Maryland attacker Libby May faced away from the goal. She allowed fellow attacker Chrissy Thomas to move into a passing position before darting toward the cage.

Thomas’ pass hit May’s stick in stride. The graduate student caught the high pass and fired a low shot past James Madison goalie Caitlin Boden. Her third tally came with less than two minutes in the third quarter in the midst of a flurry of Terps’ scores.

In previous games, Maryland women’s lacrosse relied on its defense to close out tight contests. But the offensive unit — which has struggled to convert chances this season — became the catalyst for the Terps’ 11-8 victory over the No. 2 Dukes on Sunday.

A five-goal outburst during the third and fourth quarters gave Maryland its first lead in the second half. The attack scored on five consecutive offensive possessions, and accounted for six of the game’s final eight goals to achieve the Terps’ highest-ranked win this season.

“We had a lot of fast break opportunities, and then second looks as our subs were coming off the box,” coach Cathy Reese said. “I think this is the first game our team really executed that, and that’s great to see.”

[No. 9 Maryland women’s lacrosse halts No. 2 James Madison’s perfect season in 11-8 win]

The run started with midfielder Shaylan Ahearn on an assist from Hailey Russo. Eloise Clevenger put one in a minute later unassisted, courtesy of a second chance opportunity.

Victoria Hensh flashed a shot wide before Clevenger’s strike. Thomas backed up the shot as the ball rolled out of bounds. She was the closest player to the ball when it went out of play, meaning Maryland retained possession. Clevenger scored on the Terps’ next shot.

May’s hat trick-clinching goal to end the third quarter also came by way of another chance, when Russo reached out her stick to keep the ball with the Terps after Hannah Leubecker misfired.

“I think we had a strong third quarter that helped us take the lead, pull the lead, and then we were able to hold onto it from there,” Reese said.

The Terps reaped the benefits of their fast pace to begin the final quarter.

James Madison won the opening draw control, but failed to convert on any of its three shot attempts. The Terps gained control of the ball as Russo crossed the halfway line to complete the Maryland clear while the Dukes retreated.

[Maryland women’s lacrosse is flexible in its free position strategy]

Two passes opened space for Leubecker to occupy. She evaded her defender and caught a pass from Clevenger, whipping a high shot into the net seconds after the Terps’ successful clear. Russo then added her only goal of the game to complete the five Maryland goals in succession.

The run allowed Maryland to keep the momentum for the remainder of the game, May said. She added her fourth, the most she’s scored in a game this season, in the final five minutes to complete the three-goal victory.

Maryland’s shooting numbers are still poor — the Terps shot less than 35 percent for the third time this season. But the stretch of goals in the latter stages against the Dukes shows a glimpse at how clinical and balanced their attack can be.

Five different players scored the last six goals. Maryland has 15 different goal scorers through seven games and ranks inside the top 15 nationally in shots per game. All that’s missing is finding the net, which was on display Sunday.

“We need to put together 60 minutes of it, but you see the positives in it,” Reese said. “That run was huge for us, just putting our foot on the gas and having that confidence, and then not letting up.”