The Oregon Ducks continued their march to Dallas, they advance to the Elite 8 on Monday night where they’ll play Uconn. The Ducks were confident, fearless, and aggressive per Maryland head coach Brenda Frese. She hit the nail on the head with that description, the young Ducks never wavered. Sabrina Ionescu looked like a savy vet in both running her team’s offense and hitting timely shots to end Terrapin runs. She finished the game with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. Maryland never fully got on track, the Ducks forced 21 turnovers and the Terps went scoreless from three. The Ducks stellar defense and poised offense led them to a 77-63 victory.
Terps defense was in the travel bag, but Oregon made a living off second chance points and side-pick-and-rolls/pops with Mallory McGwire. Ruthy Hebard (16 points, 8 rebounds) had a relatively quite quarter. Maryland’s offense generated decent looks, but they weren’t able to capitalize. Similar to the game against West Virginia, Brionna Jones (16 points, 15 rebounds) went a couple of minutes without post touches. Her sister Stephanie is what helped the Terps get going once the ducks started sending a double on her older sister. Maite Cazorla(15 points) had 6 points, using a deft floater to beat the Terps rotating big on her drives.
The Ducks built on their early success and extended their lead by the end of the first half. The screen-roll action with their bigs really bothered the Terps, while their initial ball pressure was good, after the screen was set there was nothing but confusion. The confusion eventually resulted in good looks from deep, Ionescu hit three triples in the half to finish with 11 points. Her three pointers were the only ones to find the net for Oregon in 7 attempts.
Maryland struggled to do anything right outside of their defense, even with their confusion their ball pressure was the only reason they were down just single digits. Brenda Frese had to rely on some of that depth due to the defensive issues, both Brianna Fraser and Stephanie Jones (18 points combined) provided good minutes for their side in the half.
The Terps would make a run, rather several runs in the second half. They just couldn’t get over the hump, a team that typically shoots well from deep, struggled from distance the entire game. Sharpshooting Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had her worst shooting performance of the year, going 6-of-18. The length of the Ducks played a factor, but it was the lack of movement and aggressiveness from teammates that might of done more damage. Oregon defenders from other players were able to roam a bit and really make the Terps uncomfortable.
An 8-0 run from the Terps cut the deficit to six, but Ionescu and the Ducks were able to withstand their run and respond to take control late. Oregon did a great job of moving without the ball, their ability to find space in the corners for three point attempts was impressive. Several times no matter where the first couple actions of a play were ran on the floor, the ball found it’s way to the corner. As Destiny Slocum said after the game, “it just wasn’t our night.”
The Terps wanted to send their two stellar Seniors Walker-Kimbrough and Jones out the right way, unfortunately that wouldn’t be the case. The two leave behind quite the legacies in College Park. The program is in very capable hands though as Destiny Slocum, Stephanie Jones, Brianna Fraser, Kiah Gillespie and others will be chomping at the bit to avenge this year’s exit in the tournament.