Maryland women’s basketball entered Wednesday night searching for its first ranked win of the season over No. 18 Ohio State.
But the Terps’ effort fell just short.
It was a highly-contested contest throughout the first three quarters, marked by a lively, but ugly brand of play.
The Buckeyes turned it around in the final frame, however, going 10-for-19 from the field, while the Terps went just 7-17. It resulted in a 84-76 Maryland loss, just its seventh defeat at home against a Big Ten opponent since 2014.
“[Ohio State’s] will to win was a little bit greater there at the end.” said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese.
Despite having the majority of early possessions, Ohio State failed to capitalize, shooting 1-for-7 from the field and 1-for-6 from 3-point range in the opening four minutes.
Nevertheless, Maryland’s offensive struggles mirrored those of its opponents. In nearly the same span, it committed four turnovers, large in part to Ohio State’s relentless full-court press.
Both teams started to embrace the intensity of the match as the first quarter concluded. Bri McDaniel, who set a career-high with 25 points in the Terps’ previous game, started off sharp Wednesday, scoring nine points in the opening 10 minutes. She also played a crucial role in Maryland’s occasional half-court press.
McDaniel also feels she’s carved out a significant role on the team to this point.
“It’s only because my team [has] put me in the right positions to be the best player for the team,” she said. “They tell me where to go and just help me all around to be who I am.”
Both teams exhibited a more deliberate approach in shot selection during the second quarter, filled with a high-paced energy. Despite Shyanne Sellers being sidelined early in the second quarter with two fouls, the Terps still managed an impressive 7-for-9 shooting from the field in the initial six minutes of the frame.
Maryland also effectively contained Ohio State’s star guard, Jacy Sheldon, limiting her to just four points in the first half. Averaging 17.7 points per game entering Wednesday, Sheldon went 0-for-3 from the field and committed two turnovers in the opening 20 minutes of play. Collectively, the Buckeyes made 13 of 32 first-half shots.
The third period was also one riddled with fouls. Multiple Terps, including Allie Kubek and Sellers, had to sit due to getting into foul trouble. Both teams were in the bonus minutes before the end of the quarter.
“[Allie] had three fouls in five minutes. And, you know, she at times has struggled defensively for us in the zone,” Frese said.
The opening of the fourth quarter saw Ohio State take a seven-point lead, its largest of the game, as it made its first three field goals.
Maryland had serious struggles grabbing defensive boards in the final frame, allowing the Buckeyes to grab four offensive boards in the first four minutes. The Buckeyes scored 10 paint points during that span as well.
“I think that’s the disappointing thing, that we weren’t able to keep them off the glass,” Frese added.
What was seen as a liability for Ohio State heading into the match turned out to be a serious asset down the stretch.
“As far as rebounding, [Ohio State] got a lot of weak side rebounds,” said guard Lavender Briggs. “We need to shift over and just be disciplined with that...all five of us have to hit people and get that ball.”
In the end, Maryland couldn’t recapture enough momentum, resulting in Ohio State’s first victory in College Park since 2016.
Three things to know
1. Is it time to be concerned? With this loss, the Terps fell to 3-3 record in conference play, and they have yet to secure a victory against a ranked opponent. Moreover, with two rotation players now sidelined for the rest of the season, one may wonder if Maryland’s ultimate potential has been diminished.
2. Emily Fisher occupied Riley Nelson’s minutes. With Riley Nelson out for the remainder of the season with an ACL tear, Fisher carried most of the load Wednesday. In 10 minutes of playing time, she scored just two points and brought down two rebounds.
“The roster, it’s not changing...they’re gonna have to play through fatigue, they’re gonna have to push through the wall,” Frese said.
3. A game of turnovers and fouls. Turnovers and fouls defined the evening, with the teams combining for 31 giveaways and 41 fouls. In the fourth quarter, this significantly slowed down the pace, ultimately placing the Buckeyes in the bonus with over four minutes left to play.