The Maryland Terrapins were able to stave off a strong Texas Longhorn's push to earn a trip to the Sweet Sixteen, winning the game 69-64 .
The game was tight early on as both teams would go back-and-forth through the first half with Maryland holding an early edge, 16-15. Laurin Mincy was the go-to player early, leading the way with eight early points. Star player Alyssa Thomas didn't score in the early going, but she did add three assists to aid in the early lead.Alicia DeVaughn worked down-low for Maryland with four early rebounds and six points to help the Terps gain the momentum.
Mincy came into the game averagine 5.8 points per game, but eclipsed that early on. Fouls were also an issue for the Terps as the Longhorns went into the bonus with six minutes remaining. Alyssa Thomas was called for a foul with 4:36 remaining in the first half, but in an odd series of events, the bucket counted and free throws ensued, giving the Longhorns a four-point trip.
In a game that Maryland had seized all momentum, it was given right back following the four-point trip with a foul underneath and two more free throws, typing the game at 22 a piece. Texas went on a bit of a run to expand their lead to 27-22, but the Terps fought back with seven points to retake the lead 29-28 with under a minute left. The Longhorns hit a big three to retake the lead with under 30 seconds left in the midst of all the action.
Maryland would get the final shot of the half and Lexi Brown would respond with a drive to the hoop to tie the game at 31 heading into the halftime break. Malina Howard and Laurin Mincy led the way with seven and eight points respectively.
The Terps started the second half with a bucket to take the lead, but Texas came right back with a three-point play to retake the lead until Alyssa Thomas hit her first shot of the game. The back-and-forth action continued with buckets by both teams and free throws for Maryland, resulting in a 39-39 Maryland lead with 18 minutes remaining.
After going 0-5 in the first half shooting, Alyssa Thomas finally got it going after her first bucket, scoring an and-one, raising her total to five points and giving the Terps a four point lead.Thomas wouldn't stop there, however, scoring yet another bucket to nab seven quick points to force a Texas timeout.
Texas cut the Maryland lead to three with the help of Brianna Taylor, a player who came in off the bench due to a slight injury. The sloppy play of Maryland would contribute to this with a couple of turnovers leading to scores. The Terps got busy on the offensive glass like the Longhorns, collecting a pair of them on an offensive possession where Alicia DeVaughn headed to the line to put the Terps up 46-41.
The Terps, led by Alyssa Thomas flexed their muscles down the stretch, opening up a nine point lead with around ten minutes remaining. Malina Howard got her bucket to go to put the clamps on the Longhorns, opening up an 11 point lead, 55-44.
The game began to turn a bit in the favor of the Longhorns as they trimmed the Terps lead to eight with six minutes remaining. Both teams hit the double bonus with five minutes left, meaning any foul would be free throws the rest of the way. After free throws for Texas, it would be a six point lead, when it was once an eleven point lead.
Lexi Brown was huge down the stretch, with four consecutive points to get the lead back to double-digits with under four minutes remaining. The Longhorns were able to get three three-point buckets to go late in the half to cut the Terps lead to three with two minutes remaining, making this a closer game than it appeared five minutes earlier.
With 90 seconds to go, the Longhorns grabbed another bucket in transition, cutting the deficit to just one point. The Longhorns missed their shot to take the lead and fouled Mincy and she hit both shots to extend the lead to three with 29 seconds left. With eight seconds left, the Longhorns couldn't sink the three and fouled Alyssa Thomas, sending her to the line with a chance to ice the game. Thomas hit both shots, and the Terrapins would go on to win 69-64. Alyssa Thomas scored all of her 16 points in the second half to pace the way for the win.
The Terrapins will move on to play the Tennessee Volunteers in the Sweet Sixteen in hopes of pulling off a monumental upset.