6:00 PM ET, March 7, 2008
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Laura Harper couldn't miss. The rest of her Maryland teammates seemed to feel the same way.Harper scored 15 of her 25 points after halftime while the Terrapins (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) shot 57 percent Friday to beat Boston College 93-81 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, pushing Maryland to the semifinals for the fifth straight year.Crystal Langhorne had 24 points for the second-seeded Terps (30-2), who will face Duke on Saturday. The Blue Devils rallied to beat Florida State 81-67 in Friday's last quarterfinal.Harper, a 6-foot-4 senior, came up with one of her best offensive performances of the season, going 8-for-8 from the field and 9-for-10 at the foul line in 25 minutes. That included four straight points late that turned away the seventh-seeded Eagles' final spurt and kept the Terrapins in pursuit of their first ACC title in 19 years."I just go out and play every game with energy and have a lot of fun," Harper said. "Games like this are wonderful to play. I hope I have more like this."It was the second straight 20-point outing for Harper, who has been a steady producer while Langhorne, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman grabbed more of the headlines. Harper has started every game and came in ranked fourth on the team in scoring (14.3 points) while ranking second in shooting (63.3 percent).She matched her career high of 27 points earlier this season against Clemson and has reached double figures in 25 games.Maryland coach Brenda Frese -- who was roaming the sideline for the first time this season after remaining seated through games before giving birth to twins last month -- said Harper has improved her consistency and confidence most."Each and every game, she's so focused," Frese said. "She believes in herself each and every time. She's unstoppable when she puts her mind into it, just like tonight. You can see the focus and determination."Langhorne, who was named the ACC's player of the year earlier this week, came through with another strong performance. She had 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting in the first half and finished 11-for-13 from the field with seven rebounds against Boston College (20-11), which fell behind by 19 at halftime and spent the entire second half trying to rally.The Terrapins needed every bit of that hot shooting, too. Behind a career day from Mickel Picco, Boston College shot 56 percent, including 11-for-19 from 3-point range. Picco, a 5-8 sophomore, had 33 points on 13-for-19 shooting while going 7-for-11 from 3-point range to cause problems for Maryland the entire night."I didn't really feel like I was doing anything," Picco said. "It just came to me. I didn't feel like I was forcing anything or doing anything out of rhythm. I felt really good out there."Maryland got off to a fast start thanks to Langhorne and Coleman, who had nine points during an 18-5 run to close the first half that gave the Terrapins a 48-29 lead at the break. That lead held up, though the pesky Eagles wouldn't go away and twice closed the margin to nine points in the final 4 minutes.Picco's runner pulled Boston College to within 83-74 with 3:11 to play, but that's when Harper closed the door on BC. She first hit two free throws followed by a contested jumper that pushed the margin to 13 points with 2:21 left to essentially end the game.Boston College fell to 1-3 in the tournament since joining the league before the 2005-06 season. Boston College earned its first tourney win against Virginia Tech in Thursday's first round."I can't be any happier with how this team battled," Boston College coach Cathy Inglese said. "Even when they were down by 20, they never gave up."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press