The Terps escaped from the Thunderdome tonight with their winning streak still alive . . . but just barely, as they survived the Gauchos 75-71. UC-Santa Barbara did not play like the same team Maryland beat last season by more than 60 points, nor did the Terps play like the #3 team in the nation. Much credit goes to the Gauchos, who fought back from a double-digit deficit early in the game to take the lead by as many as 4 points in the second half, refused to give up, fouled early and often (slowing the pace of the game) and made Maryland work hard for the slim 4-point victory.
This was one of those ugly games where just about every move drew a whistle and the game seemed to take forever (for the record, it started on Friday EST, but didn't end until Saturday morning). It wasn't exactly much fun to watch. (But the UCSB announcers were great . . . some terrific one-liners!)
Maryland attempted 46 free throws, making 36 . . . and the free throw line was where the game was won. The Gauchos actually outshot the Terps (by a good margin) from the field, including from outside the arc. The last time she faced UCSB, Marissa Coleman notched a triple-double. Tonight, Marissa and her career-high 30 points (including 18 of 20 FTs) had a great deal to do with preventing the upset. The other Terps in double figures were Kristi Toliver, who added 19 points, and Laura Harper, with 15. (Harp also pulled down 12 boards, for a double-double.) It wasn't pretty, but Coach Park got his first W (filling in for Coach B) and the team moved Beyond Thunderdome to play another day . . . and that day will be Sunday, when they face the UCLA Bruins.