Kizer gets 18, No. 8 Maryland women take 91-61 winBy PETE IACOBELLI, AP Sports Writer Thursday, Feb 9, 2012
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP)—Maryland coach Brenda Frese was worried how her eighth-ranked Terrapins would approach the game with struggling Clemson. She’s a lot more confident about the rest of the regular season after Maryland’s latest blowout.
Lynetta Kizer scored 18 points and the Terrapins had six players in double figures in a 91-61 victory over the Tigers. It’s was Maryland’s 10th straight win over Clemson, its third consecutive win this season and the perfect set up to a stretch that figures to decide the team’s ACC championship fate.
The Terrapins (21-3, 8-3) trail No. 5 Duke (11-0 in the ACC) and No. 6 Miami (10-1) in the league race. But they take on both those teams at home in the next 10 days.
“I like that we’re improving. I like how we’re playing together unselfishly. I like that we’re playing at home in front of our tremendous fans,” Frese said. “We just see a big picture we’re trying to improve to get ready for postseason play.”
Maryland would win plenty of postseason games with an effort like this.
Four Terrapins’ starters reached double figures—Alicia DeVaughn had 15 points, Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins 14 each and Laurin Mincy 13. Even backup Brene Moseley snuck into the double-figure club on a jumper with 22 seconds left that provided Maryland it’s final margin of victory.
“That’s when we’re at our best when we’re sharing the basketball,” Frese said. “I thought we did a nice job of that.”
And Maryland didn’t just use its offense.
The Terrapins held Clemson to 33 percent shooting overall and even less (5 of 21) from three-point range. They had 14 steals and forced 25 turnovers.
Frese was concerned how her team would react coming in. Maryland had achieved a milestone this past Monday in a 64-56 win at Georgia Tech with its eighth straight 20-win season. The Tigers had won only twice in their previous 12 games and started three freshmen and a sophomore against an experience Maryland club.
Kizer said the players discussed coming out strong and not giving an inch. “This is something we’re trying to do every time we step on the court,” she said. “Coach kept telling us don’t let up and I think we did an OK job.”
Can the Terrapins bring that focus to their upcoming stretch? Kizer believes so.
“We still have a lot to prove. We want to earn a lot of people’s respect,” she said. “That’s not going to come by itself. It’s going to come with a lot of hard work.”
Nikki Dixon had 17 points to lead the Tigers, but was just 4 of 14 from the field against Maryland’s high-pressure defense.
Maryland forced turnovers on five straight Tigers possessions to run out to a 16-4 lead less than seven minutes in. Clemson could not hold on against the ACC’s highest scoring team.
“Composure was the thing I was most disappoint in because we didn’t keep it,” Tigers coach Itoro Coleman said. “We didn’t have it.”
Thomas had 11 points in the opening half while Kizer had eight consecutive points down the stretech as Maryland took a 20-point lead in the final minutes of the opening half.
The Terrapins did just about everything right the first 20 minutes. They shot 50 percent (15 of 30) and made all but one of their 14 foul shots. They held Clemson to 2 of 13 shooting from behind the arc and forced 16 turnovers in the period.
Clemson’s leading scorer, Dixon, hit just two of seven shots.
Maryland kept up the pressure throughout the second half. When Clemson cut the lead to 65-47 with 9:18 to go, the Terrapins answered with a 31-7 charge over the next six minutes. It was Maryland’s fourth ACC win of 21 points or more.
Chancie Dunn scored 12 points and Kelly Gramlich had 10 for the Tigers.
Clemson coach Itoro Coleman might’ve wanted to yell more. But the second year coach was in her third trimester carrying her and husband Harold Coleman’s fourth child. Coleman, a former Clemson basketball standout, missed the start of her debut season because she gave birth to daughter Jasmine in November 2010.
“I know my stomach’s getting big. I know there’s a baby inside,” Coleman said. “But to be honest, I don’t even think about it.”
Coleman swore she wouldn’t go for her own family starting five after her latest child, due to arrive in early March—about in time for the ACC tournament.
The game served as a remembrance of the late Kay Yow with both teams wearing pink in their uniforms—Clemson had pink shorts while the Terrapins had pink socks—to honor the North Carolina State coach who died of breast cancer in 2009.