COLLEGE PARK -- The seasons fade into one another, the players change and even the way that Virginia beats the Maryland women's basketball team may differ, but the result is always the same.
The 10th-ranked Cavaliers last night went back to their tried-and-true inside superiority to hand Maryland a 73-49 thumping -- the 12th straight time Virginia has beaten the Terps since the 1992-93 season.
Virginia forward DeMya Walker had a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds to power the Cavaliers (16-4, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) past Maryland (15-4, 6-4), which looked largely demoralized in the final five minutes.
Walker, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from Mount Holly, N.J., hit 10 of 12 shots from the floor and blocked five shots to end Maryland's six-game winning streak and open a 2 1/2 -game bulge between the Cavaliers and Terps in the race for second in the ACC.
"Our guards are starting to hit from the outside, so now teams can't double- and triple-team me in the middle. And I always have a good night when my mom comes to see me play," Walker said with a smile.
Said Maryland coach Chris Weller: "DeMya Walker really hurt us. She got on us strong on the boards right at the half and got them running and they didn't look back."
Walker hit for seven points in a decisive 18-6 run at the end of the first half that took Virginia from a three-point deficit to a nine-point halftime lead.
"DeMya's a player who needs to be in a good rhythm, and [last night] she had a lot of room to maneuver and it made a difference," Virginia coach Debbie Ryan said.
Walker's performance contributed to the latest chapter in the collapse of what used to be a tight rivalry. Since Maryland beat Virginia, 70-66, four years ago, the Cavaliers have defeated the Terps by an average of 18 points overall and 23 points in the teams' last eight meetings. Maryland hasn't scored 54 points in any game with Virginia in those last eight tries.
It didn't help Maryland's chances that leading scorer Stephanie Cross, who averages nearly 13 points, was held to four points, on two second-half jumpers that came when the issue was largely decided.
"We have a better team than we showed," said Weller. "We had a couple of players who just weren't ready to play. We really didn't have much room to juggle and we needed to be on all cylinders and we weren't."
Maryland's challenge was made even more difficult by the loss of sophomore guard Kelley Gibson at the end of last Thursday's 79-59 loss to Florida State.
Gibson, the team's fourth-leading scorer and most versatile player, suffered a probable tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee on a baseline drive with six seconds to go and the Terps leading by 20.
Weller bristled at questions that she had left Gibson, who tore her right ACL two years ago, in when the game was over.
"That game didn't break open until late. We're not very deep. Kelley has second-guessed herself about it and that's ridiculous. It's not fair to Kelley and it's not fair to me," said Weller.
Pub Date: 2/04/97