Terps' Harper, Langhorne combine for 41 points, 22 boards in win

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Maryland coach Brenda Frese hadn't been on the road with her team since December.

When she made a surprise appearance in the locker room Sunday, her players responded.

Laura Harper scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Crystal Langhorne contributed 20 points and 11 rebounds as No. 5 Maryland closed the regular season with a 76-64 victory over N.C. State.

"Coach B just popped up after our speech, and we just thought it was a recording," Harper said of Frese, who gave birth to twin boys Feb. 17. "We were so confused. It was the best surprise ever, though."

Frese walked in as assistant coach Daron Park finished giving the Terrapins their defensive matchups, providing her team a simple message: "Let's play Maryland basketball."

The Terrapins (29-2, 13-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) did that, taking control of the game early with an 11-0 run en route to their seventh consecutive victory.

Harper capped Maryland's early spurt with a putback, giving her team a 21-12 lead with 10:56 remaining in the first half. The Terrapins stretched their lead to 36-18 with 3:54 left as the Wolfpack (18-11, 6-8) went scoreless for more than 5 minutes.

"We got a lot of good looks, and they just didn't fall for us," said N.C. State coach Kay Yow, whose team shot just 33.3 percent from the field in the first half. "When you get those kind of looks, you've got to put some of them down."

Nikitta Gartrell scored 19 points for N.C. State, which suffered its fourth consecutive loss to the Terrapins, and Shayla Fields added 17 points. Khadijah Whittington tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds in the final regular-season home game of her career for the Wolfpack, who failed to finish at least .500 in conference play for the first time since 2002-03.

Maryland was just too strong inside.

Langhorne and Harper combined to shot 15 of 27 from the floor, and teammate Marissa Coleman joined them with a double-double of her own with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kristi Toliver added 13 points and six assists for the Terrapins, who made just 2 of 14 3-point attempts but outrebounded N.C. State 46-35.

"They're two special seniors," said Frese about Harper and Langhorne. "To be able to have the poise and confidence that when we need a big play, we know we can go inside. They have the confidence to put this team on their back and be able to step up and make plays for us."

N.C. State center Chanita Jordan played just 17 minutes because of foul trouble, leading Whittington to battle Maryland's post duo without much help. Whittington, the No. 2 rebounder in N.C. State history, left the court at Reynolds Coliseum to a standing ovation with 39.7 seconds remaining.

"We had one player inside who could match and go with Maryland, but only one," Yow said. "Their backup is not bad, but those two are both candidates for All-America."

The Wolfpack cut Maryland's lead to eight points on two occasions in the second half but never got closer. After a jumper by Whittington pulled N.C. State within 47-39 with 13:40 left, the Terrapins scored the next five points to restore their cushion.

The lead ballooned as large as 19 points with 2:55 to play.