With No. 20 Maryland women’s basketball and No. 7 Notre Dame locked at 72 with 17.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t a secret who was getting the ball. Maryland star senior guard Diamond Miller dribbled hard to her left before rising for a one-legged jump shot as the buzzer sounded.
Miller’s dagger lifted the Terps to a 74-72 victory, as they moved to 7-2 on the season. Maryland displayed grit and late game composure, as it secured its second triumph over a ranked opponent.
Here are three takeaways from the Terps’ exhilarating victory.
Diamond Miller’s clutch performance showed why she’s one of the best players in the country.
Maryland’s 2022-23 roster looks vastly different from previous teams, as several key building blocks jettisoned to new locations.
Donning the No. 1 jersey, senior guard Diamond Miller returned and hoped to lead a overlooked team to the Big Ten title this season.
Miller put on a show at the Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana, recording a double-double with 31 points and 12 rebounds. The Terps’ star was decisive in transition, as she scored several layups on aggressive drives to the rim.
With the game heading to a pivotal final quarter, the two-time All-Big Ten honoree stepped up mightily.
“We needed every single moment from our all-American with Diamond. I thought she was spectacular, wanting the ball at the end of the game, making plays for us and doing it within the offense,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said.
Miller also recorded five assists in the contest, highlighted by two fourth-quarter passes that led to two clutch 3 pointers. On the final possession, her intentions were clear.
“I wanted to take the last shot because I didn’t want to give them another possession. Worst come to worst, we’re going to go to overtime,” Miller said. “I just got to my spot and shot it.”
As the shot hit the bottom of the net, Miller stormed around the court with a gesture to the crowd to be silent.
Shyanne Sellers’ explosive first quarter set the tone.
Shyanne Sellers, last season’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year, has made positive strides through nine games in her sophomore season.
Sellers is an excellent defender with the ability to score in bunches. The sophomore guard was aggressive from the onset, scoring 10 points in the first quarter.
“Shy really set the tone for us on the offensive end and I thought as a team we were really good at forcing them into a lot of turnovers,” Frese said.
But the Ohio native’s contributions go beyond that. She drew eight fouls in the contest, with two coming on offensive fouls.
Sellers is a hellacious defender, but it’s her offensive scoring that took center stage versus Notre Dame.
With under five minutes remaining, Sellers scored a crucial layup to give the Terps a 62-61 advantage. She ended the upset triumph with 17 points, five rebounds and two steals.
“I came out consciously looking to score, just [watching] a lot of film and knowing that I was kind of a tough matchup for them,” Sellers said. “Because you have to honor Diamond [Miller] and Abby [Meyers]. So it kind of left them in a tough situation. So I just came out looking to be aggressive and then everything kind of just fell in place.”
With a dynamic two-way player like Sellers, the Terps are proving to be a team to watch in the Big Ten.
Brinae Alexander came up big in the fourth quarter.
Maryland senior guard and Vanderbilt transfer Brinae Alexander continues to shine in her role off the bench.
In the final game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off, Alexander drained five 3-pointers in the Terps’ 87-63 victory over Pittsburgh on Nov. 27.
On Thursday night — in a primetime game — Alexander exhibited moxie throughout the contest, but most importantly in the fourth quarter.
With under six minutes remaining, Miller penetrated the defense, only to find Alexander open in the corner. The latter set her feet and swished a triple to give the Terps a 61-60 lead.
Two minutes later, Maryland received the ball trailing 63-62.
The Terps sprinted in transition as Sellers made an extra pass to Alexander on the wing. With no hesitation, Alexander rose up and knocked down a crucial shot from distance to reclaim the lead.
Alexander played in several marquee games during her time in the SEC, and Frese believes that experience was on display Thursday.
“That’s that SEC experience. It was huge,” Frese said. “I love the fact that she had a short memory and wanted that moment. So many great plays by so many different players and that’s what you got to have as a team and just love the fact that she had tremendous confidence in those moments.”