SPOKANE, Wash. - There's a reason Crystal Langhorne's No. 1 jersey hangs from the rafters in Maryland.
The honor was bestowed on the Terrapins' all-time leading scorer and rebounder even though she still has games to play before her college career is done. Langhorne made sure she and her Maryland teammates have at least one more game as they advanced to the West Region final with an 80-66 victory against Vanderbilt on Saturday night at Spokane Arena.
The Terrapins, two years removed from their national championship, are a step closer to the Final Four in Tampa. Langhorne was a big contributor in the Terps' first national title, and she is a big reason why Maryland's title dreams are still alive this year.
Vanderbilt entered the Sweet 16 with one of the stingiest defenses remaining in the tournament. The Commodores limited their first two opponents to an average of 43.5 points. Maryland scored 44 in the first half, including 16 by Langhorne.
The Commodores, like most of Maryland's opponents, did not have an answer for the senior center, who had a game-high 28 points.
Vanderbilt put a variety of players on the 6-foot-2 Langhorne, including 6-4 center Liz Sherwood and 6-1 forward Christina Wirth, but nothing worked against the ACC's Player of the Year, who entered Saturday's game averaging 21.5 points in the tournament. She had help, though, mainly from junior guard Kristi Toliver, who looked Steve Nash-like the way she passed the ball, mostly to Langhorne. Toliver finished with eight assists.
When the Commodores stopped Langhorne, she would feed the ball to other Terps shooters, just as she did at the 9:06 mark in the first half. With Sherwood tying up Langhorne, she dished the ball to Marah Strickland, who nailed a 3-pointer to give Maryland a 12-point lead.
Wirth broke up a Maryland 6-0 run with a layup and was fouled by senior center Jade Perry near the end of the first half. Wirth converted the 3-point play with a free throw and pulled the Commodores within 15 with just less than four minutes remaining in the first half.
But Maryland extended its lead with a 7-3 run, including four by Langhorne, to close out the first half.
Vanderbilt opened the second half with a bit of a rally. Back-to-back baskets by the Commodores cut Maryland's lead to 12 and forced the Terps to burn a timeout. Maryland came out of the break with Toliver scoring back-to-back baskets.
Langhorne increased Maryland's lead to 20 midway through the second half with a driving layup, which drew a foul. The Terps kept a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game to secure their spot in the Elite Eight.