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Nittany Lions hold off late rally by Maryland

12/8/2001

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Penn State had just frittered away a
14-point lead, and there was no question who the Nittany Lions were
looking for to break the tie.

Maryland knew Kelly Mazzante was going to get the ball, too. Yet
the Terrapins were powerless to stop Penn State's outstanding
sophomore guard.

Mazzante capped a 26-point performance by scoring the
tiebreaking layup with 3.9 seconds left, lifting Penn State (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 Associated Press) to a 67-65 Saturday.

The Nittany Lions (5-3) led 53-39 with 8:31 left and 63-56 with
two minutes remaining, but Maryland (5-3) finally pulled even on a
3-pointer by Marche Strickland with 18.1 seconds to go.

Penn State answered with Mazzante, who broke free underneath and
scored after taking a pass from Courtney Upshaw.

"We just set Kelly up, gave her the whole lane to work with,"
said Penn State coach Rene Portland. "Either she makes the shot or
gets fouled. ... She just seems to find a way to get open."

Maryland did its best to deny Mazzante the ball, to no avail.

"They're very good at getting the ball into Mazzante's hands
when they need to," Terrapins coach Chris Weller said.

After Mazzante scored, time ran out before the Terrapins could
launch another shot.

Katrena Carr, playing her second game of the season after
returning from a foot injury, scored all 11 of her points in the
second half for Penn State. Teammate Rashana Barnes, also held
scoreless before halftime, finished with 10 points.

Crystal Washington scored 16 points for Maryland and Strickland
had 14.

"Great comebacks are all right, but it gets frustrating when
your put yourself in a position to where you have to come back,"
Weller said.

The smaller Terrapins were outrebounded 41-31.

Barnes opened the second half with two baskets and a pair of
free throws to put Penn State up 37-29.

After Jamecca Harrell answered with five consecutive points for
Maryland, the Nittany Lions led 42-38 before Carr scored six points
and Mazzante added a three-point play in an 11-1 run that made it
53-39.

The lead didn't hold up, but Penn State prevailed anyway. The
Nittany Lions were coming off an overtime loss against Old
Dominion.

"We were very fortunate to win," Portland said. "Obviously,
the play of Kelly Mazzante is something you want in your back
pocket."

Mazzante had 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting to stake Penn State
to a 31-29 halftime lead. She finished 11-for-23, but was there
when the Nittany Lions needed her most.

"I feel my teammates feed off my confidence," Mazzante said.
"They expect me to score."