No. 14 Maryland women's basketball found itself in a back-and-forth game against No. 6 South Carolina, down only three with 1:08 remaining in the second quarter.
But all it took was a minute to change the nature of the game, as South Carolina finished the half on a 9-0 run.
“We made turnover after turnover, and that kind of shifted momentum,” Shyanne Sellers said. “Instead of walking in tied at halftime, we’re walking in down 12.”
From that point on, the Gamecocks led by double digits for the rest of the game, led by Chloe Kitts’ 13-point, 10-rebound performance to hand Maryland its first loss of the season, 114-76.
Coming into the matchup, Maryland’s ability to compete on the boards with the Gamecocks was questioned. Those concerns rendered true, as Maryland was out-rebounded by 20. South Carolina had 28 second-chance points and 19 offensive rebounds.
Four of the Gamecocks’ forwards finished with double-digit points, and the team scored 56 points in the paint.
Sellers did all she could for the Terps, with 21 points and 8 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the huge deficit Maryland fell into in the second half.
The Terps did shoot well from three, but South Carolina shot the deep ball even better. Maryland made 10 threes on 45.5% shooting, with South Carolina making 12 threes on 50% shooting.
South Carolina’s press also hurt the Terps, who finished with 15 turnovers.
“Their depth just really wore us out by the time we got to the end of the second quarter,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said, referencing South Carolina’s 55 bench points.
The Terps were extremely aggressive coming out of the gate, with Sellers hitting a three before guard Jakia Brown-Turner nailed another from the wing to put Maryland on top midway through the first quarter. Back-and-forth play ensued en route to a 16-16 game at the end of the first quarter.
Neither team backed down heading into halftime, but to start the second half, South Carolina capitalized off Maryland mistakes.
In the first five minutes of the third quarter, South Carolina out-rebounded the Terps, 6-1, leading to eight second-chance points. Dominance of the boards extended South Carolina’s lead, as a Raven Johnson 3-pointer gave her team a 20-point advantage with 4:42 to go in the third quarter.
While Maryland had more energy to close out the quarter, South Carolina was always waiting with an answer. With the clock winding down, Johnson drove the ball down the court and dished it to guard Santa Feagin for a wide-open layup at the buzzer.
The game was blown wide open in the fourth quarter when South Carolina went on a 12-0 run.
With No. 2 UConn next on the schedule, Frese saw this game as an opportunity to learn some lessons. “It’s a growth week for us,” she said. “... These games will make us better for the future.”
Three things to know
1. Shyanne Sellers was injured late. Sellers took a knee during an offensive possession midway through the fourth quarter. She remained down, and after leaving the court hobbled behind the bench toward the locker room. She eventually returned to the bench.
She spoke about her status postgame: “[I’m] feeling good, just gonna rest tomorrow and take it from there.”
2. Turnovers were a problem for Sellers. The Sellers turnover that led to a layup at the end of the first half was her fifth in the opening two quarters, and she finished the game with six.
3. McDaniel made an impact off the bench. Bri McDaniel was Maryland’s best option off the bench. She hit two big threes in the first half and finished with 10 of Maryland’s 19 bench points.