Diamond Miller lunged toward the basket for a layup, making the basket while drawing the foul from Notre Dame’s Lauren Ebo, the latter’s fourth of the game.
Ebo joined teammate Kylee Watson, who collected her fourth foul minutes earlier, on the bench late in the third quarter, while Miller made her free throw to strengthen her team’s lead.
The Terps took advantage of the Fighting Irish’s foul trouble. With two 6-foot-4 Notre Dame post players sitting out, Maryland exploited a weakened defense to launch a 17-1 run that turned a tie game into a decisive Terp victory.
Maryland women’s basketball advanced to its first Elite Eight since 2015, beating Notre Dame 76-59 with a decisive second half spurred on by Miller and Shyanne Sellers, who each had 18 points. The Terps will face the winner of South Carolina and UCLA for a spot in the Final Four.
“It’s going to be [a run] that we don’t want to end,” coach Brenda Frese said. “… I was reflecting on it today … what I felt like a year ago and to where we are today. This one is going to be one I’ll remember for a really long time.”
Maryland turned steals into scores on their first two field goals of the game to take an early 5-0 lead.
The Fighting Irish were without guard Olivia Miles, whose season ended with a knee injury, leaving them without a point guard and giving the Terps an advantage.
Coach Brenda Frese’s squad used a full-court press to force eight first-quarter turnovers.
“We want them to feel that pressure so making them feel uncomfortable is kind of what we tried to do and that’s what we did,” Sellers said. “We knew they were a little bit … on their heels without a point guard.”
But Notre Dame stayed close through the first quarter. Its size in the paint — Ebo, Watson and 6-foot-3 Maddy Westbeld — helped it score 12 points in the paint and exit the quarter down just 16-14.
In the second quarter, it was the Terps’ offense that looked discombobulated. They started the second quarter just 1-for-6 and committed five turnovers.
Maryland failed to score for over six minutes and allowed a 13-0 Notre Dame run that put the Fighting Irish up eight, their largest of the game.
But the Terps mounted a comeback with increased production from Miller, who went scoreless in the first quarter. She notched a three-pointer, a free throw and an assist in the last three minutes of the frame, one that ended with Notre Dame up 32-31.
While Miller spearheaded Maryland’s late run in the second quarter, Sellers finally found her rhythm in the third after just two points in the first half.
She started the second half by weaving through Notre Dame defenders and lobbing the ball into the basket while drawing a foul. She made the ensuing free throw to secure the three-point play.
Sellers finished the third with nine points, shooting 3-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line.
The quarter started with Maryland down one but ended with it up 12.
The Terps cemented their lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter with strong defense, holding the Fighting Irish to just four points in the first six minutes of the quarter to crush their hopes of a comeback and advance.
“Just to know that we’re making history right now it’s amazing,” Miller said, “and we’re not done yet.”