In past years, an 11-point second-half lead for the Maryland women's basketball team would have been like money in the bank. But the inexperience of this year's Terrapins enabled Richmond to steal a 79-69 victory last night at Cole Field House.
The perimeter-oriented Spiders (3-0), who succeeded in negating Maryland's size advantage, were led by Mount Hebron graduate Amy Mallon, who scored 15 of her 17 points after intermission. The 18th-ranked Terrapins were led by forward Dafne Lee, who had 20 points.
With only four players who have played more than two seasons at Maryland, Coach Chris Weller expected growing pains.
"We lost a game we were expected to win," Weller said. "I think Richmond played a very good game. They were very heady throughout and they kept their composure at the end."
After a close first half, the Terrapins seemed primed to pull away when Estelle Christy's jumper gave them a 50-39 lead with 13:06 to play. But the Spiders got hot from the field, and Debbie Barnes's layin with 7:57 left cut the lead to 59-55.
The Terrapins regained the lead for the last time, 62-61, on Lee's three-point play with 5:08 left. But Julie Jones made a jumper from the free throw line and Mallon made two 12-footers to open a 67-62 lead. After Lee scored, Mallon hit a 15-footer in traffic to reopen the lead to five with 1:35 left.
In the final minutes, the Terrapins were unable to hit the shots to get back into the game. Meanwhile, the Spiders made 10 straight free throws to seal the victory.