- The Washington Times - Monday, January 29, 2007

Earlier this month in its first big ACC matchup this season, Maryland’s high-powered offense self-destructed in the first half against rival Duke.

Last night — in front of the largest crowd to watch an ACC women’s basketball game — was the wrong time for a repeat.

No. 3 Maryland shot just 22 percent and committed 14 turnovers in the first half, never catching No. 2 North Carolina in an 84-71 loss in front of 17,950 at Comcast Center.

North Carolina All-America point guard Ivory Latta scored a season-high 32 points — one shy of her career high — to keep the nation’s longest winning streak intact and the Tar Heels undefeated.

Latta tied a career high with six 3-pointers on 10 attempts, helping North Carolina improve to 23-0, 7-0 in the ACC.

“I just wanted to attack their guards and make them guard me,” Latta said.

Against any team but Maryland, North Carolina is 54-0 over the past two seasons. The Terps were the only team to beat North Carolina last season, doing so twice, including a victory in last year’s national semifinal.

The Tar Heels finished 33-2 last season. Revenge likely was on North Carolina’s mind last night.

“Honestly, I think playing against Duke, playing against Carolina, the revenge factor is so, so big right there,” said Maryland forward Laura Harper, who finished with six points and 10 rebounds. “They come ready. They’re so focused when they come to play us.”

With the loss, the Terps’ first at home this season, Maryland (21-2, 5-2 ACC) could possibly fall out of the top five when the Associated Press poll comes out today.

The defending national champions had 21 turnovers last night and fell behind by 20 points early in the second half, yet managed to cut the deficit to one with 3:15 left, only to lose by 13.

Maryland senior guard Shay Doron (team-high 19 points) made a foul-line jumper to cut North Carolina’s lead to 67-66, but the Tar Heels outscored the Terps 17-5 down the stretch.

“We had to play better eventually, we just played so bad in the first half,” Doron said. “I was trying to do anything that I could possibly do to try to help us get some energy, get some scores, some stops, whatever it was.”

The Tar Heels were well-rested for this showdown, having not played since last Sunday’s victory against N.C. State. This was North Carolina’s first road game since Jan. 11, when it routed homestanding Clemson by 35 points.

That rest might have affected North Carolina’s start. The Tar Heels made just five of their first 17 shots (29.4 percent) and the first half did not look like a game between the two highest scoring teams in the nation.

But the Tar Heels gradually started to find the basket, relying on their athleticism along the baseline to punish the Terps inside in the first 20 minutes. Guard Camille Little, who finished with 17 points, forward Erlana Larkins (20 points) and center LaToya Pringle (six points) killed the Terps inside with their quickness and jumping ability.

As a result, Maryland was fortunate to be down only 35-27 at halftime. Playing a first half like they had in an 81-62 loss at Duke earlier this month, Maryland turned the ball over with regularity and made just 10 of 34 shots.

Long-range shooting is often one of the Terps’ strengths, as they entered last night as the ACC’s best 3-point shooting team. Against the Tar Heels, Maryland hit just six of 21 3-pointers.

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