Maryland women’s basketball was no match for No. 1 Connecticut, falling to the Huskies 97-72 on Sunday afternoon.
The Terps struggled all afternoon, shooting 38 percent from the field, and that number was below 30 percent until the fourth quarter. Kaila Charles was one of three players in double figures, finshing with 29 points and 12 rebounds.
Maryland struggled on the glass as well, getting outrebounded 57-35. UConn’s Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams and Napheesa Collier all had double-doubles, and their 34 combined rebounds were almost as many as the 35 Maryland had as a team. Stevens started in place of Katie Lou Samuelson, who was out with a foot injury, and finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Kia Nurse led the Huskies with 21 points, 14 of which came in the first quarter.
The scary part for Maryland is that UConn didn’t play incredibly well. The Huskies turned the ball over 24 times, compared to 20 for the Terps. If that number was cut in half, Connecticut could’ve won by 50.
UConn jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but Maryland responded with seven straight points of its own to tie the game. After that, it was all Huskies. Ieshia Small stopped an 11-0 run with two free throws, but UConn continued to dominate.
After a Small jumper tied the game at seven with 7:45 to go in the first quarter, the Terps didn’t score from the field until Kaila Charles hit a jumper with 58 seconds to go in the first quarter. By that point, UConn had taken over and was leading 26-11. The Huskies scored another six points to end the quarter to take a 32-11 lead.
Maryland tried to stymie UConn with a zone defense, but the Terps shot themselves in the foot to many times on the other end of the floor for it to matter. Maryland turned the ball over 15 times in the first half, and the Huskies turned that into easy transition offense. The Terps, on the other hand, settled for a lot of jumpers, and failed to score in the paint, getting swatted by a UConn defender or not finishing a layup.
Maryland got no closer than 19 in the second quarter, and trailed 46-21 at halftime. The Huskies continued to build their lead in the second half, leading by as much as 37 on their way to an easy victory.
The Terps are back in action Tuesday against Howard.
Three things to know
- There’s a reason UConn’s ranked No. 1. The Huskies have played three ranked teams to start the season, and have crushed all of them. With Samuelson healthy, they only have a seven- or eight-player rotation, but all of those players could be the top dog at about 95 percent of other division I schools. They’re the overwhelming favorites to roll to another national championship.
- Another slow start. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse with this, but Maryland hasn’t started well in any game this season. The Terps did some good things against UConn, but the Huskies blitzkreiged them at the start. Maryland struggled with the Huskies’ defense, and this game went from competitive to a blowout in the blink of an eye.
- Maryland desperately needs to find a post presence. Settling for jump shots isn’t winning basketball at any level. It was going to be tough against UConn regardless, but the Terps need to have either Brianna Fraser or Stephanie Jones to become reliable down low. They don’t need to be Brionna Jones-level efficient, they just need to make teams respect them and take attention off driving guards.