After winning the 2006 national championship, Maryland women's basketball coach Brenda Frese wrote a book titled "Overtime is Our Time." Yesterday, the Terrapins had to draw upon their old ways to secure a win.
Junior Marissa Coleman scored the Terps' first five points in double overtime to help No. 4 Maryland escape with a 99-95 victory over Georgia Tech at Comcast Center.
It was a wild, back-and-forth affair that featured 18 ties and 23 lead changes. Neither team ever had a comfortable cushion; Maryland's biggest lead was seven, and Georgia Tech's was six.
"I'm very proud of this team in terms of keeping our composure down the stretch and executing the game plan the way we wanted," Frese said.
The Yellow Jackets used the same strategy they did last year when they upset the Terps in Atlanta. Georgia Tech pressed for all 50 minutes this time, forcing 26 turnovers and contesting every dribble and every pass the Terps made.
The Yellow Jackets also found success beating the Terps off the dribble. Maryland switched to a zone to shore up defensively, but Georgia Tech continued to get to the rim and finish.
"Whenever we play Georgia Tech it's going to be a tough game, especially with them beating us last year," said Coleman, who contributed 24 points. "We knew it was going to be tough, and we fought through it as a team, and we stayed composed."
In the end, the Terps' size was too much for the Yellow Jackets. Maryland's post tandem of Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper dominated the interior. Harper finished with 24 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.
"Because of their press, it was easy to get position," Harper said. "The guards could see us clearly, and it worked out nicely."
Langhorne was honored in a pregame ceremony for breaking Vicky Bullett's Maryland career scoring record and then showcased her talent on the court. She scored 31 points, including seven straight in the first overtime to keep the Terps in the game, and grabbed 15 rebounds. It was her sixth career 30-point effort and 52nd double-double.
"That's why Crystal Langhorne is an All-American," Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. "I said it last year, and I'll say it again: She's the best post player in America."
Coleman started double overtime with a driving layup, but Jacqua Williams responded with a 3-pointer for Georgia Tech. Coleman then made three free throws to give the Terps a 97-95 lead. The Yellow Jackets failed to score the rest of the way.
Janie Mitchell buried a 3-pointer under duress to tie the game 82-28 with 10 seconds left in regulation. She finished with 20 points, one of three Yellow Jackets to score as much.
Langhorne saved Maryland in the first overtime. Georgia Tech led 90-85 with 1:20 left before the senior went on her own 7-0 run in the next 50 seconds, which included a steal off a Georgia Tech inbounds pass. But Jill Ingram scored to tie the game 92-92 with 22.1 seconds remaining, and neither team scored on its last possession.
The game became so intense that even Frese, who normally stays seated on the bench during games because of her pregnancy, jumped up to yell instructions to her team throughout the overtime periods.
"I'll probably be pretty sore tomorrow," Frese said.