Abby Meyers stretched her arms in the air, trying to prevent Aliyah Boston from getting open inside the paint. A whistle blew, and a referee charged Meyers with her fourth foul seconds after she collected her third with more than six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Meyers collected her fifth the next quarter and finished her college career by fouling out for the first time this season.
The Princeton transfer wasn’t the only Terp in foul trouble. Faith Masonius was also forced to leave the game while Diamond Miller and Shyanne Sellers finished the game with four each. The plethora of fouls hampered No. 2 seed Maryland women’s basketball’s play, as it fell to No. 1 seed South Carolina 86-75 in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament Monday.
“We were playing physical the entire time, and it was unfortunate that, I guess, I put myself in that situation to have those fouls called against me,” Meyers said. “It’s just frustrating when that happens when you know you try and stay on the court to help the team, but you can only do so much.”
The Elite Eight matchup averaged nearly a foul per minute with the two teams combining for 38 fouls across the 40 minutes. The Terps were responsible for 26 of those infractions, the most they had in a game this season and the most since 2020.
By the end of the first half, Meyers, Masonius, Miller, Sellers and Brinae Alexander had two fouls. Lavender Briggs was the only Terp who played for more than a minute and finished the game without a foul.
Miller and Sellers sat out a majority of the second frame after collecting their second offenses, which made the team play more hesitantly, coach Brenda Frese said.
Without two of their best players on the floor, the Terps were outscored by the Gamecocks, 23-9. South Carolina retook the lead and finished the quarter up 38-30.
“You felt like you were coaching with one arm behind your back,” Frese said. “When they were calling so many of them, you were kind of just juggling who you had on the bench and back and forth, and it kind of felt like that all game.”
The Terps’ nine infractions in the second frame were “costly,” she said. The Gamecocks’ eight free throws were the difference between a tie game and a secure lead heading into halftime.
While Frese attempted to quell her team’s foul struggles by switching between woman-to-woman and zone defenses, calls against Maryland continued in the second half with six in the third quarter and seven in the fourth.
South Carolina was in the bonus for three straight quarters and went to the line 26 times, with 14 of those visits coming in the second quarter alone. It was the most free throw attempts Maryland allowed all year.
Even with their foul struggles, the Terps were proud of their physicality against the reigning champion Gamecocks.
“That just shows that we have heart, we have grit, and just because they’re taller doesn’t mean we can’t bang,” Miller said. “If y’all didn’t see we were banging today, then I don’t know what could show you that.”