March 2, 2007
BY STEVE PHILLIPS
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Georgia Tech fell out of the ACC Tournament Friday when it was defeated by Maryland, 75-59, in the quarterfinals at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
Crystal Langhorne scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the sixth-ranked and third-seeded Terps defeated sixth-seeded Georgia Tech, 75-59, in Friday evening’s quarterfinal game.
Maryland (27-4) avenged a regular-season loss to the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta and drew a spot opposite fourth-ranked and second-seeded North Carolina in Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. semifinal. The Tar Heels were responsible for one of the Terps’ other regular-season losses, an 81-74 decision at College Park on Jan. 28.
“We have players in our locker room with a lot of character and a lot of heart, and they’re tremendous competitors,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “We definitely took that game at Georgia Tech to heart, and we didn’t want to feel that way again.”
Langhorne echoed her coach’s sentiment.
“I know I’ve never been so angry in college as I was when we lost that game at Georgia Tech,” Langhorne said. “We were so excited when we found out we were going to be able to play them (in the ACC Tournament), and we knew we were going to come out with a lot of energy.”
Can the defending national champion Terps respond with that same kind of energy against UNC on Saturday. Guard Marissa Coleman plans on it, and she was quick to note that top-ranked Duke — which handed Maryland its other two losses — also lurks in the tournament field.
“Coming into the tournament, our coaching staff stressed that if we keep playing 40 mintues, we’re going to be able to get revenge on all three teams that handed us losses this year,” Coleman said. “We beat Georgia Tech, and now we’re very anxious to play Carolina.”
Coleman scored 16 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as Maryland posted a huge 46-21 advantage on the boards. That was a point of emphasis to the Terps, who felt they were physically outplayed in the game at Atlanta.
Georgia Tech (20-10) found it difficult to match up after forward Janie Mitchell picked up three early fouls. The Terps looked primarily inside to build a 40-26 halftime advantage.
“Obviously, Maryland is a phenomenal team,” Yellow Jackets coach MaChelle Joseph said. “We couldn’t counter their inside game in the first half. It was a very physical game, and we like a phyiscal game. But I don’t know that we responded the way we would have liked to.”
Kristi Toliver added 12 points for the Terps, who shot 59 percent from the floor and led by 24 points with just over four minutes to play.
Stephanie Higgs’ 16 points led the Yellow Jackets. Mitchell finished with 14, and Chioma Nnamaka added 12 before being forced to the sidelines in the second half by what Joseph said was apparent dehydration.