BRIDGEPORT, Conn.—With one lackluster performance, Maryland women’s basketball season is over.
The No. 3-seed Terps fell to No. 10-seed Oregon, 77-63, in the Sweet 16 Saturday. Before Maryland could get its shot at UConn in the next round, the Ducks put those plans to rest.
Maryland came out flat, which wasn’t that strange, but for the first time all season, the Terps stayed that way for 40 minutes. Jumpers didn’t fall, so they tried to force the ball inside and turned it over. Maryland didn't sink a single three-pointer in six attempts, while committing 21 turnovers.
Brionna Jones’ 16 points were enough to make her the school’s single-season record scorer, but not enough for the win. The near-70 percent shooter was 8-of-16 from the floor.
Fellow senior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough closed her career with a 6-of-18, 16-point performance. She looked rattled by the moment early, and her run of six straight points in the fourth quarter couldn’t erase that.
Maryland's two freshman starters, Destiny Slocum and Kaila Charles, combined for 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Oregon's rookies, by contrast, didn’t look fazed by anything. Sabrina Ionescu had 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Ruthy Hebard notched 16 points and eight boards. Oregon made 6 of 15 threes and 15 of 16 free throws.
The Ducks led 17-16 after a back-and-forth opening period that featured 10 lead changes and no advantage larger than three points. After three scoreless minutes, both teams started to pick things up offensively, although Maryland didn’t knock down a jumper in the first quarter.
The Terps’ shooting woes continued in the second quarter, and the turnovers piled up as well. Maryland had nine giveaways in the frame and Oregon extended its lead to nine points by halftime. Ionescu nailed three triples in the quarter and entered the locker room with 11 points. Jones had 12 for Maryland, but the Ducks’ lead was 36-27.
Maryland slashed the margin to three points on a Slocum layup early in the third, but Oregon responded and brought the lead all the way up to 14. The Terps cut it to 59-47 at the end of the period, but still entered the fourth needing a drastic turnaround.
That never happened.
Halfway through the final frame, Oregon still led by 14. But an 8-0 Maryland run, including six straight points from Walker-Kimbrough, cut it to 69-63 with 3:19 remaining. That was as close as they’d get, as the Ducks closed on an 8-0 run of their own to seal the upset.
Three things to know
1. The Terps disappeared at the worst possible time. Maryland was one game away from another shot at UConn, but couldn’t take care of business against the Ducks. When the jumpers weren’t falling, the Terps stopped attempting them, and so many attempts to feed the ball inside were sniffed out. This tournament run did last longer than that of a season ago, but the ending is just as bitter.
2. Brionna Jones officially has Maryland’s best scoring season ever. The senior entered Saturday five points shy of Vicky Bullet’s single-season record of 686 from 1989, and eclipsed the milestone on a putback late in the first quarter. Walker-Kimbrough would have broken this record last year had the Terps advanced this far in the tournament, but Jones has it now. She also finishes two rebounds shy of Alyssa Thomas’ 381 from 2014.
3. The seniors’ run in College Park is over. Jones and Walker-Kimbrough gave Maryland four stupendous years, reaching two Final Fours and making history along the way. The pair finished with 125 wins together, one shy of Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver for the most in program history. Maryland returns plenty of talent for next season, but these two will be sorely missed.