Walker sat down with her fourth foul, with 5:37 remaining, Georgia Tech's offense stalled and Maryland took control.
Lisa Brown (16 points) pulled the Terrapins to within 77-76 with 3:24 remaining in the game. And after Maryland's Vicky Bullett blocked Ida Neal's short jumper, Deanna Tate sank a 17-foot jumper to give Maryland its first lead, 78-77, with 2:49 remaining. The Terrapins never trailed again.
"We definitely picked up the intensity level a notch in the final few minutes," said Maryland Coach Chris Weller, whose team was led by Carla Holmes' 18 points. "And we finally began playing the type of basketball we're capable of playing."
After Maryland extended its lead to 82-77, Georgia Tech (6-3) cut it to 82-80 with 36 seconds left on a three-pointer by Walker. Edna Campbell made one free throw with 35 seconds left, but Walker missed a final three-point attempt.
Georgia Tech: Neal 6, Walker 27, Bootz 30, Avant 4, Wagner 11, Gernatt 2. Totals 34 6 80.
Maryland: Campbell 10, Bullett 16, Gaines 2, Holmes 18, Brown 16, Tate 8, Winters 7, Maine 4, Myers 2. Totals 33 16 83.
Halftime: Georgia Tech, 47-41.
Three-point goals: Georgia Tech 6-16 (Walker 5-12, Wagner 1-4); Maryland 1-3 (Holmes 1-3).
A -- 450.