With No. 20 Maryland women’s basketball’s game against Purdue even at 74 and just six seconds left on the clock, Maryland drew the play up for the hot hand.
Maryland senior guard Abby Meyers had 19 points and was shooting 50% from the field. Meyers dribbled hard to her left, forcing the defense to commit a double-team. The Potomac native made a hard pivot and found sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers on the wing.
Sellers stepped in rhythm and drilled the triple to give Maryland the thrilling 77-74 victory over Purdue for their first victory in Big Ten play this season. The Terps moved to 8-3 after splitting their first two conference tilts.
“The play was drawn up for Abby [Meyers] and then I saw that she was going to be in trouble a little bit. So I fell behind like we did in practice this week. And then I saw the shot. I saw the clock and it was about 1.5 seconds and I was like, I don’t have time to dribble and pull up. So I shot it and said ‘It’s going in,’” Sellers said.
With the victory, head coach Brenda Frese picked up the 600th win of her career.
“Clearly this will be a win I’ll remember for a really long time, and obviously the dramatics at the end, and I told these guys they’re like the cardiac kids of keeping these games close,” Frese said.
Maryland and Purdue had an emphasis to execute their half-court offenses during the early onset of the Big Ten clash. Still, both teams kept their eye on getting out in transition and finding defensive miscues to exploit.
Over three minutes into the first quarter, both teams had combined for zero points and five turnovers in a sloppy offensive performance.
Purdue guard Abbey Ellis provided a spark for Purdue in the opening quarter with eight points and a highlight play to close the first minutes of action.
With four seconds remaining in the first quarter, Purdue inbounded the ball from midcourt. Ellis breezed past Maryland defenders for the layup to give the Boilermakers a 23-20 advantage after the opening 10 minutes.
Meyers came off the bench for the first time this season and she made her presence felt early in the game. Meyers looked nimble with the basketball, and a swift move in the second quarter confirmed that. With less than five minutes remaining until half, Meyers caught the ball on the left elbow. The Princeton transfer sized her defender up with a hesitation dribble before using a quick step back to make a jump shot, trimming the Terps’ deficit to 31-28.
Purdue graduate guard Cassidy Hardin drained a 3-pointer with under four minutes on the first half clock to extend its lead to 34-30.
The teams battled the entire quarter as the smallest lead was one, while the largest advantage was six points in a back and forth quarter.
Purdue took a narrow 38-35 advantage heading into intermission after shooting 52% from the field on 15-for-29 shooting. They also took a slight 19-18 advantage in the rebounding category, while leading the turnover battle, 13-8.
The second half started with both teams trading triples. Facing a 38-35 deficit, the Terps jolted out in transition. An extra pass led to Maryland senior guard Brinae Alexander draining her second 3-pointer of the game to even the game at 38.
Purdue found its rhythm in the third quarter, as it scored 23 points and matched the Terps with three made shots from behind the arc.
With Purdue leading 34-31 late into the third quarter, Maryland guard Diamond Miller pushed the pace in transition. Miller dribbled hard and found Meyers trailing for a corner 3-pointer.
The final quarter started with Maryland sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers attacking the rim with purpose. Sellers drove hard down the right side and converted a layup to cut the deficit to 61-59.
Purdue guard sophomore Ava Learn scored a layup to extend her team’s lead to 63-59.
The Terps responded instantly and it was by their star senior guard. Miller dribbled hard to her left and rose up for the 3-pointer to cut their deficit to 63-62.
Maryland took the lead on the ensuing possession after Sellers launched a pass to senior guard Lavender Briggs for the uncontested layup. Briggs’ layup gave the Terps a 64-63 lead.
Purdue guard Jeanae Terry made two free throws to reclaim a 65-64 lead.
On the Terps next two possessions, Miller and Meyers found success from 3-point range to give Maryland a 69-65 advantage.
The Boilermakers fight would be on display, as they trailed on their home court.
Ellie went on a 8-0 run after draining two 3-pointers and a layup to give Purdue a late lead, but the Terps came out on top after Sellers sealed the game with her clutch 3-pointer as time expired.
Next, Maryland will welcome No. 6 UConn to the XFINITY Center on Sunday in a highly-anticipated showdown between two premier programs.
Three things to know
1. Maryland head coach Brenda Frese finally secured her 600th victory of her career in an exhilarating triumph over Purdue. Frese is in her 20th season leading the women’s basketball program at Maryland. Frese won the Terps’ lone NCAA title in 2006 and has guided the team to three Final Four appearances. Her 600th career win came in thrilling fashion after Maryland sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers sunk a game-winning 3-pointer in a road Big Ten victory.
2. Maryland’s lineup change provides a much needed spark for senior guard Abby Meyers. The Terps made a tweak to their starting lineup versus Purdue, inserting Alexander for Meyers. The latter had started every game this season, but was relegated to the bench in the Thursday night showdown. Meyers had struggled in Maryland’s previous two games, evidenced by her eight total points and a 4-for-17 showing from the field. In the game versus Purdue, she recorded 19 points and delivered the game-deciding assist.
3. The Terps will set their sights to Sunday at the XFINITY Center. Maryland picks up another last-second victory on a crafty shot. The Terps showed resilience, as they clawed their way back from single digit deficits. The Terps picked up a 74-72 victory over No. 7 Notre Dame on Dec. 1, then came out flat in their 90-67 loss to Nebraska on Dec. 4. On Sunday, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies will head to College Park for a Sunday afternoon showdown with the Terps.