COLLEGE PARK — COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland women's basketball coach Chris Weller wanted to play Clemson three weeks ago when the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule originally called for it, rather than last night, when the iced-out game was made up.
It's probably a good thing that Weller didn't get her wish, since it would be difficult to imagine the Terps playing any better than they did in last night's 84-46 drubbing of the Tigers.
In their regular-season finale, the Terps (14-12, 8-8) shot 56 percent from the floor and held Clemson (18-8, 11-5) to a season-low 46 points, while nailing down the fourth seed in this weekend's ACC tournament in Rock Hill, S.C.
Their performance was all the more remarkable following a four-game losing streak, which included last Saturday's 69-64 home loss to eighth-place Wake Forest.
"Obviously, we feel a lot better about this game than we did last Saturday," said Weller. "I think this game said a lot about their character. We've been up and down this year and this was definitely up."
Bonnie Rimkus scored 23 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and dished out five assists in her final appearance at Cole Field House, unless the Terps make the NCAA tournament and get a first-round home game.
"We just refocused," said Rimkus. "We needed to have a big game and I think we played great."
Said Weller: "Bonnie played the best defensive game she's played. That might be the best game Bonnie's played all year."
The Tigers, who arrived in town just before midnight Monday afterlosing to North Carolina at home the day before, showed the effects of playing their fourth game in seven days.
The Clemson players looked visibly winded and unable to get back on defense. It got so frustrating for coach Jim Davis that he tossed off his right shoe with 14 minutes left in the game and coached with just the left shoe for the rest of the contest.
"We can make excuses, but they were almost unbeatable," said Davis. "It's like they took us out of everything we tried to do. My girls didn't seem to want any part of them."
The Terps still will likely need to beat fifth-seeded Duke this weekend in their first-round game to secure an NCAA tournament berth, but last night's game could go a long way toward helping them get there.
"The way they played, they may not be one of the best 64 teams in the country, they might be one of the top 10 teams in the country. They were ready to go," said Davis.