With 4.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and No. 7 Maryland women’s basketball leading 76-74, No. 16 Ohio State received the ball at mid court with a chance to tie the game or take the lead.
Ohio State guard Taylor Thierry launched an off-balance jumpshot that air balled. Freshman guard Cotie McMahon attempted a putback, but the clock struck zero before the ball went through the net.
The Terps escaped with a 76-74 victory on Friday to end the regular season at 24-5 and 15-3 in Big Ten play. Maryland will be either the two or three seed in the Big Ten Tournament starting on March 1.
Maryland senior guard Abby Meyers led all scorers with 24 points and made several crucial buckets in its road triumph.
Maryland and Ohio State started slow, as both teams looked to dictate pace from the opening tip.
Maryland senior guard Abby Meyers scored the first points on a pump fake and dribble drive to the rim.
With both teams even at four midway through the first quarter, Maryland star guard Diamond Miller slashed to the lane for an easy look at the rim.
The Terps went on a 6-0 run after a pair of Abby Meyers’ layups and Miller’s aggressive attack to the rim in transition.
Maryland’s 12-6 lead forced a quick Ohio State timeout.
With under 10 seconds in the opening quarter and trailing 15-14, Ohio State guard Taylor Mikesell dribbled hard to her right before abruptly stopping for her jumpshot.
Mikesell’s shot bounced in to give the Buckeyes a 16-15 lead following the first 10 minutes of action.
Maryland went 7-for-16 from the field, while it’s counterparts went 8-of-15 in the opening period. The Terps scored four points on five Ohio State turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
Maryland started the second quarter fast, as Miller scored a layup in under 15 seconds on a strong drive to the rim.
McMahon continued her hot start in the second period, but this time from three-point range.
Ohio State junior guard Ricki Harris pushed the pace in transition, as she found McMahon on the left wing. McMahon wasted little motion, as she drained her first 3-pointer of the game.
Alexander, a 44.3% three-point shooter, continued to make the defense pay from distance.
With under eight minutes until intermission, Alexander knocked down her second three of the half to extend the Terps lead to 24-19.
A few possessions later, Mikesell converted a 3-pointer to cut into Maryland’s lead.
On the Terps’ next possession, Alexander kept the hot streak going, as she faded away from a screen and sunk her third 3-pointer of the first half. Alexander’s triple gave Maryland a 30-25 lead. The Vanderbilt transfer had 11 points after the first 20 minutes of play.
After a pair of missed Ohio State free throws, Alexander pushed the pace in transition before delivering a bounce pass to senior guard Elisa Pinzan for a layup.
On Ohio State’s next two possessions, the Buckeyes looked to establish the interior presence of six foot four senior forward Rebeka Mikulasikova.
Mikulasikova effortlessly scored on a pair of layups in the paint to trim Maryland’s lead to 36-31.
With under 20 seconds until intermission, Meyers pivoted and finished with a left hand floater to give the Terps a 38-33 lead at the half.
After losing the rebounding margin by four in the first quarter, Maryland responded with a 10-6 advantage in the second quarter.
Ohio State began the second half looking to get right back into the game.
On the very first possession in the third quarter, Mikulasikova displayed her dynamic presence, this time, swishing in a three pointer to trim Ohio State’s deficit to 38-36.
On Maryland’s next two possessions, Miller and Meyers maneuvered their way into the paint for layups to extend its lead to 42-36.
After a layup by senior forward Faith Masonius, Ohio State marched down the floor looking to make Maryland pay in transition.
The back-and-forth affair continued throughout the third period.
With under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Ohio State secured its 10th offensive rebound. Mikesell, standing at the top of the key, stepped into the shot and drilled another three to give the Buckeyes a 63-58 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
Ohio State outscored Maryland 30-20 and made 5-of-8 shots from distance in the third period.
Maryland began the final quarter with an emphasis to get back into the game.
With under a minute expired in the fourth quarter, Meyers scored a three pointer and on the following possession raced down the court for a layup after a steal. Meyers’ own 5-0 run evened the game at 63 with over nine minutes in regulation.
After Mikesell’s free throws pushed the lead to 65-63, Thierry led a one-woman fast break to stretch their lead.
Maryland trailed Ohio State 69-67 with under six minutes to play.
The Terps went on a 8-0 run to reclaim a 73-69 lead with under five minutes left in regulation.
A classic Big Ten battle ensued down the stretch with both teams looking for any edge to close out the regular season with a win.
In the end, Maryland narrowly came out on top on the road.
Three things to know
- The Terps complete the season sweep of Ohio State to end the regular season. Maryland had one of the toughest three-game stretches in the country to end the regular season. The Terps faced Michigan State, No. 6 Iowa, and No. 16 Iowa; with two of three being on the road. Maryland swept its three game slate and extended their win streak to six with a narrow 76-74 victory over Ohio State. When was the last time Maryland had two or more victories over Ohio State? It was the 2019-20 season when the Terps defeated their Big Ten counterparts three times en route to its latest Big Ten Tournament Championship.
- Abby Meyers’ clutch performance saved the day. When the Terps visit opposing arenas, finding a way to contain senior guard Diamond Miller should be at the forefront of game plans. On Friday, Miller sat for a prolonged period after picking up her fourth foul in the third quarter. But Maryland relied on the scoring of senior guard Abby Meyers to will it to victory.
- The Big Ten Tournament is next. With the regular season in the rearview, Maryland can set its sights on the Big Ten Tournament, beginning on March 1 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The outcome of Sunday’s tilt between No. 2 Indiana and No. 6 Iowa will determine whether Maryland is the two or three seed.