Commentary

This time, overtime is Tar Heels' time

Updated: January 27, 2008, 10:20 PM ET
By Mechelle Voepel | Special to ESPN.com

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Maryland started Saturday's game without coach Brenda Frese, who can't travel because of her pregnancy. By the second overtime, posts Laura Harper and Jade Perry were out of action, too.

[+] EnlargeLaura Harper
AP photo/Sara D. DavisOnce Laura Harper (above) and Jade Perry fouled out, the Terps were in trouble in the frontcourt.

They fouled out -- and if there's one thing you don't want to have a shortage of against North Carolina, it's posts.

One of the Terps' rallying cries since their 2006 NCAA title season has been "Overtime is Our Time!" … but Saturday, it was North Carolina's time.

Maryland's 97-86 loss in double OT was its first defeat in extra time since the Terps fell at Florida State in January 2005. Since then, Maryland had won eight overtime games in a row, including a double-overtime victory Sunday against Georgia Tech.

It's not too often a team will have to play double-overtime games back-to-back, but the Terps did.

"It's a little rare," said assistant coach Daron Park, who has coached the team on road games in Frese's absence. "But I don't know that we were tired in the second overtime. I thought our energy and conditioning were still good."

However, the Terps lost Harper in the first OT to fouls and Perry at the beginning of the second OT.

Crystal Langhorne finished with 23 points and eight rebounds, and Harper had 12 and 10. Marissa Coleman had 20 points and a team-high 13 rebounds -- although listening to her coughing afterward in the news conference, you wondered how she stayed in the game for the entire 50 minutes. She and Kristi Toliver were the only players on either team to go the distance

Toliver had 20 points and 14 assists, but also eight turnovers. And her 2-of-11 day from behind the arc was a big part of Maryland's struggles out there; the Terps were 5-for-27 from long range.

"There are things we can learn from this," Coleman said.

It has been a taxing stretch for the Terps the past two weeks. On Jan. 14, they got their first home win against Duke since 1998. Then Jan. 18, they had to rally at the end of the game to put away Virginia. Two days later, they fought through double OT against the Yellow Jackets.

The Terps had five days between that game and the battle with Carolina. The Tar Heels, incidentally, were one of Maryland's OT "victims" in recent seasons. The last time these teams met in Chapel Hill -- in February 2006 -- Maryland won in OT.

Maryland next is host to Miami on Thursday -- look out, Hurricanes -- then, for better or worse, the Terps have just five games in February.

At 22-2, Maryland is still in very good shape … but the Terps left Chapel Hill knowing they could have been better.

Mechelle Voepel of The Kansas City Star is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. She can be reached at mvoepel123@yahoo.com.

Mechelle Voepel joined ESPN.com in 1996 and covers women's college hoops, the WNBA, the LPGA, and additional collegiate sports for espnW.

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