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

Men’s basketball continues to flounder, while women’s basketball is in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for just the third time in coach Brenda Frese’s tenure. But fear not, Terps fans: spring sports are underway to save us from this slog of basketball season.

In this week’s newsletter, we’ll look at men’s lacrosse’s 2-0 start, where men’s and women’s basketball stand as March approaches, season opening wins for two more spring teams and more.

Maryland men’s lacrosse remains unbeaten

Logan McNaney holds the ball during Maryland men’s lacrosse’s 11-4 win over Loyola on Feb. 10, 2024. (Akash Raghu/The Diamondback)

The last time the Terps played Loyola, goaltender Logan McNaney tore his ACL and Maryland suffered its first loss of a season that ultimately spiraled. The Terps were ready for Saturday’s rematch.

“Last year, they beat us up pretty good,” coach John Tillman said. “We were definitely on guard.”

No. 4 Maryland won, 11-4, in a battle of two inefficient offenses and stellar goalkeeping. McNaney, now healthy, saved 75 percent of the shots he faced, the fifth time he met that mark in his career. But the Terps found the back of the net on just 23 percent of their shot attempts, a rate Tillman hopes improves as the season continues. 

Ajax Zappitello and Luke Wierman are two other veterans anchoring Maryland. Zappitello is wearing the No. 1 jersey, an honor given to a team leader and worn last year by Brett Makar. Wierman set the program’s all-time faceoff wins record in the Terps’ season-opening win over Richmond.

A winless week for Maryland men’s basketball

Julian Reese drives during Maryland men’s basketball’s 56-53 loss to Rutgers on Feb. 6, 2024. (Eric Robinson/The Diamondback)

If Julian Reese or Donta Scott connected on any of their six combined missed free throws in the final seconds of regulation and overtime Saturday, Maryland might have secured a nice road win to keep its dim postseason hopes alive. But each clank and rattle off the rim worsened those chances. The Terps let another potential resume-booster slip away in a 79-75 double-overtime loss at Ohio State.

Maryland dropped both of its games last week, the first a 56-53 defeat against Rutgers at home in a game where its stars were inefficient and ineffective.

The Terps’ tournament hopes are all but gone. For the second time in the last three years, they’ll be absent from March barring a miracle late-season run.

Maryland women’s basketball strengthens its tournament resume

Jakia Brown-Turner holds the ball in Maryland women’s basketball’s 87-73 loss to Indiana on Jan 31, 2024. (Jordan Budney/The Diamondback)

Maryland won both its games last week. It beat Rutgers, 67-59, and took down Illinois on Sunday, 69-53 to provide much-needed separation from the Big Ten’s basement.

The Terps were slow to get going in Sunday’s win, but used a dominant fourth quarter to pull away.

Maryland is squarely on the bubble, but there’s recent precedent of Big Ten teams with records similar to Maryland’s receiving bids. This week, women’s basketball reporter Sam Jane laid out Maryland’s postseason path.

Best bits

Stat of the week

Historically, Big Ten women’s basketball teams on the bubble have needed nine conference wins to get into the NCAA Tournament. Maryland is three shy of that mark with five regular season games left.

Games to watch

Maryland baseball opens its season at Georgia Southern on Friday at 6:30 p.m., then returns to action Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. New head coach Matt Swope will look to show off his revamped roster for the first time.