With 3:05 remaining in the second quarter, Paige Bueckers barreled down the court on a fast break. Bueckers slowed as she approached the basket, initiating contact with Shyanne Sellers.
Bueckers winded the ball across her body before rolling the ball into the basket with her right hand. She then drained the forthcoming free throw, securing the and-one as the Gampel Pavilion erupted into a frenzy.
It was three of 11 points by the redshirt junior guard in the second quarter, the Huskies erasing a short-lived Maryland lead. They went on a 24-4 run to close to quarter.
No. 20 Maryland women’s basketball couldn’t recover from the Huskies’ second-half dominance, falling 80-48 to No. 8 UConn. Bueckers finished the night with 24 points.
“Paige did what All-Americans do, she put the team on her back and made play after play,” coach Brenda Frese said.
The Terps fell into an early deficit after six unanswered points by UConn to begin the game. Maryland struggled with seven turnovers in the opening frame but cut the lead to three with an 11-6 run to close the quarter.
Maryland has lost the turnover margin in each of its first three games. On Thursday, the Huskies outpaced the Terps 27-to-17 in that department.
The Terps attempted 10 three-pointers in the first quarter, a trend coach Brenda Frese wanted her team to change with more driving toward the basket. Sellers responded with an and-one in the opening play of the second quarter.
The Terps carried the momentum from Sellers’ highlight and earned their first lead of the game after Brinae Alexander connected on a three-pointer minutes later to put her team ahead by two.
Maryland stretched its lead by as much as five before UConn closed the half ahead by 15.
“We’re not in the kind of shape yet to be able to withstand those runs,” Frese said. “UConn clearly has a lot more depth and talent and experience on their roster than where we’re at at this point in the season.”
The first half was marked by multiple physical plays between the top-20 teams.
Sellers and Bueckers battled to the ground for a rebound with 4:58 left in the third quarter. Replays showed the UConn guard tug Sellers’ arm down, and Bueckers was charged with an intentional foul. Bueckers then scored all 11 of her second quarter points following the call as the Huskies steamrolled to halftime.
Bueckers had been poked in the eye in the first quarter after an unintentional swipe by Alexander, which officials deemed a personal foul.
Physical play may have marred the Terps in the end, who finished with seven more fouls than the Huskies. Sellers entered foul trouble at the end of the first half and exited with 3:05 left with three fouls, finishing with four.
The junior also finished with a team-high seven turnovers, the second time this season leading the team in giveaways.
“They were just aggressive,” Sellers said. “I just can’t have eight turnovers for this team.”
Jakia Brown-Turner and Brinae Alexander both recorded three fouls each in the contest. Brown-Turner finished with 13 points on 4-for-17 shooting. The graduate transfer noted postgame that the loss is an early-season lesson for the team on what still needed to be worked on.
The loss marks the first time since the 1998-99 season that the Terps have two losses through three games.
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