The Terps’ shooting struggles began almost immediately on Thursday. Maryland missed its first three shots before a three-point jumper from Jakia Brown-Turner finally found the basket. The Terps were off the mark four more times before Lavender Briggs made her team’s second field goal of the night.
Maryland made just two more baskets in the first quarter and couldn’t consistently score in Storrs. A combination of poor shooting and turnover hindered No. 20 Maryland women’s basketball’s offense throughout an 80-48 loss to No. 8 UConn.
“[UConn’s] defense was sensational, they contested every shot, they pushed every catch out, they got a ton of deflections, they dug every dribble, they were able to turn us over,” Frese said. “Absolutely, they dictated on the defensive end.”
Maryland has struggled on both sides of the ball during its first two ranked matchups of the season. On Sunday, it gave up a program-record 114 points against South Carolina. On Thursday, it scored its fewest points in a game in more than a decade — the Terps last scored 48 points or less in a 63-48 loss to the Huskies in 2012.
Maryland finished the game shooting 25.9 percent from the field, its worst field goal percentage since 2010, when the Terps shot just 17.5 percent against Georgetown, according to Her Hoop Stats.
UConn’s nine blocked shots contributed to Maryland’s difficulty finding the basket. The Terps missed nine straight shots across a six-and-a-half minute stretch spanning the end of the second and start of third quarter, surrendering a five-point lead that resulted in a double-digit deficit before Maryland made its next shot.
The Terps finished the game with just 15 made field goals on 58 attempts. Their worst performance occurred in the third quarter, when they allowed a 10-1 run from UConn and scored just nine points on 14.3 percent shooting.
Frese’s team entered the game shooting 47.8 percent from the field and committing 16.5 turnovers per game in the opening week of the season, but fared far worse in both categories against coach Geno Auriemma’s team. Maryland finished with a total of 27 turnovers and its worst shooting performance in 13 years.
The Terps had only given up 27 or more miscues six times since 2009 entering Thursday’s contest, per Her Hoop Stats. Shyanne Sellers lost control of the ball eight times, the highest turnover total of her career. The junior said the Huskies’ aggressiveness contributed to those turnovers.
“Obviously, with those responsibilities, she’s got to value the basketball,” Frese said. “The last two games have been very uncharacteristic of her from an assist-to-turnover ratio as your top point guard.”
More than half of Maryland’s turnovers came from UConn steals. Brown-Turner lost control of the ball in the second quarter and Paige Bueckers was there to scoop it up. She took the ball all the way down the court for a layup, two of UConn’s 29 points off turnovers. Bueckers finished with six of the Huskies’ 16 steals.
“Every game is a lesson. I feel like this was just another; it’s still early, and I feel like we have time to get it right,” Jakia Brown-Turner said. “I feel like we just need to work on defense, rebounding, scoring the basketball.”