Maryland women’s basketball played a close first quarter with South Carolina. Then the Gamecocks turned up the heat.
Shyanne Sellers looked to provide some type of spark for the Terps entering halftime with four seconds left. But she tripped and lost the ball on the inbound, and the result was an easy bucket for South Carolina as it ended the half on a 9-0 run.
The No. 6 Gamecocks (2-0) kicked everything up a notch in the second half. They outscored No. 14 Maryland by 26 points to eventually rout the Terps (1-1), 114-76. The loss was Maryland’s fifth straight to South Carolina.
The Terps kept pace with the Gamecocks throughout the first half. They knocked down three-pointers with ease, converting on seven of their first 12 attempts — those extra points helped against South Carolina’s rebounding and paint points presence. Sellers, Jakia Brown-Turner and Bri McDaniel each knocked down two three-pointers apiece as the trio combined for 29 first-half points.
But Sellers’ turnover before halftime was a big momentum shifter for the Gamecocks as they dominated the rest of the way.
“I think any turnover when you are playing an away game gives a lot of momentum,” Sellers said. “… We made turnover after turnover and that shifted momentum. Instead of walking in tied at halftime we [were] down 12.”
Unlike Sellers, who finished with 21 points, Brown-Turner and McDaniel could not replicate their first half production — they each only scored two points. Maryland couldn’t stop South Carolina on the offensive end at all in the second half, as the Gamecocks shot 54.5 percent and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc after halftime.
South Carolina’s overall offense came from a multitude of players — seven different Gamecocks scored in double figures. Te-Hina Paopao led the way with 14 points, including four three-pointers. Tessa Johnson, Bree Hall, Raven Johnson and MiLaysia Fulwiley all knocked down a pair of threes to complement Paopao’s four as South Carolina’s ability to knock down three-pointers gave it an inane ability to stretch the floor.
“I don’t think I have seen a box score with seven players in double figures,” coach Brenda Frese said. “They’re unselfish.”
Nine Gamecocks played 10 minutes or more, compared to the Terps’ seven, as South Carolina’s extra depth wore Maryland out as the game went on.
The Terps still kept within striking distance into the third quarter with Brinae Alexander getting involved with an 8-0 run of her own.
“I thought our response out of the locker room for the first four minutes was really good,” Frese said. “…We let one mistake lead to two to three. That’s the growth area.”
But the Gamecocks executed another 9-0 run to increase their lead to 19, featuring a pair of and-one opportunities. South Carolina kept pouring it on the tired Maryland defense getting into the paint and drawing fouls, sending the Gamecocks to the line constantly. They finished with 25 free throw attempts.
South Carolina dominated in the paint and collected rebounds, out-rebounding the Terps by 20 — including 19 offensive rebounds. While the Terps attacked the Gamecocks center Kamilla Cardoso, limiting her to 12 points, South Carolina’s other weapons made Maryland pay. Sophomores Chloe Kitts and Ashlyn Watkins each recorded double-doubles.
“I think we just honestly beat ourselves,” Brown-Turner said. “I think we just needed to control what we could control.”
Maryland has another big game later this week against a top opponent in No. 2 UConn in Storrs on Thursday night as it hopes to rebound following its first defeat of the season.
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