Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Maryland Leaps Over Virginia Back to Win Column

Guru's Note: A shorter Inquirer print version of the Maryland-Virginia Game is at Philly.Com

By Mel Greenberg

COLLEGE PARK, Md. _ Maryland made it three straight over Virginia Friday night for the first time since the end of the 1980s by thumping the Cavaliers, 95-68, in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in front of an animated crowd of 11,118 at the Comcast Center.

True, the Terrapins (18-2, 2-1 ACC) had a week of pent-up anger to build over the recent upset loss to Duke that knocked the defending NCAA champions from the unbeaten column.

But Virginia (12-6, 2-2) is its own animal on Maryland's list of traditional rivals. In the early 1990s both schools were at the top of the conference and among the nation's best leading to the famous 1-2 game -- the Terrapins- first-ever sellout, which was in the former Cole Fieldhouse facility.

But beginning in 1993, the Cavaliers launched a 23-1 stretch that finally began to reverse after Brenda Freese's arrival here. Maryland has now won five the last seven in the series.

The Terrapins led most of Friday night except twice in the early going and built a 42-27 halftime lead. In the second half, the Maryland advantage moved into the 20s and stayed there the rest of the way.

Laura Harper, the MVP for Maryland in last season's NCAA Final Four, had 28 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks in 23 minutes and was the proud recipient late in the game of a behind-the-back inside pass for a layup that had her dancing around after she scored.

Crystal Langhorne had 17 points and 12 rebounds, Marissa Coleman scored 16 points, and Kristi Toliver had 20 points. She had a trio of three-pointers, including one that just beat the shot clock, which recalled her shot in the national title game against Duke that sent the action into overtime before Maryland prevailed.

When one of the reporters in the post-game referred to the play and the Maryland perimeter shooter as "Cool Hand Kristi," Harper and Langhorne burst into laughter thinking a new nickname had been coined for Toliver out of the blue.

It was later explained to both of them, the phrase came in reference to the Paul Newman movie "Cool Hand Luke," a film never seen by either Harper or Langhorne. And no, this reporter was not the one to suggest the nickname.

Returning to the statistics, Lyndra Littles had 23 points for the Cavaliers, Siedah Williams scored 12, and Monica Wright and Paulisha Kellum each scored 10. Junior Sharnee Zoll, who has proclaimed herself to be chasing Dawn Staley's 729 career assist record at Virginia, dealt 11 Friday night to bring her total to 463.

Wright was limited in the first half by two personal fouls.

Maryland used its inside strength for a 49-32 advantage on the backboards and also shot 22-for-27 from the line while Virginia was 6-for-10.

When some discussed the growing strength of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Harper responded that she and her teammates were not threatened

Elsewhere this weekend, Rutgers is at Louisville, Sunday, for a major road test in the Big East for the suddenly resilient Scarlet Knights. South Florida is at Pittsburgh, Saturday, in another major Big East clash. Connecticut makes a Madison Square Garden appearance Sunday against St. John's.

Hofstra has a big advance sale for Delaware Sunday and expects to set a program attendance record for the showdown in the Colonial Athletic Association.

George Washington, whose coach Joe McKeown just won his 400th career game, is at Xavier in a key Atlantic Ten contest.

-- Mel


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make an appearance on Maryland's "Under the Shell" TV Show this week. You can see it online at umterps.com/undertheshell
Look for "Highlights" and click on the Virginia game. Keep up the great work

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