12:00 PM ET, February 5, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Maryland played near-perfect basketball during a 21-1 run in which the Terrapins turned a close game against Virginia into a potential rout."Everyone was hitting 3s, playing defense, getting shots. It was so exciting," forward Laura Harper said. "That's the kind of basketball you want to play the entire game."Unfortunately for the No. 6 Terrapins, they couldn't sustain the pace. After building a 21-point lead in the first half Sunday, Maryland weathered a spirited Virginia comeback before managing an 85-71 victory.The Cavaliers used a 12-6 spurt to close to 72-66 before the Terrapins made nine free throws in the final 4 minutes to pull away. Maryland went 27-for-34 at the line compared to 11-for-15 for the Cavaliers."In the second half we beat them on the floor, but the free throws made the difference," Virginia coach Debbie Ryan said. "You can't do much about that."Shay Doron scored 23 points, Harper had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Kristi Toliver scored 16 for the Terrapins (21-2, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). The victory assured Maryland a winning record in the ACC for the first time since 1996-97.Tiffany Sardin had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Sharnee Zoll had 16 points and 12 assists for Virginia (13-8, 2-7). The Cavaliers have lost four straight and seven of nine."I thought we stayed right with them," Ryan said. "It was just that one lull that put us in a hole that was difficult to climb out of. But I thought we did a good job climbing."The 21-1 run made it 38-17, but it took a late surge to ensure the Terrapins their first regular-season sweep of the Cavaliers since 1989."Against ranked opponents you can't let a lead slip like that," Harper said. "I think it's something we need to focus on, but overall I'm not concerned."Maryland coach Brenda Frese wasn't so quick to brush aside the near-collapse."We need to find a way to keep our team in the flow, like we were in the first half," she said.Down 43-28 at halftime, the Cavaliers got three baskets from Sardin and a 3-pointer from Zoll in an 11-4 run that made it 47-39. Minutes later, Takisha Granberry scored four straight points to make it 54-47 with 12:20 left.Then, after Maryland went up 63-51, the Cavaliers mounted one final comeback bid.There were five ties in the opening seven minutes before Toliver hit a 3-pointer to put Maryland up for good at 15-12.It was 17-16 before Doron hit a 3-pointer, received an assist on a Crystal Langhorne layup and sank a jumper from the foul line. After a Virginia timeout, Toliver scored from beyond the arc and Doron made two foul shots before a free throw by Granberry interrupted the 13-point run.Marissa Coleman then hit a long-range jumper to spark a nine-point spurt that made it 38-17. Granberry answered with a runner in the lane to end a Virginia field-goal drought that lasted nearly 7 minutes."We just went cold," Ryan said. "We have a tendency to do that."It was the first of three games for Virginia against teams ranked in the top six. The Cavaliers face No. 2 Duke on Friday and top-ranked North Carolina on Feb. 12.