College Park, MD – After a successful season consisting of a record of 31-4 and a Big Ten regular season and tournament title, the Maryland Lady Terrapins played their final game of the year in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
After clinching the second seed in the eastern region, the Lady Terps were set to face the seventh seeded Washington Huskies in the Xfinity Center on Monday evening. Having the home court advantage, fans piled in the arena with hopes of watching their team come out victorious. However, a rough offensive night and even tougher defensive from the Huskies eventually led to an unexpected upset for the Terps.
The length and size of the Huskies posed a difficulty for Maryland to get an offensive rhythm going early. The Huskies started the first half in a zone defense forcing Maryland to prove themselves from behind the arc. However, the defense was perfectly executed by the Huskies as Maryland as a team shot 23 percent to start the game. By the end of the first quarter, Maryland trailed Washington by a score of 19-11.
During the second quarter it appeared Maryland would start to find their rhythm. They opened the period with an 8-0 run sparked by a pair of three pointers made by Kristen Confroy. As both teams seemed to struggle on offense, the lead would change twice, and the first half ended with a score of 34-29. Coach Frese said her Lady Terps “never got into a flow…ever”.
The second half was all Washington. Kelsey Plum took matters into her own hands as she led all scorers with 32 points. Washington took the lead early in the first half and outscored Maryland for the remainder of the game. On the defensive end, Washington ensured to keep Maryland’s front court of the glass. Chantel Osafor successfully contained Maryland’s post players and ensured many stops by grabbing 15 rebounds. Washington even held Maryland scoreless for long periods of time throughout the third quarter.
“Everything we have done prepared us for this” expressed head coach Mike Neighbors as he discussed his confidence in his team.
Maryland would push for one more run in the fourth quarter led by junior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. Kimbrough’s back-to-back three pointers would cut Washington’s lead down to five by a score of 60-55. However, Washington responded with a game defining 16-2 run of their own led by Plum giving Washington their first double digit lead.
Fans were stunned at the upset as Washington defeated the Lady Terrapins by a score of 75-65. Senior Melina Howard’s statement as she fought back tears saying, “It just hurts….a lot” was the epitome of the emotion felt by Maryland.
However, a faint sound of cheering coming from the Huskie locker room was the exact opposite.
“A lot of people counted us out….its huge” expressed Kelsey Plum as she and her teammates continued to dance with their band and cheerleaders in celebration after the game.
Washington advances to the Sweet 16 where they will face the third seeded Kentucky Wildcats.