With one minute and 26 seconds remaining in the third quarter, George Mason tied Maryland at 54 apiece after Zahirah Walton’s free throw.
When Walton’s second attempt missed, Shyanne Sellers corralled the rebound and went to work on offense. She drove toward the basket and hoisted a shot over the arms of a Patriots defender and into the basket, returning the lead to the Terps.
Seconds later, she bolstered Maryland’s lead with a buzzer-beating layup to send her team into the final frame ahead by four points.
Maryland women’s basketball didn’t lose its lead after Sellers’ score and ultimately beat George Mason, 86-77, thanks to the point guard’s career game.
After a slow start in the first half, Sellers’ mid-game adjustments pushed her to new career highs in points and rebounds with 28 and 13, respectively. She scored 19 points in the second half, helping her team go from trailing by nine at the half to winning by nine.
Sunday was her fourth game this season with 20 or more points and her first double-double this year.
“She put her head down and started being really aggressive, and again, we needed every one of those points,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I mean, she drew 11 fouls and had 13 boards.”
Despite setting new career highs, Sellers started the game “really slow,” Frese said, finishing the first quarter with only three points. The coach wants to see the point guard turn her dominant second half in Sunday’s game into a complete 40-minute effort.
At halftime, Sellers and her teammates discussed how to correct their issues of taking “quick shots” in the opening half. Out of the break, the Terps returned to their game plan of attacking downhill and playing inside out, which allowed Sellers to lean on her growing knowledge of when to be aggressive and when to find her teammates for other opportunities.
After the Terps rebounded a missed shot from the Patriots in the fourth quarter, Sellers launched a full-court pass to Allie Kubek for a fastbreak layup that forced a George Mason timeout.
Other times, Sellers was the aggressor and drove into the paint to score herself. All but one of her eight field goals Sunday were layups.
“I think it was our defensive intensity that led us to start being a little bit more aggressive,” Sellers said. “Being able to get steals to [transition offense] was big for us.”
Looking to grow her team’s lead in the fourth quarter, Sellers became more aggressive by drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line, where she made nine of 11 attempts after shooting 3-for-5 from the line in the first three quarters. Free throws have been a strength for Sellers all season — she led Division I in free throws made and attempted Sunday.
Sellers’ in-game adjustments helped the Terps hand the Patriots their first loss of the season. They also powered one of the best performances of her career.