Midway through the third quarter of Maryland women’s basketball game against No. 8 UConn, it was hard not to have flashbacks to the Terps’ recent loss to South Carolina.
Just like on Sunday, No. 20 Maryland started strong before the home team overwhelmed it and brought its fans — this time in the Gampel Pavilion — to a raucous pitch. The Huskies used a second quarter surge to beat No. 20 Maryland, 80-48.
“I thought [UConn] dictated the entire forty minutes,” coach Brenda Frese said.
UConn outscored Maryland 24-4 across the last six minutes of the first half to give the Terps their second straight loss after a 38-point loss to the Gamecocks just days earlier.
The first couple minutes featured sloppy play as both teams combined for six turnovers, four from Maryland (1-2), within the first five minutes.
The Huskies were without junior star Azzi Fudd. UConn (2-1) announced before tipoff that the former No. 1 overall recruit would miss the game with a knee injury.
Still, coach Geno Auriemma had plenty of options to pick from. The Huskies still had Paige Bueckers and Aaliyah Edwards; the duo combined to score 25 of UConn’s first-half points and 36 in the game.
Like in its loss to South Carolina, Maryland focused its attention inside. Frese sent two or three defenders at the talented forward whenever she caught the ball in the paint. It worked early as the Huskies shot under 40 percent in the first quarter.
But the Terps’ dismal offensive output — shooting 22.2 percent with seven turnovers — was not enough to take advantage and they trailed by three at the end of the first frame.
Maryland found some momentum to open the second quarter and even had a three-point lead midway through the quarter. But then, Bueckers and UConn took over.
The Huskies dominated at the end of the first half with an 8-0 run over the final two minutes.
“If I knew how to fix it, it would’ve gotten fixed,” Frese said of the second quarter struggles. “… To me, that’s probably fatigue, we’re not in the kind of shape yet to be able to withstand those runs.”
Bueckers, a former first-team All-American, outmatched her counterpart, Terps guard Shyanne Sellers. The redshirt junior scored 11 second-quarter points on 4-of-5 shooting and had two steals. She finished with a game-high 24 points.
“Paige did what All-Americans do, she put the team on her back and made play after play,” Frese said.
Bueckers controlled the pace of the Huskies attack. She had just two turnovers, consistently finding the next pass to keep the Terps defense scrambling. She only finished with one assist, but had numerous extra passes that fueled UConn’s offense. The guard added six steals and five rebounds.
Sellers meanwhile, finished with just a team-high 16 points on 4-of-13 shooting in a frustrating effort.
“I just can’t have eight turnovers for my team,” Sellers said.
Maryland trailed 27-42 at the break and UConn only increased that margin in the second half. The Terps lost the third quarter by six points and the fourth by 11, creating a similarly large gap in final scores to the Gamecocks’ loss.
Maryland teams are now 8-19 against top 10 ranked nonconference opponents under Frese.
Its schedule doesn’t feature another team in the top ten until Jan. 17 against Ohio State. Maryland will face Syracuse in College Park on Sunday.