The day before Maryland women’s basketball’s game against No. 18 Ohio State, coach Brenda Frese brought up her team’s third-quarter performance as an area where her team had lagged this season.
Her words proved prophetic against the Buckeyes. The Terps led by two at the half but shot just 28 percent from the floor in the third frame. That, paired with an extremely poor defensive rebounding effort in the final five minutes sealed Maryland’s 84-76 loss on Wednesday in College Park.
“It’s very draining, just scrambling … we’re doing good on defense and then when they get a rebound, we’ve got to scramble again,” McDaniel said.
The Terps are now 0-4 against ranked opponents.
Star guard Shyanne Sellers went 1-of-5 from the field in the quarter and struggled throughout the game with just 12 points. The Terps were outscored by 10 in the second half, the bulk of which came in the fourth quarter.
In the final frame, Ohio State used its speed to crash the offensive glass. The Buckeyes had eight offensive rebounds and gained multiple second-chance and even third-chance opportunities in the game’s waning moments.
The Terps started poorly, turning it over on their first three possessions and allowing multiple wide-open threes. But Ohio State features few perimeter options other than Jacy Sheldon. The Buckeyes entered the game only shooting 34.7 percent from deep as a team. Starters Cotie McMahon and Celeste Taylor entered shooting at under 30 percent.
Maryland funneled open looks to those non-shooting options with its 2-3 zone. The strategy paid dividends. Ohio State took 10 threes and only converted on two of them in the first quarter.
That poor shooting kept the Terps in the game despite their seven first-quarter turnovers.
McGuff has made his press defense a staple in Columbus — the Buckeyes entered the game with the most forced turnovers in the Big Ten — and it threw Maryland off its rhythm early.
“The roster, it’s not changing, like you said. They’re gonna have to play through fatigue,” Frese said.
But Faith Masonius and Shyanne Sellers also exploited the trap a couple times to get easy runout buckets. Maryland scored 17 fastbreak points on the night.
Maryland’s starting wings also continued their strong play.
Bri McDaniel, coming off setting career-highs in scoring in consecutive games, finished the half with 13 points and four assists. Transfer Jakia Brown-Turner, who has struggled to play efficient basketball at points this year, scored 10 points in the first half on 5-of-9 shooting.
The two teams boast similar offensive profiles and that showed. The Terps led 39-37 at the end of the half but struggled from there.
Ohio State had a balanced attack. All ten players who logged minutes scored. Taylor Thierry scored 11 of her 17 points in the second half.
But Maryland’s biggest failure was its inability to get a defensive rebound late. Frese left forwards Allie Kubek and Faith Masonius, two strong rebounders, on the bench for most of the second half. The Terps gave up eight offensive rebounds in the final frame.
The loss snapped the Terps’ 19-game home winning streak and marked a missed opportunity to buoy their tournament resume with a marquee win.