ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. // The Maryland women's basketball team can now consider itself "Elite."
The No. 3 Terps shed any doubts about their youth and inexperience and ousted No. 10 and defending national champion Baylor, 82-63, last night in an Albuquerque Regional semifinal at Bob King Court at the University of New Mexico.
Maryland, the No. 2 seed in the regional, earned a berth in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1992.
The Terps will meet No. 5 seed Utah (26-6) or No. 8 seed Boston College (21-11) in the regional final tomorrow night. Those teams squared off after Maryland's victory.
Terps sophomore center Crystal Langhorne led all scorers with 34 points. Langhorne, who also collected 15 rebounds, matched her career high of 34, which she registered on Jan. 29 against Wake Forest.
The Lady Bears (26-7), who were the No. 3 seed in the regional, were led by senior forward Sophia Young, the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, who posted 26 points and nine rebounds.
Maryland (31-4) is aiming for a trip to the Final Four in Boston next Sunday and April 4, which would be the program's first since 1989.
The Terps squad that was plagued by shooting and turnover woes in an 81-74 win against No. 7 seed St. John's last Tuesday night was a distant memory compared to the team that showed up last night.
Maryland converted 50.0 percent (32 of 64) of its field-goal attempts against a Baylor defense that had limited teams to 60.7 points per game and 37.4 percent shooting from the field.
But it was the Terps' defense that shone last night. The defense limited the Lady Bears to 33.8 percent (25 of 74) from the floor. Baylor had converted 43.7 percent of its shots entering last night's contest.
From the opening tip, it appeared that Maryland's offense had the upper hand. The Terps scored 14 of the game's first 16 points. Langhorne scored the team's first eight points and 10 of the first 12, hitting her first five field-goal attempts.
On the flip side, the Lady Bears couldn't find their offensive rhythmand missed their first seven shots before Young hit a midrange jumper at the 17:22 mark.
It took Baylor another 4:34 before sophomore guard Angela Tisdale drove the lane for a layup at 12:48.
Tisdale's layup, however, appeared to kick-start the Lady Bears, who proceeded to go on a 9-4 run that shaved Maryland's advantage down to 18-13.
The Terps answered with a three-pointer from freshman point guard Kristi Toliver and a baseline jumper from freshman forward Marissa Coleman to extend the lead to double digits again at 23-13.
But freshman guard Jessica Morrow bookended an 8-0 Baylor burst to make it a two-point game and force Maryland coach Brenda Frese to call a timeout.
Terps sophomore guard Ashleigh Newman put up a basket after the timeout, but Young hit back-to-back hooks in the lane to tie the score at 25.
Maryland, however, ended the first half with a 10-3 run to walk into the locker room at halftime with a 35-28 advantage.
The Terps opened the second half by scoring 14 of the period's first 16 points, essentially sealing the outcome.
Langhorne's talent wasn't classified information, but compared to Young, she's an under-the-radar star. Langhorne was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection who scored 30 points and made two key late baskets when Maryland beat St. John's in the second round Tuesday.