Abby Meyers cramped up late in No. 7 Maryland women’s basketball’s matchup against No. 16 Ohio State Saturday. She rushed up to defend and heard teammate Brinae Alexander remind her to keep her head in the game.
“[Alexander] was like, ‘I don’t care, find your man and guard her,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, you’re right, you’re right,’” Meyers said.
The Terps were trying to preserve a one-possession lead against the Buckeyes and finish the regular season win. They did so through a flurry of timeouts and play reviews, staying composed and confident in a close matchup in the final minutes.
In the final 100 seconds of the contest, there were two timeouts, three possession reviews and a review of a Shyanne Sellers foul, all while Maryland clung to a one-point lead.
Terps’ coach Brenda Frese used each review to regroup her team and get a message across.
“We were just continuing to coach them,” Frese said. “Those delays … gave us more time to really get the break that we wanted to get.”
The series of starts and stops began with referees calling an offensive foul on Sellers for charging. The call stood, taking away a Maryland opportunity to extend its one-point lead and instead giving Ohio State a chance.
But the Terps kept the Buckeyes from scoring, a feat Frese credited to the team’s growth on defense.
“They’ve gained so much confidence defensively,” she said. “When we needed to get some of those late game stops, we were able to get it.”
The Buckeyes were at home and celebrated their senior night in front of a strong crowd, but it didn’t matter. The Terps kept them scoreless for the final two-and-a-half minutes of the game and without a field goal for the final three minutes.
Ohio State made a desperate attempt to secure the ball with less than 30 seconds remaining on the clock. Cotie McMahon attempted to steal the ball away from Diamond Miller on an inbound pass, but the ball bounced out of bounds after hitting off of McMahon’s shin. Again, the officials paused this time to deliberate on who had possession.
They ruled in Maryland’s favor and Alexander went to inbound the ball. Taylor Thierry stole the ball for the Buckeyes, but her success was short-lived. Referees determined she stepped out of bounds and handed the ball back to the Terps once again.
“We’re really good at staying locked in,” Alexander said. “I think we keep our composure, and we’re really poised.”
Maryland scored on the ensuing possession with a free throw from Meyers that gave it a two-point lead with 11 seconds remaining.
Ohio State had 4.7 seconds to tie the game. When Thierry got the ball, Maryland hounded her, forcing her to use precious seconds dribbling the ball around. Her eventual shot bounced off of the backboard and to McMahon — who put it through the net — but it was too late as the final buzzer echoed throughout the arena.
“We were able to win by a little bit, and that’s all that matters,” Meyers said. “We made one more basket than them.”