The fourth quarter of Maryland women’s basketball’s 76-74 win against Ohio State was dictated by official reviews with under 20 seconds left, and to head coach Brenda Frese it felt like a tournament game.
Taylor Thierry stepped out of bounds after stealing the ball from sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers. That was after Maryland got the ball back after Ohio State poked it away on an inbound pass.
Graduate student Abby Meyers hit one of two free throws with 11 seconds left in the game and on the next possession, Sellers fouled out of the game.
It was a complicated game for Maryland that ended with a critical call off Taylor Thierry’s shot attempt left her hands before the buzzer sounded.
A neutral start
Head coach Brenda Frese said in the mic’d up huddle that her team wasn’t hitting shots and they needed more physicality on the glass. The Terps had zero offensive rebounds, which was an area they excelled against Iowa. No team really gained a true upper hand in the first half despite individual players on both teams finding success.
For Maryland, it was graduate student Brinae Alexander, who set a career-high 24 points against Iowa. She had 11 points in her first 12 minutes of action at halftime. She finished the game with 16 points and said she enjoys her role off the bench.
“I get to see how the game was being played,” Alexander said. “It’s easy to see what’s happening, what’s going on. I know what’s exposed when I get on the floor. If I feel good and I’m open, everybody’s been telling me to let it go.”
Meyers had the second of two offensive rebounds in the first half for Maryland. She finished the play with a step-through underhand layup at the buzzer that completed a 23-point quarter for the Terps. Her secret is just keeping balance.
Maryland’s Diamond Miller used her abilities to get to the basket at will. The Buckeyes struggled to contain her on multiple fast breaks.
Where are the offensive boards?
After Maryland did a good job creating second-chance opportunities for itself against Iowa, it struggled to do the same against Ohio State. Maryland had two offensive rebounds at halftime and six at the end of the game. The Buckeyes had a clear advantage with 15.
That resulted in just nine second-chance points for Maryland, which it could have used to gain a larger lead.
Overall the defense wasn’t always up to speed. So much so that one of the broadcasters described it as an all-star game, traditionally where the minimal defense has been played.
Early in the third quarter Maryland allowed multiple offensive boards to go to Ohio State. Rebeka Mikulášiková posed a threat to Maryland with her rebounding and scoring abilities. She and teammate Taylor Mikesell helped tie the game at 46 and then at 51 forcing Maryland to call a timeout.
“We were poor in that area,” Frese said. “We can get a lot more out of players like we’ve been able to. We’ve got to be able to get more than six, Diamond is more than capable of getting offensive rebounds for us.”
How Maryland handled being down
Most of the time during Maryland’s winning streak it rarely trailed. When the Buckeyes had momentum throughout the fourth quarter, Frese laid into Sellers telling her to step up. She took that to heart and pulled the Terps back in the game but Maryland was down one with 2:25 left in the game.
Sellers picked up a charge call with 1:34 left in the game which was her fourth personal foul of the game. At that juncture of the game, she and Miller had four fouls and Frese opted to keep them both in the game.
It speaks to the team’s composure to stay locked in during tough stretches. This mentality will come in handy during the Big Ten tournament and NCAA Tournament, since Frese said that this game felt like a tournament atmosphere, consider this good practice.
“If we’re down and we don't make it on the offense and we realize we really have to get a stop here, but that’s just trusting each player and each player’s abilities to step up in big moments,” Meyers said. “The good thing is when we were down we didn’t extend the deficit.”