With its lead down to just three points, Maryland needed a basket. Shyanne Sellers attempted a mid-range jumper, but when she fell short, Allie Kubek was there. Kubek scrabbled for the ball as it fell to the floor and made a layup, giving the Terps a five-point lead in the fourth quarter.
No. 20 Maryland women’s basketball rebounded from back-to-back defeats to No. 1 South Carolina and No. 8 UConn to snap its losing skid with a dominant fourth quarter run against Syracuse on Sunday. The Terps outscored the Orange by three in the final frame, and it was all they needed in a 83-81 win.
Kubek scored 23 points off the bench and added eight rebounds, her most as a Terp, while Sellers finished with 19 points and eight rebounds.
“Allie is super vital for us,” Sellers said. “Having another big off the bench is huge. Obviously, being able to come off an ACL injury and shoot 10-14 from the field, play 30 minutes, I think is huge and she’ll be good for us in the long run.”
After committing 27 turnovers against the Huskies, the Terps committed three early turnovers against the Orange that put Maryland in a four-point deficit.
Bri McDaniel’s entrance shifted the momentum. McDaniel dove to the ground for a loose ball, resulting in a held ball call that gave the Terps possession and allowed Lavender Briggs to score. McDaniel kept the energy up on defense. She forced a bad shot then gave her team the lead with a jumper and a trip to the free throw line.
Maryland finished the first quarter up 24-18 but let Syracuse take a two-point lead after failing to find the basket for more than five minutes in the second. A Briggs layup finally ended the drought, but the Terps’ struggles continued as they entered halftime down four.
Coach Brenda Frese’s team drew a number of Syaracuse fouls — Maryland made all nine of its first-half free throw attempts. Coach Felisha Legette-Jack’s team averaged eight fouls in their first three games, the least of any Division I team, per Her Hoop Stats. But in the first 20 minutes Sunday, the Orange committed 10 infractions.
“I thought we were hard to guard, especially in the second half,” Frese said. “Off the bounce, we were really getting to the free throw line.”
Maryland deployed a full-court press to fluster Syracuse in the third quarter. The aggressive defense led to an Orange turnover and an Allie Kubek game-tying layup. She added another layup moments later to give her team its first lead of the second half.
Syracuse continued to draw whistles in the third frame, putting Maryland in the bonus with more than five minutes remaining. The Terps shot 11 free throws in the third quarter. Fouls also forced Legette-Jack to rest her second and third-best scorers in the second half.
The Orange used their 3-point shooting to overcome that foul disparity, making four in the third quarter to jump to a seven-point lead. Once again, McDaniel came off the bench and steadied her team with two assists, a steal and a defensive rebound.
“I’m known for my energy,” McDaniel said. “Just coming out, bringing the energy every day like they tell me to.”
Maryland entered the final frame down a point but quickly found its largest lead since the second quarter with an 8-0 run. Syracuse failed to make a field goal for nearly five minutes. The Orange eventually found the basket and closed their deficit to two in the final minute of the game, but Maryland’s aggressive defense held strong to get the Terps their first win in nearly two weeks.