No. 5 Maryland women defeats No. 19 Delaware 85-76By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer Thursday, Dec 29, 2011
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP)—After winning one blowout after another, No. 5 Maryland found itself in a unique position: trailing in the second half on its own floor.
Although the Terrapins never could find a way to prevent Delaware star Elena Delle Donne from scoring, they got enough production from guards Laurin Mincy and Anjale Barrett to pull out an 85-76 victory over the 19th-ranked and previously unbeaten Blue Hens on Thursday night.
Mincy scored 18 of her career-high 25 points after halftime and fueled a pivotal run that enabled Maryland (13-0) to win the title game of the Terrapin Classic. Barrett had 16 points and eight assists despite missing time in the first half after taking a spill.
“We’re going to go as far as our guards take us,” coach Brenda Frese said. “It’s just fun to see how our backcourt is working together.”
The Terrapins trailed 44-41 before Mincy scored nine points in a 15-2 run that put Maryland ahead by 10 with 13:51 left. After the Blue Hens closed to 56-50, Barrett contributed the final seven points to a 9-2 spurt that upped the margin to 13.
Alyssa Thomas had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Terrapins, whose margin of victory was under double digits for only the second time this season.
Delle Donne scored 32 for the Blue Hens (10-1), who were seeking to improve on the best start in school history. Delaware is 0-10 all-time against Maryland and 3-28 versus ranked opponents.
Delle Donne finished 10 for 19 from the field and made all 10 of her free throws. The nation’s leading scorer kept the Blue Hens in striking distance by scoring 24 points after halftime, including two foul shots that made it 79-73 with 3:43 to go.
But the Terrapins simply had too much depth and height. Maryland finished with a 38-30 rebounding advantage, the first time this season Delaware was beaten on the boards.
“We always feel like as the game unfolds, in the second half we get stronger,” Frese said. “I do feel like we can wear teams down.”
That may be an asset when the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule begins, but before this game most of the Terrapins’ games were decided before halftime. Maryland’s previous four wins were 76-42, 108-33, 78-50 and 84-36.
For that reason, Delaware coach Tina Martin felt good about her team’s performance.
“Hats off to them for doing an outstanding job, but also to my team,” she said. “We’ve come a long way at Delaware. We need to grow and learn from this experience. … They’ve been blowing people out of this building, and this game was hotly contested from the beginning to the very end.”
It might have been even closer if Delle Donne performed better in the first half.
“In the first half I wasn’t attacking enough,” the 6-foot-5 junior said. “In the second half I was able to attack the glass more and get into the paint.”
Despite the defeat, Delle Donne had reason to smile.
“I think we fought extremely hard, and that’s exciting for our future,” she said. “I think we’ll build upon that.”
Delaware ran off 11 straight points late in the first half, taking its second lead of the game before a follow-shot by Whitney Bays put Maryland ahead 39-38 at the break.
After Thomas scored off the opening tip, the Blue Hens went up 7-6. Thomas then made a pair of baskets in a 13-4 run that put the Terps in front 19-11. The only Delaware points during the surge were scored by Delle Donne, who also committed two turnovers.
It was 24-20 before Thomas drilled a 3-pointer off a pass from Barrett and Kim Rodgers sank two foul shots. Minutes later, Thomas drove the length of the court for a layup, was fouled and added the free throw to make it 37-27.
The Terrapins then went nearly nine minutes without scoring. Barrett had assists on five of Maryland’s first eight baskets, but she hurt her left ankle trying to take a charge and did not play the last 6 minutes of the half.
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