Welcome to The Diamondback Sports Digest. Every week, we send you a rundown of the latest Maryland athletics news.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark came to College Park with the usual hype that follows her. Saturday’s sold-out Xfinity Center crowd boasted more Hawkeyes fans than you’d expect to see more than 800 miles from Iowa City. Sure, many attendees were cheering on the Terps, but many were also there to witness Clark’s brilliance.

In this newsletter, we’ll get into Clark’s performance and where the tight loss leaves Maryland women’s basketball. We’ll also discuss Maryland men’s lacrosse’s thrilling season opener, Maryland men’s basketball’s dwindling NCAA tournament hopes and more.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark smiles during Maryland women’s basketball’s 93-85 loss to the Hawkeyes on Feb. 3, 2024. (Rohan Pandit/The Diamondback)

Caitlin Clark stuns in Maryland women’s basketball’s loss

Each of Clark’s three-point attempts felt like a self-imposed challenge — her trying to determine the maximum distance from the hoop and minimal space from a defender she needed before firing away. 

Clark made seven 3-pointers, none more exhilarating than a first quarter shot from the Gary Williams signature on the Xfinity Center court. She scored 38 points and sent Maryland women’s basketball to a 93-85 loss. 

The Terps, to their credit and to the crowd’s delight, matched the No. 3 Hawkeyes. Brenda Frese’s team made two distinct runs to enter the final minutes with a chance to win. But Clark and Iowa’s offensive rebounding proved too much. Women’s basketball reporter Sam Jane has your game recap.

Maryland’s fourth straight loss comes days after a defeat to No. 10 Indiana. Women’s basketball reporter Olivia Janik wrote about how the two losses and the Terps’ poor regular season standing reflects their waning status in the Big Ten.

Braden Erksa takes a shot during Maryland men’s lacrosse’s 14-9 win over Johns Hopkins on May 4, 2023. (Riley Sims/The Diamondback)

Maryland men’s lacrosse starts season with a thriller

Last year was a disappointment for coach John Tillman and No. 6 Maryland men’s lacrosse. The perennial national title contenders failed to win an NCAA tournament game for the first time in a decade.

As Tillman’s squad looked to rebound, the coach reminisced on a 2013 trip to Tuscaloosa to learn from legendary college football coach Nick Saban. Men’s lacrosse reporter Brandon Schwartzberg wrote about what Saban taught Tillman, how the Terps’ coach is applying those lessons and how the 2024 team is trying to fight complacency.

The Terps started their season against No. 20 Richmond in a back-and-forth affair that took two overtime periods to decide. Logan McNaney, in his first game back from an ACL tear early last year, made 13 saves and Owen Murphy scored his lone goal in the extra session to send the Terps home with a 12-11 win.

Jahmir Young drives during Maryland men’s basketball’s 61-59 loss to Michigan State on Jan. 21, 2024. (Rohan Pandit/The Diamondback)

Maryland men’s basketball misses chance to boost resume

Kevin Willard’s second season at the Terps’ helm continues to hurtle toward a disappointing end. A 4-2 stretch briefly rekindled hopes of making the NCAA tournament. A win over Michigan State on Saturday would’ve boosted Maryland’s case to be in the final field of 68.

The Terps looked like they could seize a crucial road victory, as Jahmir Young scored two of his 31 points with about seven minutes left to take a one-point lead. But Maryland crumbled from there. Michigan State scored 12 unanswered points in the Terps’ 63-54 loss. 

Non-Young Terps scored 23 points and made just eight field goals in an ugly offensive performance. Men’s basketball reporter Eli Cohen has your game recap.

The loss halted some of Maryland’s momentum. Before the Michigan State game, men’s basketball reporter Nicky Wolcott wrote about how the Terps had discovered their identity. While Maryland’s defense slowed Michigan State Saturday, a sluggish early season and continued offensive struggles may have left Willard’s team without any margin for error.

Best Bits

  • Maryland gymnastics lost to No. 12 Ohio State on Sunday, 196.625-195.800. Gymnastics reporter Lea Glaser has your meet recap.
  • Entering its last three conference matches, Maryland wrestling had to address its holes at 125 and 165 pounds. Wrestling reporter Michael Stamatos explored the Terps’ options.
  • Uneven bars, Maryland gymnastics’ worst event, has still seen positive signs of improvement. Alexa Rothenbuescher competed in the event for the first time against Minnesota last Saturday.
  • The Terps’ most reliable gymnast in that event, Sierra Kondo, has seen her scores steadily increase. Lea spoke with Kondo and coach Brett Nelligan about how mental notes have helped the junior.

Quote of the week

“What you’re seeing now is Donta [Scott] is very comfortable,” Kevin Willard said. “He’s playing at a high level, both offensively and defensively, because he’s much more comfortable in what he’s doing. He’s playing much better — so that’s a long answer [for] I screwed him up earlier.”

Stat of the week

Iowa and Indiana’s wins at Xfinity Center were their first-ever road victories over Maryland women’s basketball.