March 4, 2006
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Freshman Marissa Coleman assisted on the go-ahead 3-pointer and scored Maryland’s last six points to help the fourth-ranked Terrapins hold off Georgia Tech 71-66 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on Friday night.
Coleman finished with 13 points for Maryland (27-3), which advanced to Saturday’s semifinals to face No. 2 Duke. Crystal Langhorne led the Terrapins with 20 points while freshman Kristi Toliver scored eight and hit that go-ahead 3 with less than 2 minutes left.
Stephanie Higgs scored 17 of her 22 points in the second half for the Yellow Jackets (14-15), the tournament’s 11th seed that put quite a scare in the Terrapins before falling late.
It hardly seemed like a matchup built for drama. Maryland came in as the third seed while Georgia Tech had lost 26 of 32 tournament games coming into Friday.
But nine of the past 11 meetings had been decided by fewer than 10 points. That included the teams’ only meeting this season, in which Georgia Tech cut a 16-point second-half deficit to two before falling 79-71 on the road.
With the score tied, Coleman — who was named the ACC’s rookie of the year on Wednesday — found Toliver in the left corner for a 3-pointer and a 65-62 lead. Then, after Higgs knocked down a pair of free throws, Coleman worked her way into the lane and hit a contested jumper to make it 67-64 with 34.8 seconds to play.
The Yellow Jackets got no closer, with Coleman going 4-for-4 at the line to seal it in the final seconds.
Langhorne led the Terrapins by hitting eight of nine shots and pulling down seven rebounds. But she hit just four of nine free throws, part of Maryland’s 17-for-26 day at the line that nearly cost them against the Yellow Jackets.
Shay Doron added 12 points for Maryland, but came off the bench for the first time this year due to a thigh bruise that forced her to miss some practice this week.
Jill Ingram scored 15 points for the Yellow Jackets before leaving the game with an injured right leg with 1:40 left.