Terps rally falls just short as Irish hold on for an 87-83 win in a thriller at Comcast Center.

Mark Dolejs-US PRESSWIRE

After falling behind by over 20 in the first half, The Terps came back to take a brief lead but a poised Notre Dame squad held on for the win.

The first surprise of the night came with the starting lineup as Coach Frese decided to go big inserting Malina Howard back into the starting five in place of Laurin Mincy. The second surprise came when Howard missed a fourteen foot jumper from the right nwing to open the game after the Terps won the opening tip.

Maryland missed their first four shots before Alicia DeVaughn scored on a baby hook and picked up an early second foul on Natalie Achonwa to cut the Irish lead to 4-3 when she completed the three point play. Howard came out of the game early after appearing to tweak her ankle. Jewell Loyd was hot early for Notre Dame scoring five of the first nine and Alyssa Thomas was cold for Maryland starting the game 1 for 5.  As the teams went to the first media break the Irish held a 9-8 lead.

Two turnovers and a Kayla McBride three pointer helped fuel a 7-0 Notre Dame run out of the timeout before two Brene Moseley free throws staunched the bleeding. The 18-10 lead the Irish held into the second media timeout was built largelyon the strength of their 61.5% shooting percentage.

Notre Dame's lead hit double digits on the first possession under 12 minutes when Michaela Mabrey dropped in a wide open three point jumper. Things continued to spiral downhill for Maryalnd as turnovers paired with difficulty making shots and even more efficiency on the offensive end allowed Notre Dame to build their lead.. The Terps trailed 30-14 before a Laurin Mincy three point jumper cut the lead back to thirteen at the under 8 minute timeout.

The pattern continued and when ND opened the lead to 36-19 after Maryland's eighth turnover, Coach Frese called a timeout. The timeout did the Irish more good than Maryland as they went on a 5-0 run to open a 22 point lead at 41-19 when the under four minute timeout rolled around.

The last segment of the half opened with two free throws from Mincy that started a mini Terrapins run and the Terps cut the lead to 16 and prompted a Notre Dame timeout. Maryland finshed the half on a 16-6 run but still trailed by a dozen at 47-35.

The Terps continued attacking the basket with a Lexie Brown layup to open the half. An AT steal and an offensive rebound led to another Brown bucket that cut the lead to eight. Alyssa Thomas answered Kayla McBride's three point jumper with a traditional three point play and a Thomas steal and highlight reel layup reduced the deficit to six. Another and one by Thomas narrowed the gap to 52-47. Thomas kept the Terps within five as the teams went to the first break of the second half.

The officials penalized the Terps for their aggressive play early as Maryland picked up their seventh team foul with 14:09 to play. When Shatori Walker-Kimbrough hit a twelve foot jumper from the right baseline the Terps were within two, the crowd erupted and Muffet McGraw called a timeout. Maryland came out in a zone trap and forced a Notre Dame turnover but failed to capitalize bu McBride missed a three pointer and Moseley was fouled in the battle for the long rebound. The foul was Notre Dame's sixth of the half so Maryland would have possession coming out of the timeout with a chance to tie the score.

Great ball movement from Shatori to AT led to an open layup for DeVaughn. MCbride missed the second shot in a one and one and an AT jumper in the lane gave the Ter[s a brief 64-63 lead. But this is a poised and experienced Notre Dame squad and they responded with seven straight forcing Frese to call timeout. The Terps responded with a Brown drive that led to a Brionna Jones layup. With 7:39 to play and McBride going to the line to shoot two, the score stood at a 70-66 Irish advantage.

The free throws opened the lead to six but the Terps weren't quite done yet. Thomas pulled down her tenth rebound and made a length of the court pass to Moseley to bring the Terps back within two. Thomas and Achonwa traded free throw makes and misses and with 3:47 left and the Terps in possession the Notre Dame lead was two.

Thomas was fouled in the act and made one of two but Mabrey answered with a three pointer to extend the lead back to four. Devaughn scored for Maryland but Jewell Loyd knocked down an old fashioned three point play that Brown answered with a three point jumper only Maryland's second of the night. Loyd made a spectacular rebound of her own miss and the Terps worked patiently for a DeVaugh layup. With 38 seconds to go the Irish led 85-83. McBride's jumper with twelve seconds left sealed the Terps fate as Notre Dame held on for the 87-83 win as Maryland falls to 4-2 in the ACC.

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