More than seven months after South Carolina ended Maryland women’s basketball’s 2023 March Madness run, the No. 6 Gamecocks and the No. 14 Terps met again Sunday in the first week of the 2023-24 season.
The game went much like the last four between the two sides — Maryland lost to South Carolina, 114-76. The Gamecocks broke a program record for points against a ranked opponent, per the team.
The 38-point loss marked Maryland’s first time allowing more than 100 points and its biggest margin of defeat since Her Hoop Stats began tracking such data in the 2009-10 season.
“Their depth just really wore us out by the time we got to the end of that second quarter,” coach Brenda Frese said.
The Terps could suffer a tough start to the season with another ranked matchup against No. 2 UConn on Thursday. They could be without star point guard Shyanne Sellers, who exited Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter due to injury.
After the game, Sellers said she was “feeling good” but would rest tomorrow and re-evaluate then.
The opening frame began with both sides’ aggressive defenses, forcing seven combined turnovers. Neither team reached double-digit points until nearly seven minutes had passed.
Maryland held South Carolina without a point for more than three minutes, but Gamecocks freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley entered the game and quickly ended it with an and-one layup.
The teams traded baskets to end the quarter tied at 16.
In the second quarter, the Terps’ strong three-point shooting helped them take multiple leads. Their first fifteen points of the frame all came from behind the arc and they shot 5-of-8.
Maryland finished the game 10-of-22 from behind the arc.
But the Gamecocks responded with long-range volleys of their own, taxing a Maryland zone that focused on limiting points inside. They also punished the Terps by turning turnovers into points.
Tessa Johnson grabbed the ball from Shyanne Sellers and passed it to Te-Hina Paopao who made a three-pointer to give South Carolina a 37-32 lead.
The Gamecocks were able to execute off Terp turnovers, scoring 23 points off 15 miscues from their opponents.
“Any turnover when you’re playing an away game, you lose a lot of momentum,” Sellers said. “… We made turnover after turnover, and that shifts the momentum. Instead of walking in tied at halftime, we’re walking down 12.”
The Terps, trying to slow down the Gamecocks resurgent offense, committed seven fouls in the second quarter. South Carolina used a 9-0 run in the final minute of the second quarter to exit the first half with a 48-36 cushion.
After winning the rebounding battle by one in the first quarter, Maryland faltered in the second frame. It had just seven rebounds compared to South Carolina’s 15.
The best offensive-rebounding team in the country last season did not let up against the Terps. The Gamecocks collected 19 of their missed shots and turned them into 28 second-chance points.
Maryland also gave up 25 offensive rebounds to Harvard in its season opener.
After a scoreless first half, Brinae Alexander erupted in the third quarter, scoring eight points in less than two minutes.
But Alexander was the only Terp able to score in the first four and a half minutes of the second half, a stretch where the Gamecocks grew their lead to 19.
South Carolina maintained its lead throughout the third and fourth quarters and finished the game with seven scorers in double figures.
“Honestly we just beat ourselves,” Jakia Brown-Turner said. “I think we just need to control what we can control and you know turning the ball over leads to easy buckets. We will work on that.”