No. 20 Maryland women’s basketball snaps two-game losing skid, tops Syracuse, 83-81

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Syracuse opted not to foul trailing by two with 23 seconds left in the game. The Orange forced the turnover they needed, knocking the ball out of bounds with 10.1 seconds left. 

After Syracuse used a timeout to advance the ball, Maryland’s defense hounded the ball as the Orange were unable to take a shot with Bri McDaniel poking the ball away at the last second. 

“Just trying to stay high pressure, not getting too low,” McDaniel said. “Just coming in and ready to be a person the team depends on wanting to make a play.”

With the defense holding strong, No. 20 Maryland women’s basketball (2-2) survived a tough test against Syracuse (3-1), escaping with an 83-81 victory snapping its two-game losing streak. 

McDaniel and Allie Kubek sparked the Terps off the bench all game and found a strong groove in the second half, combining for 22 points. During Maryland’s 9-2 run to close out the first quarter, Kubek scored seven points including a three-pointer as the Terps took a 24-18 lead.

After the Terps connected on their first possession of the second quarter, Maryland missed their next 10 shots as Syracuse went on a 9-0 run to briefly take a 27-26 lead.

Hawa Doumbouya got a loud ovation when entering the game with 3:58 left in the second quarter. The freshman made an impact during her two minutes of action, using her 6-foot-7 frame to get an offensive rebound and the putback to give Maryland a 30-29 lead — her first collegiate basket.

Sellers beat the halftime buzzer with a layup off the backboard, picking up the and-one as Maryland entered the break trailing 38-35. The Orange outscored Maryland 20-11 in the second quarter.

“I thought we looked a little fatigued in that second quarter,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I loved the response at halftime out of the locker room. … We wanted to get to the free throw line and drive it a little bit more.” 

The Orange dominated in the paint with 22 paint points in the first half and finished with 36 in the game. 

Maryland intensified the defensive pressure in the second half with full court pressure, causing 11 Orange turnovers. 

One key turnover was when Sellers blocked a pass, giving the ball back to the Terps. The Terps turned the turnover into points with McDaniel assisting on a Kubek layup. 

“We want to have live ball turnovers, that way we can get and go and have the numbers advantage,” Sellers said. “Taking care of the ball is just going to be critical for us in the long run.” 

Kubek drove to the basket, got the layup to fall and drew the and-one to give Maryland a 45-43 lead with 6:25 left in the third quarter. Kubek missed the free throw. 

After the Orange tied the game at 45, Alexander knocked down a wide open three-pointer from the corner. 

Maryland got to the free throw line in the third quarter but missed its shots, shooting 7-11 from the line. The Terps showed tight defensive pressure with Syracuse trying to inbound the ball, causing the Orange to take two timeouts. 

Dyaisha Fair knocked down back-to-back three-pointers on consecutive possessions, increasing Syracuse’s lead to 58-53 with 3:04 left in the third, causing Frese to take a timeout. 

That turned into an 8-0 run with an Orange second chance basket. 

Maryland exploded for its own 8-0 run, taking a 61-60 lead with 50.7 left in the third. Syracuse called another timeout behind six points from Kubek and a forced turnover that Sellers turned into a layup. 

Kubek finished the afternoon with 23 points and eight rebounds in a breakout game. The junior came up with big basket after basket.  

“A big thing was just boxing out and rebounding, just being able to be in the right place at the right time when they were driving,” Kubek said.

Early in the fourth quarter, McDaniel found a lane to the basket and converted the layup giving Maryland a 67-64 lead. McDaniel finished with 12 points, shooting 8-for-12 from the line while adding four rebounds and five assists. 

Syracuse did not quit when Maryland went on a run, clawing its way back into the contest. A Jakia Brown-Turner jumper made it a two possession game with 36 seconds left. 

Syracuse knocked down a quick three-pointer bringing the Orange within two at 83-81 with 23 seconds left. But the Terps were able to hold on and secure the win, snapping their two-game losing streak.

Posted by Judith Altneu

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