After the most decorated program in college basketball cut the lead to four late in the fourth quarter, Diamond Miller found herself unmarked at the top of the 3-point arc. She caught a pass, calmly knocked down a three and then held her follow-through.
The basket sealed No. 20 Maryland women’s basketball’s first victory in eight tries over No. 6 Connecticut in program history, an 85-78 win in front of a raucous, 12,566-person crowd at XFINITY Center Sunday afternoon.
“Just a really incredible, special win, like I told them in the locker room,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I’ve done a lot of firsts here, but [this is] the first time being able to have a team beat UConn, will definitely remember win 601.”
Both sides were missing parts of their rotation Sunday. Maryland (9-3) was without sophomore forward Emma Chardon and freshman guards Ava Sciolla and Mila Reynolds.
Meanwhile, UConn (7-2) played with just seven players due to a litany of injuries. Along with star guards Paige Bueckers (knee) and Azzi Fudd (knee), Nika Mühl (concussion), Dorka Juhasz (thumb) and Ice Brady (knee) watched from the bench. Aaliyah Edwards, who finished with a game-high 25 points and a career-high seven assists, played with a face mask after breaking her nose earlier in the season.
“No one feels sorry for us,” Frese said of her limited bench. “You have to step up and play the next game. I love the fact that we approached this game just ready to compete and ready to do everything in our power to win.”
The Huskies were sloppy with the ball early, committing four turnovers in the match’s first three minutes. They had seven first-quarter turnovers and finished with 22 compared to the Terps’ five.
The away side didn’t make a substitution in the first quarter but switched things up when graduate Lou Lopez Senechal picked up her third foul at the beginning of the second quarter.
Miller started the contest 0-for-7 from the field, with her two first-half points coming from the free-throw line. But she notched her first field goal 30 seconds into the third quarter and finished with 17 points.
Even without Miller’s offense, the Terps outscored the Huskies 28-17 in the second quarter. They were led by 16 points in the frame from Abby Meyers, who played all 40 minutes.
The Potomac native missed just one of her seven shot attempts and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the three-point line in the second as the home side took a 43-36 lead into halftime. Meyers, who returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench Thursday versus Purdue, led the Terps with 20 points.
“I just appreciate my teammates looking for me in transition,” Meyers said. “I’m gonna keep running and keep running wide andlooking for the open shot.”
UConn came out strong in the second half, scoring 10 unanswered points late in the third. Maryland went 0-for-6 from the field and failed to score for over three minutes, which saw the Huskies cut the lead to two.
After draining a buzzer-beater three against Purdue, sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers was again dangerous from behind the arc. The Ohio native scored 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including two three-point makes.
“Taking the right shots and just being confident is key,” Sellers said, “and just making sure I can make those shots.”
A Lopez Senechal three cut the lead to four, but on the ensuing play, the Huskies left Miller open outside the arc, and the New Jersey native buried a three to put her side up seven — a lead they carried till the final buzzer to secure the momentous win.
“They made some big, big shots late in the game that were a big difference in the outcome,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. “Those shots don’t go in, maybe it’s different, but credit them, they made some good shots.”
The Huskies pounded the paint — besting Maryland 46-16 inside. They also won the rebounding battle, 46-24. But the Terps used precision three-point shooting to feed their offense, making 40 percent of their long-range attempts and making four times as many as the Huskies.
Maryland’s 85 points are the most it has ever scored against UConn and the most the Huskies have given up this season.