Entering the fourth quarter, No. 19 Maryland women’s basketball held a slim 53-47 lead against No. 17 Baylor as both teams hoped to record their first ranked win of the season.
The Bears outscored the Terps by four in the third quarter, but Maryland wasn’t ready to give up its lead.
A steal from Diamond Miller let to an Abby Meyers three-pointer.
Seconds later, Meyers grabbed a defensive rebound and launched the ball down the court into the arms of Elisa Pinzan, who made another three-point shot.
Another jumper from Meyers gave her squad its largest lead yet, a 14-point cushion built off a 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
The sequence showcased the type of offensive composure Maryland kept to overcome Baylor. Despite multiple runs from the Bears, the Terps never lost focus and found multiple ways to keep scoring.
“You have to have a resilient team to win games,” coach Brenda Frese said.
Maryland’s offense flowed in the second quarter. It alternated between passing the ball between multiple players and pushing the pace with fastbreaks to keep Baylor’s defense on its toes.
[Diamond Miller scores career-high 32 as Maryland women’s basketball defeats Baylor, 73-68]
The Terps shot 10-15 on field goal attempts and 2-4 from three-point range. Their 24 points in the quarter helped them enter halftime with a 10-point lead.
“I loved our poise and our composure out of that to take the lead at halftime,” Frese said.
The Bears couldn’t keep up — they shot just 19 percent and went 0-10 from beyond the three-point arc in the second quarter.
Maryland’s 36 first-half points marked its best performance in the opening 20 minutes since its opening game against George Mason. But Baylor came back with a 7-0 scoring run at the beginning of the third quarter to slice Maryland’s lead to three, forcing Frese called a timeout to reassess.
When facing runs, the Terps tell each other to stay composed, Meyers said postgame.
“For us, it’s just trusting the process trusting you know what we’ve been working on in the offseason for these big moments,” she said.
The Bears tied the game at 40, but the Terps kept their cool and got the ball moving. Maryland had 16 assists on 26 made field goals against Baylor. Six came from Pinzan, four from Meyers and three from Miller.
[Maryland women’s basketball overcomes turnovers to coast past Davidson, 70-52]
“When you see us on offense, and we’re moving the ball, and multiple passes are happening, you know great things are in store for us,” Frese said on Nov. 18.
The Terps also showed resilience on the court with a season-high 14 offensive rebounds that led to 13 second-chance points. After struggling Wednesday with just a season-low eight offensive rebounds against Davidson, Frese’s team improved its offensive hustle.
Rebounds and free throws helped the Terps overcome the moments where they played sloppily and gave the ball away, Frese said. Finding another avenue to regain possession kept them from faltering after turning the ball over too much early in the game.
Maryland pulled ahead late in the game thanks to free throws. Eight from Miller, including five in the last three minutes of the game, made the difference. The Terps shot 81.3 percent from the free-throw line compared to the Bears’ 54.5 percent, a margin that proved pivotal.
“I love to be able to see the response,” Frese said. “Where we didn’t even flinch with a lot of the runs and just late game, the confidence to step up and make free throws … saw a lot of great things.”