Attacker Eloise Clevenger faced two Princeton defenders. They both raised their sticks to impede her path to the goal. She retreated as no Maryland women’s lacrosse attacker availed themselves to receive a pass.

That’s when midfielder Shannon Smith darted toward the cage and stopped in front of the crease. She caught a feed from Clevenger and placed a shot over Tigers’ goalie Amelia Hughes’ stick.

Princeton’s decision to apply pressure on the Terps’ attackers created open paths to the goal for other offensive players. Maryland exploited that on Wednesday.

Smith’s score was one of the many times a Terp attacker ambushed Princeton’s goal in Maryland’s 16-12 victory. The 16-goal offensive outburst — tied for the second-most goals scored by the Terps in a game this year — contributed to a complete display across all four quarters.

“Really proud of our offense for our shooting,” coach Cathy Reese said. “We just had a lot of really good looks out there. So we were attacking the cage hard and finishing on our shots.”

Reese expressed disappointment in her offense’s lack of aggressiveness in front of the cage after Maryland’s eight-goal loss to Northwestern on April 6. She shared similar thoughts after her team’s narrow defeat to Penn State last weekend.

[No. 8 Maryland women’s lacrosse downs No. 17 Princeton, 16-12, in regular season finale]

The Terps’ shooting numbers have recently dipped. They failed to shoot more than 40 percent in their last three outings before Wednesday’s contest and notched a season-low 29.5 shooting percentage against Johns Hopkins.

But Maryland’s attack produced one of its best performances this season against Princeton, shooting more than 50 percent for the second time this year. Its ability to play through tough defensive pressure was the key.

The Terps’ attack scored on each of their first five shot attempts on Wednesday. Midfielder Kori Edmondson, who notched her fifth hat trick of the season, tallied her first goal by taking it to the cage.

Edmondson stood outside the eight-meter arc. Attacker Libby May, who drew a double team, lobbed the ball to Edmondson. She took the path toward the goal left by the vacant defender and fired a shot past Hughes.

“We’re used to seeing a lot of high-pressure defenses,” attacker Chrissy Thomas said. “When the double was sliding, we just harped on finding the backside and staying composed with pressure.”

Edmondson secured her hat trick after breaking through the pressure herself later in the game. She scooped up a ground ball at the restraining and beared down on the goal, splitting between two Princeton defenders. Her shot bounded off the turf and into the net as she fell to the ground.

[Maryland women’s lacrosse’s poor free position defense led to Penn State loss]

Maryland’s attack led it to the four-goal win, but each of the Terps’ facets delivered.

The Terps won 19 draw controls, six more than the Tigers. Goalie Emily Sterling finished with 12 saves and their defense prevented a Princeton goal for more than 19 minutes, spurring a seven-goal scoring run.

Maryland has struggled with piecing together a complete outing all season. Long scoring droughts and defensive lapses have hindered the Terps, resulting in multiple losses from winning positions.

Maryland’s focus now turns to the postseason, with the start of the Big Ten Tournament on April 27. Wednesday’s regular season finale provided a glimpse at what it could achieve at the end of May.

“I think we know what we’re capable of doing, and the challenge is, no matter where that location is, is making sure you’re putting four quarters together.” Reese said. “That’s our challenge moving forward, home or away, is to just put our foot down and try to win each quarter one at a time.”