March 19, 2006
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Sacred Heart tried to outrun Maryland. In the end, the Pioneers just couldn't keep up with the Terrapins.
Maryland, seeded second in the Albuquerque Regional, was just too talented and tough inside and pulled away for a 95-54 first-round win over No. 15 seed Sacred Heart in the NCAA tournament on Sunday.
Jade Perry led Maryland with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Laura Harper added 16 points and 13 boards. Maryland led from the opening tip and dominated the paint, outrebounding Sacred Heart 57-26 and outscoring them in the paint 56-14.
The Terps will face seventh-seed St. John's in the second round on Tuesday.
Maryland ranked third nationally and beat No. 1 North Carolina and No. 4 Duke in the regular season, but was bypassed for a top seed in the tourney.
Coach Brenda Frese expressed some displeasure after the seedings were announced last week. The Terps has refrained from such comments in State College, sticking with a "happy-to-be-here" attitude and letting their play on Sunday do the talking.
The loss ended Sacred Heart's 10-game winning streak. After winning the Northeast Conference to secure the school's first NCAA tournament bid, coach Ed Swanson knew his team would be decided underdogs against Maryland.
Swanson will still go home a happy man anyway after his wife gave birth last week to the couple's first child -- 6-pound, 1-ounce Connor John Swanson -- the day after he found out that his team would be playing the Terps.
Amanda Pape, the Northeast Conference's player of the year, led Sacred Heart with 16 points but shot just 5-of-16 from the field. Pape hit a one-handed 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer expired that got the Pioneers to within 47-33, pumping her fist and slapping a low-five with teammate as they headed to the locker room with big grins.
The pesky Pioneers had whittled down a 20-point lead to the 14-point halftime deficit, raising hopes among their vocal contingent of fans who shouted "S-H-U!" during the game.
But Kristi Toliver ended any thoughts of a second-half comeback after hitting a 3-pointer to start the second half. Shay Doron hit an acrobatic layup, falling down as the ball swished through the net with 14:22 left to give the Terps a 66-35 lead.
Frese's reserves got ample playing time and even Angel Ross, who had seen action in just 12 games coming to the contest, played eight minutes.
Doron added 17 points for Maryland, while Nicole Rubino had 10 points for Sacred Heart.