Maryland star Crystal Langhorne will play her final home game Tuesday. She's hoping it goes more smoothly than the previous one did for her team.
Langhorne and the top-seeded Terrapins take on No. 8 seed Nebraska as they look to advance to the Spokane Regional semifinals.The Terrapins (31-3) have been past the second round just once since the NCAA tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1994, but it was when Langhorne helped lead them to their first national title as a sophomore in 2006.The 6-foot-2 forward has put together a stellar senior season, earning ACC player of the year honors. She's the first four-time All-ACC selection in school history, and has helped Maryland to a 20-0 home mark."It would mean a lot to win another national championship," Langhorne said. "A lot of people know the reason why I came here was because of my teammates and of course, coach B (Brenda Frese). I knew she was going to rebuild the program here at Maryland."Langhorne, whose jersey already hangs from the Comcast Center rafters, is hoping that Maryland turns in a much better effort than it did in the first round. She had 25 points and 12 rebounds, but the Terrapins had a lackluster performance in an 80-66 win over Coppin State on Sunday.Maryland fell behind in the first half after giving up 14 straight points in one stretch and only led 40-35 at halftime. But their size advantage paid dividends with a 42-26 rebounding cushion that helped stave off the upset."We didn't want this to be our last game. That's all we kept saying," Maryland's Marissa Coleman said. "We knew if we let them be close toward the end, we would be in for a battle."The Terps, who lost to Mississippi in the second round last year, have also won 31 straight home games against non-conference foes since a loss to Ohio State in the second round of the 2005 NCAA tournament.While Maryland got off to a slow start, it was a different story for its opponent. Nebraska (21-11) led by as many as 15 points and still was up by 14 with 8:41 remaining before holding off Xavier 61-58 on Sunday."When we got the lead, we got a little tentative," Cornhuskers coach Connie Yori said.Kelsey Griffin tied a season high with 26 points, making 10-for-17 shots from the floor. She's averaging 20.1 points over her last seven games, recording three of her seven double-doubles this season.The Terrapins are well aware of the ability of Griffin and fellow 6-foot-2 forward Danielle Page, who had five blocks Sunday."Nebraska has a great inside post presence," Frese said. "That's where they like to establish from the inside out. They're smart and they're very patient and they make very good decisions with the basketball."The winner will face Vanderbilt next weekend in Spokane, Wash.