CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Overtime is closing time for the Maryland women's basketball team.
Trailing by as many as 14 points midway through the second half against No. 1 North Carolina, the No. 6 Terps rallied to tie the game and scored eight of the first 10 points in overtime to hold on for a 98-95 upset of the Tar Heels last night at Carmichael Auditorium.
"We kept telling ourselves in overtime, 'Hey, this is our time,'" said Maryland junior guard Shay Doron, who blocked a last-second three-point attempt. "We've been through something like 80 overtimes this year. We were just so prepared, and we were very confident at that point that we were going to take the game."
The Terps opened overtime with five straight points from freshman forward Marissa Coleman (23 points and a game-high six steals) - including an off-balance three-pointer with two seconds left on the shot clock that nicked the backboard and fell through the net - during Mary land's 8-2 run.
With the Terps leading 95-89, North Carolina junior point guard Ivory Latta sandwiched back-to-back three pointers around one of two free throws by Maryland sophomore center Crystal Langhorne (a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds) to make the score, 96-95.
After freshman point guard Kristi Toliver (14 points and a game-high eight assists) made two free throws to give the Terps a three-point lead with 17.2 seconds left, the Tar Heels took three attempts from three-point range. But Doron got her hands on Latta's final heave, and officials signaled no foul, rushing off thecourt under a chorus of boos.
"She initiated the contact." Doron said. "It was a no-call, and I believe it was a good call."
Not only did Maryland (22-2 overall, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) shock North Carolina for the second straight season - the Terps beat the Tar Heels by 15 at Comcast Center in January 2005 -but the Terps also remained undefeated in four overtime contests this season.
Maryland knocked off a No. 1 team for the first time since Dec. 30, 1992, when it defeated Tennessee, 77-72. North Carolina (22-1, 9-1) suffered its first loss of the season and will likely drop from the top spot when a new poll is released Monday.
That Maryland even extended the game into overtime was surprising, as North Carolina led 70-56 with 12:07 left in the second half.
But Doron and Coleman each scored seven points to fuel a 16-5 burst and shave the deficit to three with 4:06 left.
The Tar Heels had a chance to seal the outcome at the foul line, but converted just three of six free throws in the final minute of regulation. After Latta missed her second free throw with 15 seconds left, Doron missed her three-point attempt.
Bu the ball bounded to sophomore guard Ashleigh Newman, who made her only field-goal attempt of the night with an off-balance three-point shot from about 28 feet.
"At first, I didn't know what to do with the ball." said Newman, who had been just 1-for-13 from three-point range over her past five games. "I knew it was on line, but I didn't know if it was going in."
The Terps overcame a disappointing effort in the first half, allowing North Carolina to turn a 7-0 deficit into a 46-36 advantage at halftime. Latta, the team's leading scorer, missed the last 7:40 of the first half as she was saddled with three fouls, but junior forward Camille Little scored 17 of her season-high 24 points to neutralize Latta's absence.
Maryland was also hampered by free-throw woes and turnovers. The Terps, who led the ACC in free-throw percentage with a .760 conversion rate, missed seven of 13 attempts from the foul line and turned the ball over 15 times in the first half.
"We didn't play our best first half of basketball." coach Brenda Frese said. "The challenge for us is to keep getting better and build on this momentum."
Notes Frese was assessed a technical foul with 5:50 left in the first half. Tar Heels sophomore guard Alex Miller was carried off the court on a stretcher after a scrum for a rebound with 13:01 left in the second half. A local radio station reported that Miller was moving her extremities, but was at a nearby hospital for further examination.