Rimkus comes to defense in Terps women's victory

ROCK HILL, S.C. — ROCK HILL, S.C. -- It's no secret that the best players in any sport find ways to excel when their primary means of success isn't available.

Bonnie Rimkus struggled from the floor yesterday in Maryland's quarterfinal meeting with Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference women's tournament, missing her first six shots and making just 8 of 23.


But, in All-America fashion, Rimkus picked up her defense and passing game, sparking the Terps to a 60-45 win over the Blue Devils at the Winthrop Coliseum.

As a result, the fourth-seeded Terps (15-12) may make the


64-team NCAA tournament later this month, when they were nearly out of consideration eight days ago, after losing to Wake Forest at home.

"We feel good about our chances, but you just never know," Maryland coach Chris Weller said.

Maryland will meet top-seeded Virginia (24-3), which turned back the Demon Deacons, 73-54, going on a 24-4 run after trailing 50-49 with 10:18 left.

Today's first semifinal is a rematch, of sorts, of last year's tournament championship game, won by the Cavaliers, 106-103, triple overtime.

Virginia has beaten the Terps the past four times and in five of the past six games, but two of the games, including an 86-83 double-overtime game two weeks ago in College Park, went to overtime.

The Terps and Cavaliers were fortunate to get their games in before a traffic accident knocked out power at the coliseum and the entire city for almost an hour, delaying the North Carolina-Georgia Tech quarterfinal four minutes into the second half.

Rimkus had a career-high 17 rebounds, four assists and a game-high 19 points in a game in which her offense was clearly secondary to the rest of her play.

"I was just concentrating on staying focused on my defense and doing what I could to help," Rimkus said.


Weller said: "It's the sign of a class player, where they are supposed to score a lot of points, and don't, but stay right with it and get themselves into position to help on defense and stay in the offensive flow. I thought Bonnie played a fine game."

The Maryland team defense was perhaps at the best it has been all season, holding the Blue Devils to a season-low output, which was the third lowest total by a team in the 17-year history of the tournament.

"We played hard, and we had some open shots, but we weren't putting them in," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "You have to give Maryland a lot of credit for that."

Center Monica Adams pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds as she and Rimkus out-rebounded the Blue Devils alone (31-29). Karon Ferguson had seven points, seven assists and a game-high three steals.

"Karon did a great job of pointing our defense," Weller said. "She gave much earlier pickup, and consequently they [Duke] didn't get the locomotive started."

The locomotive Weller had in mind was a rally Duke staged in Durham Feb. 18, coming from a 16-point deficit to win, 64-62.


That loss ended a five-game Maryland win streak and sent them spiraling into a four-game losing string that ended Tuesday night in a 38-point blowout over Clemson.

The Terps faced a similar situation yesterday. Leading by 16 with 14:47 left, Maryland watched Duke go on an 8-2 run to cut the advantage to 10 points with 12:20 remaining.

Rimkus then took over, starting a 10-0 run by making a put-back, finding Adams under the basket with a backdoor pass with two seconds on the shot clock, making a banker and then two free throws. The Maryland lead was 20.