Maryland women’s basketball survived a tough contest against Miami, besting the Hurricanes 79-71.
Redshirt senior guard and Miami native Ieshia Small put on a show, finishing with a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds for her first career-double. Small was one of five Maryland players in double figures, and Kaila Charles added 18 points and 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.
Miami led as late as 4:14 to go in the second quarter and hung around until the final minutes. Every time Maryland was about to break away, the Hurricanes responded, usually in the form of Mykea Gray. The 5’4 freshman from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, finished with 21 points, including 14 in the second half.
The Terps came away with a road win despite struggling in two key areas: three-point shooting and turnovers. Maryland shot just 3-for-20 from long range, and committed 20 turnovers.
The first quarter was back and forth, with neither team controlling the run of play. There were five lead changes in the quarter, and Miami had the largest lead at four on a tip-in by Emese Hof at the buzzer to take a 20-16 lead.
The second quarter belonged to Small, who scored 10 points in the frame. Small thrived in isolation matchups, knocking down high-elevation jumpers and getting to the foul line. Maryland took its biggest lead of the half, at 34-30, on two Small free throws with 54 seconds to go. Miami countered with a mini-run, and a transition layup from Neydja Petithomme cut the lead to 36-35 at halftime.
Both teams were sloppy in the first half, with Maryland committing 13 turnovers and Miami committing 10. The Terps did a good job breaking Miami’s press, but struggled with the Hurricanes’ intensity in the half court. Maryland struggled to find open shots, and it didn’t help that it couldn’t get a three-pointer to fall. The Terps shot 1-for-10 in the first half, and Blair Watson missed all five of her attempts.
Maryland picked off a few Miami passes, but the Hurricanes gifted the Terps a few possessions of their own. They struggled to finish around the rim throughout, which limited their ability to control the game.
The Terps finally separated themselves early in the third quarter, and a Small jumper pushed the lead to 47-38. The Hurricanes called timeout, and Gray took over after that, scoring 10 of Miami’s next 14 points, and a three-point play from Gray cut the lead to 53-52. The Hurricanes had numerous chance to take the lead but couldn’t capitalize, and Maryland led, 58-57, at the end of the third quarter.
Just like the third quarter, Maryland took over in the opening minutes. Miami head coach Katie Meier tried to get her team to play until the under-five timeout, but a layup from Channise Lewis forced her to call a timeout with 4:08 to play and Maryland leading, 73-63. Miami got as close as seven after that, then a layup from Stephanie Jones with 1:25 left gave the Terps a 77-68 lead and put the game away.
Maryland is back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Charlottesville to take on Virgnia.
Three things to know
It wasn’t pretty, but Maryland found a way to win. Usually, struggling with threes and taking care of the basketball spells disaster on the court. That wasn’t the case for the Terps on Sunday. They did just enough on the defensive end and got points in the paint late to seal the win.
Ieshia Small had a big day. In front of her friends and family, Small had her best game in a Maryland uniform. She had the foul-line jumper working, and was able to attack the basket and get to the foul line. In a game where the Terps struggled from the perimeter, she was the offensive catalyst Maryland needed.
Rebounding is somewhat of a concern. Maryland won the battle on the boards, 44-40, but Miami had 20 offensive rebounds. The Terps got lucky that the Hurricanes struggled to finish second chance opportunities, because better post players will make them pay.