Maryland's women's basketball team had had six days' rest following a big upset of North Carolina State, and No. 23 Clemson had had just three days' rest and didn't arrive until 4 a.m. yesterday morning.

But the Lady Tigers displayed all the energy while Maryland seemed to lumber up and down the court as Clemson raced to an easy, 74-63 victory at Cole Field House last night.

"We did not play well," said Terrapins Coach Chris Weller. "But when you're playing against a great team, you don't know how much to blame yourself. I told the girls to try a little more running because I felt we had progressed to that point. But that may have been my mistake. . . . We just didn't play hard. We've had a tendency to slip after big wins."

Last night's faltering enabled the Lady Tigers (17-7, 7-4 in the ACC) to close to within a game of second-place Maryland (15-9, 8-3) in the conference. Each team has three conference games remaining as the Lady Tigers avenged a 71-68 loss earlier in the season. Virginia beat Wake Forest, 98-66, to clinch at least a tie for the regular season title.

Clemson senior center Jackie Farmer missed the last encounter with an undisclosed injury. She proved more than capable last night, towering over the younger Maryland frontcourt to finish with 19 points and nine rebounds after missing the previous two games.

"It's good to have her back," said Clemson Coach Jim Davis, whose team looked crisp the entire game. "She makes a big difference."