Maryland women’s basketball’s sloppiness against South Carolina resulted in first loss of season

Photo courtesy of Sam Osborne/Maryland Athletics

No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball trailed by only three with a minute left in the first half against No. 6 South Carolina. The Gamecocks then scored seven unanswered points, fueled by second-chance points and free throws.

The Terps still had one more chance for a last-second bucket, inbounding the ball with three seconds left.

Lavender Briggs tossed the ball to Shyanne Sellers under the South Carolina basket, who had it promptly swiped away by Gamecocks guard Tessa Johnson. Johnson then flipped it to forward Sahnya Jah for an easy layup to close the half ahead by 12. 

Maryland’s sloppy errors at the end of the half imploded a strong start and continued after halftime as South Carolina defeated the Terps by 38 points on Sunday. 

“The first 16 minutes we came in really confident, I thought we battled … then I thought the last three and a half minutes they just wore us out,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought we made a lot of silly mistakes.”

The Terps suffered 15 turnovers — the Gamecocks capitalized with 23 points off those mistakes. Four of Maryland’s eight first-half turnovers came in the final 3:14 of the half as South Carolina marched on a 17-5 run entering the break.

Sellers led the Terps with six turnovers. She felt the stretch to lose out the second quarter “shifted momentum.”

Maryland’s turnover struggles against the Gamecocks wasn’t a surprise given its performance in the season opener against Harvard — the Terps committed 18 turnovers in that game. Wings Jakia Brown-Turner and Faith Masonius committed five and four turnovers, respectively. 

Frese noted after the loss that she saw too many mistakes pile up, a trend she attributed to players competing in different and bigger roles this season.

“That’s the growth area and we’ve got players that are stepping up into bigger roles now in the season that have to understand to be able to stop the bleeding when those mistakes happen,” Frese said. 

Beyond its issues protecting the ball, Maryland also struggled on the boards against South Carolina as the Gamecocks dominated with 20 more rebounds, including eight more on the offensive end. South Carolina translated its 19 offensive rebounds into 28 second-chance points — over three times more than the Terps.

Frese credited the depth of the Gamecocks for wearing out Maryland as the game continued. South Carolina played all 11 players on the roster and had seven different scorers in double-digits. 

But what alarmed Frese the most was the amount of and-ones the Gamecocks cashed on Sunday. South Carolina finished with eight different and-one opportunities, converting on five. 

“I don’t know that I’ve seen a game with so many and-ones that they were able to score … there’s got to be more discipline,” she said. 

The Terps need to shake the loss quickly with a date against No. 2 UConn on Thursday. The Huskies are working through issues of their own after a 92-81 defeat to unranked N.C. State on Sunday. UConn was outrebounded 41-29 by the Wolfpack, as 6-foot-1 guard Saniya Rivers led N.C. State with 10 boards. 

But the Huskies can pose a challenge for the Terps. They out-rebounded Dayton by 16 and were the beneficiary of 21 Flyers turnovers in their season opener. Maryland will need to correct its self-inflicted errors before facing UConn.

“There’s a lot of things that we’re gonna have to work on,” Frese said. 

Posted by Michael Howes