Maryland eyed its first lead of the game late in the third quarter, and a Green Bay missed basket gave it a chance to find it. Shyanne Sellers passed to Riley Nelson with the Terps down one, and Nelson’s jumper put them ahead for the first time.
Maryland women’s basketball surged in the second half to beat Green Bay, 68-59, Friday afternoon in the second game of the Cancun Challenge to rebound from a 20-point loss to No. 23 Washington State on Thursday.
A career-high 19 points from Bri McDaniel, a double-double from Jakia-Brown Turner and a bounce-back performance from Sellers powered the Terps in their third victory of the season.
“We know that we’re a good team. We just have to use our strengths to our advantage,” McDaniel said. “We know that we’re fast, we like to get by in transition, just sprinting up the floor, running our lanes and flashing middle when we see there was an opening.”
Thursday’s shooting difficulties carried over to the first quarter against the Phoenix as the Terps (3-3) missed their first seven field goal attempts. McDaniel finally put her team on the board with a steal and layup more than three minutes into the competition.
But the team’s trouble finding the basket did not disappear. Maryland continued to miss throughout the first frame, making just four of its 20 attempts. The Terps finished the opening quarter down 17-11.
Maryland shot 46.2 percent in the second quarter after connecting on just 20 percent of its attempts in the first — its best mark since the first quarter of Thursday’s game — but failed to find as many opportunities.
Frese’s team leaned on rebounds and free throws to keep itself in Friday’s game. In the first half, the Terps outrebounded the Phoenix 29-15, secured 16 offensive rebounds and shot nine-for-11 from the free-throw line.
Maryland finished the first half trailing by one after falling behind by as many as eight.
“I thought we were a little more resilient when we would make mistakes,” Frese said. “If our shots weren’t falling, I thought we had a better response going back on [the] defensive end, I thought our communication was better.”
But the Terps struggled to build off that encouraging second quarter. They missed six straight attempts to open the third quarter, allowing the Phoenix (3-2) to grow their lead back to six. Brinae Alexander gave Maryland a boost with its first 3-pointer of the game, but she was called for her fourth foul shortly after and was forced to sit.
Sellers, who started the game quietly, found her rhythm and added seven points in the third quarter. She paved the way for Nelson to give the Terps their first game lead with an assist on the buzzer-beating jumper.
After starting the final quarter ahead by one, Maryland surged to its largest lead of the game with two free throws and two made jumpers. Green Bay pulled within one in the game’s final minutes, but foul trouble prevented a complete comeback and gave the Terps a win in their second game of the Cancun Challenge.
“We’re just continuing to keep building that chemistry, but love the fact that we’re able to stay resilient and pull it out down the stretch,” Frese said.