- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2008

The Maryland women’s basketball team sent a strong message to the rest of the ACC on Thursday and an even stronger one yesterday.

Thanks to an unrelenting offensive attack and an improving defense, No. 5 Maryland handed Clemson its worst loss ever 110-46 at Comcast Center yesterday.

The 64-point win marked the Terrapins’ biggest over an ACC opponent since their 117-53 victory over Wake Forest in 1980.

On the heels of a 34-point win at Wake Forest on Thursday, Maryland (18-1, 2-0 ACC) is off and running in conference play.

Disappointing home losses to Duke and North Carolina and a road loss at Georgia Tech last season left the Terps upset. Throughout their nonconference schedule this year, they reiterated their desire to redeem themselves in conference play.

So far, so good.

“Our mentality this year is to go hard and play like champions all the time,” senior Crystal Langhorne said. “No matter what the lead is, we wanna play as hard as we can. I think we’ve learned a lot of lessons from last year, and we don’t want anything like that to happen to us again.”

Clemson came out determined to stop sharpshooting Maryland point guard Kristi Toliver. That left the paint clear for the Terps’ post tandem of Langhorne and fellow senior Laura Harper, who took full advantage.

The first half belonged to Langhorne, who had 15 points and seven rebounds before the break to help Maryland gain a 26-12 advantage in points in the paint.

Langhorne finished with 25 points and moved into second place on Maryland’s career scoring list. She is now just 39 points shy of breaking Vicky Bullett’s record of 1,928.

Harper continued where Langhorne left off in the second half. She scored 17 of her 27 points in the final 20 minutes. In one span of 3:08, the forward scored eight points to spur an 11-2 run for Maryland. When Langhorne replaced her with 13:48 remaining in the game, the Terps led 74-32.

“I love where they are at,” coach Brenda Frese said. “Both of them are doing such a tremendous job for us with their leadership. They’ve been playing in sync for four years, but this is what seniors do. They understand what’s left, and they wanna go out and play to the best of their ability every single time they step on that floor.”

Added Harper: “Playing against each other every day in practice, her being left-handed and me being right-handed, we work so nicely together. We just love playing together.”

Maryland’s other starters had solid efforts as well. Toliver had 19 points and 10 assists, junior Marissa Coleman had nine points and 10 rebounds and freshman Marah Strickland added 11 points.

The Terps opened the game with a 12-1 run. After shooting 52.8 percent in the first half, Maryland led 52-28. The onslaught didn’t stop after the break, when the Terps shot 73.3 percent. For the game, they shot 62.1 percent.

Frese enjoyed Maryland’s defense the most. The Terps forced 26 Clemson turnovers and had the best of a 45-0 disparity in points off turnovers for the game.

“We’re excited to be able to open up conference play this way, and we want to continue to be able to gain momentum from this,” Frese said.

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