Facing a ranked foe for the second time in as many games, the Maryland Terrapins held off the Florida State Seminoles (#19AP/#21Coaches) 71-64. The Seminoles came into Comcast 2-0 in the ACC and 12-1 on the year with their only loss coming by a single point at Nebraska. The game was, like Thursday’s match up against North Carolina, a tale of two halves. Moving the ball efficiently and playing solid defense, the Terps looked every bit like the eight ranked team in the country. Just as Jake Layman hit a three point jumper to get the men off to a quick start yesterday, freshman point guard Chloe Pavlech did the same for the women –albeit from the opposite side of the court. And, just as the men never relinquished the lead to Virginia Tech, the women also led wire to wire. The men toted a 16 point lead into halftime as did the women. The peculiar parallels end there.
Maryland sprinted out to a 6-0 lead. FSU twice pulled within one, the last at 15-14 with about 10 minutes remaining in the half, before the Terps used an 11-0 run over three and a half minutes to extend the lead to a dozen. Pavlech’s second three pointer of the half capped the Maryland outburst. The lead more or less hovered between ten and twelve for the next few minutes until freshman Tierney Pfirman’s three point shot propelled the Terps to their largest lead of the half at 15 with just over two minutes remaining. The reams traded baskets until Pfirman sank another three pointer from the opposite corner to her first with a few seconds remaining to secure the sixteen point cushion. Maryland held Florida State to 33% shooting for the half while sinking 43% of their shots. The Terps also held a massive advantage on the boards out rebounding the Seminoles 27-15 including a 10-3 edge on the offensive glass. The Terrapins also shared the ball beautifully with 12 assists on 16 baskets. However, it was only their 11 turnovers that would be a harbinger of their play in the second half.
Much as they had against UNC, Maryland started the second half with a case of turnover-it is – committing three on their first four possessions allowing the visitors to quickly shave five points off the halftime lead. A three pointer by Xavier transfer Katie Rutan following an Alyssa Thomas steal stemmed a bit of the FSU momentum. After the Seminoles cut the lead to single digits for the first time, Tianna Hawkins made a lay up and Rutan followed with another three and the Terps seemed poised to put the game away with under thirteen minutes to go. But it wouldn’t be quite so easy. Some cold shooting, lazy defense and turnovers allowed the visitors to run off eight straight points cutting the lead to four and putting the crowd of a little over 5,000 on edge. A toe on the line jumper by Pfirman gave the Terps a little breathing room and stretching the lead back to six with just under seven minutes to go. An old fashioned three point play with about four and a half minutes left pulled the Seminoles within a single possession – a deficit they would reach twice more until Rutan’s clutch three pointer from the top of the circle with the shot clock running down and just over a minute to play gave the Terps the emotional boost they needed to secure the win. Florida State missed their next shot and Alicia DeVaughn corralled the rebound, made the outlet to Thomas, who found Hawkins who had leaked out behind the Seminole defense. Despite the eight point lead with under a minute to go, after Rutan missed the front end of a one and one, the Terps would turn the ball over twice in plays that seemed emblematic of a half in which they had more turnovers (14) than baskets (12). Although FSU executed better offensively in the second half (due in no small part to Maryland's turnovers), Maryland played solid defense and became the first team to hold the Seminoles under 70 points.
Alyssa Thomas led all scorers for Maryland with 20 points while Hawkins and Pfirman shipped in 17 and 12 respectively. (In another odd parallel to yesterday’s men’s game, Pfirman scored all but two of her points in the first half a la Jake Layman.) Thomas also led the team in rebounds with fifteen giving her an eighth double-double on the season. The win moves the Terps to 2-1 in the ACC with a home game against Miami looming Thursday night.