FanPost

Musings from Greensboro Plus a Weekend NR Sports Wrap-Up and an Odd Connection to the Men's Loss at UVA

So I just got home from Greensboro and listened to the end of the game as the men lost at UVA. Before I express some of my thoughts on the Terps performance this weekend, I’d like to share something that Chris Weller told me after Saturday’s loss to UNC. For those of you who don’t know, Maryland lost by seven after being up by fourteen going into halftime and Chris Weller was Maryland’s coach for 27 years preceding the arrival of Brenda Frese. She finished her career with 499 wins, took Maryland to 2 NCAA Final Fours and 1 AIAW Final Four. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. She said that a halftime lead in the low to mid teens is the toughest lead for any coach because the team that’s leading has played well and is going into the locker room thinking they have things pretty well sown up while the trailing team is ticked off and fired up and knows that just a few baskets can get them right back in the game, changing momentum, shaking confidence and switching the pressure. I’m going to add that a momentum swinging play or two at the end of the first half boosts the trailing team’s emotions. I’ll get to the women’s game shortly but think of Logan’s missed three with six seconds left followed by Virginia’s made three before the buzzer. That’s certainly a three point swing and potentially five or six.

So let me get to some of my observations from Greensboro. Everyone is talking about Alyssa Thomas logging the first triple double in the history of the ACC Women’s Tournament with a career high 32 points to which she added 13 rebounds and 10 assists. When you throw out a game like that, you’ve earned the lion’s share of attention, – and deservedly so. But the Terps 92-81 victory over Wake Forest in Friday’s quarter final game was far from a one woman show and I’d like to shine the spotlight ever so briefly on some other crucial contributions. I’ll start with Tianna Hawkins who had the kind of game that people would be talking about had it not been overshadowed by AT’s monster performance. T-Hawk booked 17 points and 12 rebounds including a three point play and three boards in the overtime. The two Terrapin freshman stepped up under pressure with Malina Howard hitting a three point jumper from the top of the arc with the shot clock winding down to give the Terps a one point lead with 2:16 to play in regulation. Next up, it was Chloe Pavlech who drained a three from the corner to put Maryland up by two with 32 seconds left. And I would be completely remiss if didn’t mention the defensive effort by Katie Rutan. Wake’s diminutive point guard Chelsea Douglas went off for a total of 31 points. She made a three point jumper with just under eight minutes to play when Katie put her on lockdown. Douglas failed to make another field goal in regulation or in the overtime and her only points were two free throws after the Terps had essentially salted the game away.

Now to Saturday: The Terps came out hot – pounding the boards, making shots, and protecting the ball with only seven turnovers. When Alyssa Thomas made a three point play with six seconds left in the half to give the Terps a 16 point lead, it looked as though Maryland had the game well in hand and AT on her way to another possible triple double with 9 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists). A defensive lapse allowed the Tar Heels to get the ball quickly down court and make an uncontested lay up before the buzzer. Here’s that momentum play I mentioned above and Coach Weller’s dangerous low teen lead. Maryland started the second half with possession and settled for a missed three point shot. On defense, they failed to defend Carolina’s best three point shooter and though her shot came from beyond NBA range, not Terp was within several feet of her. Maryland followed with a quick three point attempt early in the shot clock from Hawkins and though UNC missed their next attempt, they had an excellent look at the basket. Another missed shot left Maryland 0-3 to start the half and North Carolina scored on a drive to the basket for an easy lay up through a porous Terrapin defense to cut the lead to nine and suddenly it was game on in a situation that seemed eerily reminiscent of the game at Chapel Hill where Maryland held a six point halftime lead only to wither a bit under UNC’s extremely physical play. Now, although neither the coaching staff nor the players will allow themselves to rationalize the loss by claiming “tired legs”, I’ll do it for them. From my vantage point, the Terps seemed a step slow, a bit unfocused in their decision making, and lacking lift from their legs on jump shots. When UNC brought in Latifah Coleman who hadn’t played on Friday and who finished the game with a career high 17 points, her fresh legs propelled her around and through Maryland defenders in a way that evoked Colin Briggs’s (I think) performance in the 2011 NCAA Championship game after he’d sat out the game before for disciplinary reasons and who sliced and diced the Maryland defense. The Terps will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament on March 23rd and 25th. We’ll learn who their opponents will be on the NCAA Selection Show on the eighteenth.

No detailed write ups but elsewhere around Maryland sports this weekend:

Baseball dropped two of three at Virginia losing a double header on Saturday by scores of 7-6 in the opener (UVA scored the winner in the bottom of the ninth) and getting shut out in the night cap 5-0. On Sunday the Terps scored two in the top of the first and were never headed winning by a final of 4-2. Maryland will host Marist in a double header on Tuesday.

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The softball team won two and dropped three in their weekend tournament. The team continues to play excruciatingly close and exciting games with their two wins coming by one run each beating St. John’s 3-2 on Friday and Binghamton 10-9 on Sunday. The Binghamton victory came with the Terps scoring 5 in the bottom of the seventh winning on junior Mandy Gardner’s walk off hit. Two of the losses were also one run affairs including a 10-9 loss to future B1G adversary Ohio State in which the Terps tied the score in the top of the seventh on freshman Lindsey Schmeiser’s grand slam.

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On the wrestling mat, Maryland hosted the ACC Championships. Josh Asper, Christian Boley, and Jimmy Sheptock won individual ACC wrestling titles at 174 pounds, 184 pounds, and 197 pounds respectively. Asper’s title was his second. Overall, the Terps finished third, falling short of capturing their third straight ACC Championship.

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The top ranked women’s lacrosse team downed seventh ranked Penn State at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex by a final of 20-10. Brooke Griffin scored four goals and senior Alex Aust continued her remarkable hot streak with four goals of her own. Aust added 4 assists giving her 38 points in Maryland’s last 4 games. Kasey Howard was stellar in goal for the Terrapins with a career high 14 saves. The Terps take to the road for three straight beginning in Chestnut Hill with Boston College on Saturday.

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In gymnastics, the 24th ranked Terrapins celebrated senior night at the Comcast Center by taking their meet against Yale and Central Michigan by a comfortable .45 point margin over the second place Chippewas. Junior Katy Dodds captured the win in her specialty with a 9.925 score on the vault. She also won the floor exercise scoring 9.9. The seniors also captured “gold” with Ally Kirkorian capturing the balance beam with a routine that earned her a 9.925 and Kelly Cofsky taking the all around title with a collective score of 39.275. The Terps travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia and Rutgers on Friday.


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Finally, the top ranked men’s lacrosse team notched a 13-7 win over the Seawolves from Stony Brook. Nine different Terps scored goals with Owen Blye, Jay Carlson, Kevin Cooper, and Joe Locasio each netting 2. Marland won the face off battle 20-4 while Nico Amato garnered 5 saves. Sophomore Kyle Bernlohr also saw some action in goal yielding 2 goals while stopping two and matching Amato’s save percentage. Next on tap for Maryland is a visit to the city of brotherly love where they will face off against the Villanova Wildcats.

And th-th-th-th-that’s all I’ve got, folks.

Todd Carton (AKA FHFAN)

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