Just when it looked like it was safe to call Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball a two-team race, a cry of protest was heard from the University of Maryland.

The unranked Terrapins -- lost in the ACC shuffle because of top-ranked Virginia and third-ranked North Carolina State -- got a free throw from Ana Marjanovic with eight seconds remaining to stun the Wolfpack, 81-80, before 1,879 last night at Cole Field House.

The win pushed the Terrapins' record to 13-6 overall, 6-1 in the ACC, leaving them behind only 6-0 Virginia. The Wolfpack dropped to 15-3, 5-3.

Maryland -- which has been out of the top 25 for a month and, therefore, out of mind -- played an outstanding game, shooting 56 percent, forcing 23 turnovers and keeping the Wolfpack's high-scoring offense under wraps.

"Obviously, we are delighted," Maryland Coach Chris Weller said. "State is such a quality team. We were just hoping to be able to play at this level."

Plays by Marjanovic and reserve Sue Panek were key for Maryland. A three-point play by Marjanovic gave the Terrapins a 78-76 lead with 2:47 left, and the Wolfpack's Sharon Manning (23 points, 11 rebounds) tied the game with a short leaner 23 seconds later. After Marjanovic nailed a turnaround jumper, Manning again tied the score with a pair of free throws with 45 seconds left.

The Terrapins went back to Marjanovic, but this time she missed a 12-footer. Panek, however, got the rebound and fed a driving Marjanovic, who was fouled. She missed the first shot, but hit the second.

"There was lots of noise {after the miss}, lots of people yelling my name," Marjanovic said. "I just told myself, 'I've got to make this one.' "

After a timeout with five seconds left, the Wolfpack attempted to go inside to Rhonda Mapp, but Danyel Parker's inbounds pass was tipped by Maryland center Jessie Hicks (game-high 26 points), and Panek came up with the loose ball.

"I thought Maryland played a great game," North Carolina State Coach Kay Yow said. "I thought they were ready in every way for this game.

"Offensively, they really executed," she said. "They did what they wanted to do."

Maryland picked up the win despite failing to shut down the ACC's leading scorer, guard Andrea Stinson, who had 23 points on 10 of 16 shooting.