COLLEGE PARK — COLLEGE PARK -- With six minutes left in the first half of last night's game with top-ranked Tennessee, Maryland guard Kwana Williams looked up at the scoreboard and shook her head sadly.
At that juncture, the Terps were down by 34 and there were still 26 minutes left.
Things really got no better as the Lady Vols humiliated Maryland, 95-29, handing the Terps their worst loss in the program's 24 years.
The defeat surpassed a 37-point loss to Virginia in the 1990-91 season. The 29 points were also the fewest by a Maryland team, falling short of the 40 points they scored in a loss to Notre Dame in 1984-85. The figure was also the lowest Tennessee allowed a Division I opponent.
The Terps (2-2) were thoroughly outclassed in every phase of the game, especially in the transition game, where the Tennessee backcourt of juniors Michelle Marciniak (11 points, nine assists, four steals) and Latina Davis (21 points, eight rebounds, three steals in her first career start) were dominant.
"They're the best team I've seen in a long time. They shot the ball well, they have great balance with a fine transition game," said Maryland coach Chris Weller. "When you put Marciniak and Davis together, that is a quick and powerful tandem."
Tennessee senior forward Dana Johnson, a Western High graduate, scored 22 points and had seven rebounds.
"For me, it was a little sweeter because I was home," said Johnson. "The last time we were here, we lost and I didn't want to go back with the same taste in my mouth."
Still, the Lady Vols didn't look as sharp as they did in routing No. 2 Stanford, 105-69, last Thursday, and were without two senior starters: injured forward Nikki McCray and guard Tiffany Woosley, who is serving a two-week suspension.
"I would compliment this team for showing some maturity," said Tennessee coach Pat Summitt. "We were not living in the past, but operating in the present."
But given Maryland's inexperience, poor shooting (a record low 17 percent field-goal percentage) and 29 turnovers, Tennessee never needed to be that good.
The Terps went scoreless for 11 minutes in the first half, scoring only eight points while turning the ball over on five of their first six possessions.
And while they managed to save a bit of face by slowing Tennessee's running game in the second half, the Terps still couldn't formulate much of an offense, going without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the half.
"Obviously, we got better in the second half, but we need to learn to play hard in the beginning, the middle and the end," said Maryland senior forward Kesha Camper.
Said Weller: "We'll be learning a lot as the year goes on. You think you're playing hard and then you play a game like this and you say, 'Oh. That's what playing hard is.' That's something that only experience can teach you."
Maryland got more bad news as team doctors determined that freshman forward Kelley Gibson, who was hurt in the second half of last Wednesday's win over Howard, might be lost for the year.
Gibson tore the anterior cruciate ligament and sprained the medial collateral ligament in her right knee. Gibson will rehabilitate for two to three weeks. If she can play with a brace, Gibson might return this season, Weller said.
TENNESSEE -- Thompson 1-4 3-3 5, Conklin 2-6 0-0 6, Johnson 9-10 4-5 22, Marciniak 4-11 2-2 11, Davis 9-15 3-6 21, Johnson 5-10 4-4 14, Willigen 4-7 0-0 12, Ward 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 36-66 16-20 95.
MARYLAND -- Camper 1-5 2-2 4, Chase 2-11 4-4 8, Ohman 0-0 1-2 1, Ferguson 0-1 0-0 0, Purvis 0-3 0-0 0, Williams 1-10 1-2 3, Davis 2-8 2-2 6, Cross 2-9 2-2 6, Cimmier 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 8-47 13-16 29.
Halftime--Tennessee, 52-8. 3-point goals--T 7-12 (Willigen 4-4, Conklin 2-3, Marciniak 1-4, Davis 0-1); M 0-0 Rebounds--T 50 (Johnson, Thompson 9); M 24 (Chase 7.) Assists--T 14 (Marciniak 9); M 5 (Williams 3.) Total fouls--T 13; M 18. Fouled out--None. A--2,618.
UNC'S SMITH JAMS
North Carolina's Charlotte Smith, who last April made the game-winning jump shot in the NCAA women's basketball final, yesterday made history from a much shorter distance, becoming the first woman in 10 years to dunk a during a game.
Maryland school records established in the Terps' 95-29 loss to top-ranked Tennessee yesterday:
* Worst margin of defeat: 66. Old record: 37.
* Least points, game: 29. Old record: 40.
* Least field goals, game: 8. Old record: 13.
* Lowest field-goal pct., half: 12 percent. Old record: 18.9.
* Lowest field-goal pct., game: 17 percent. Old record: 17.4.
Note: Maryland's 29 points was also the fewest allowed by Tennessee against a Division I opponent.