Terps deliver message in dominating win over Heels

Updated: April 3, 2006, 5:05 AM ET
By Mechelle Voepel | Special to ESPN.com

BOSTON -- The clock was stopped with seven-tenths of a second left. You all remember what happened the last time that 0.7 appeared on a scoreboard when North Carolina was playing in the Women's Final Four, right?

Charlotte Smith was on the North Carolina bench -- she's an assistant coach -- but her eligibility is long-ago expired. Besides, the Tar Heels didn't have the ball. And there's no such thing as a 10-point shot if they did.

Crystal Langhorne
AP Photo/Charles KrupaCrystal Langhorne and the Terps grabbed 10 more boards than the Tar Heels on Sunday.
Nope, there would be nothing like a dramatic repeat of the No. 1 most-famous moment ever in the women's NCAA Tournament: Smith's 3-pointer that gave the Tar Heels a 60-59 win in the 1994 title game over Louisiana Tech.

Instead, Maryland's Marissa Coleman went to the foul line and swished both free throws, nice window-dressing on an 81-70 victory over the Tar Heels on Sunday. Before that, Coleman had contributed much, much more than that to the Terps' win.

She had team highs with 14 rebounds and seven assists, plus added 12 points. The rebounds, though, were what she was especially happy about, and for good reason. If there was one thing the Terps had pounded into their brains before this game by coach Brenda Frese, it was "rebound."

"It's everywhere," Coleman said afterward.

As sportswriters can be a rather dense lot, she was asked to explain exactly where "everywhere" was. She pointed around the locker room. The words "rebound" and "rebounding" were written or taped up all over.

Basically, Frese had not found a way to wallpaper any of the tunnels in Beantown with "rebounding," and she didn't have a plane trailing a "rebounding" banner take off from Logan Airport … but she definitely got the message across.

"It's in our hotel room, it's in our locker room at home and our locker room here," Maryland post player Crystal Langhorne said of the visual reminder. "The room we watched film in, the room we ate in …"

The Terps took the hint, winning the battle of boards 41-31. The only Tar Heel who really gave Maryland trouble in rebounds -- and everything else -- was Erlana Larkins. She turned 20 on Sunday, and had a whale of a game on her birthday. She led the team in points (28), rebounds (10), steals (five) and assists (five).

But with point guard Ivory Latta not herself -- she appeared to hyperextend her left knee with 12:24 left the first half -- Larkins was about the only thing the Tar Heels really had going for them.

Meanwhile, the Terps had four players in double figures, led by Laura Harper's 24. And despite the fact that Maryland had 26 turnovers, Maryland was able to control the game for most of the second half.

Maryland rookie point guard Kristi Toliver had 12 of those turnovers; she jokingly said that was counterbalanced by the 12 assists she had in the Terps' tournament opener against Sacred Heart.

"I don't think I've ever had 12 turnovers in a game in my life," Toliver said. "But if we can go on to win the national championship game after this, I'll take it."

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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