Terps Earn Fifth-Straight ACC Victory

Kim Rodgers hit a 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to secure victory for the Terps

On Thursday, February 3, junior Kim Rodgers buried her only 3-pointer of the night with 1.7 seconds remaining in regulation to lead the No. 12/10 Maryland Terrapins (19-3, 5-2 ACC) to a crucial conference victory over the No. 24 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (18-7, 6-3 ACC), 56-53.

Despite early foul trouble that significantly limited first-half minutes for three Maryland starters - freshman Alyssa Thomas (13 minutes), sophomore Tianna Hawkins (2 minutes), and sophomore Diandra Tchatchouang (10 minutes) - the Terps held the lead for the entirety of the first half.

The Terps' defensive hustle paid dividends as they held the Yellow Jackets to just 25.9% shooting and restricted their second-leading scorer, senior Alex Montgomery, to 1-8 shooting from the field. Juniors Metra Walthour and Sasha Goodlett also struggled with pressure from the Terps, both shooting just 1-6 in the first half.

Led by Kizer with 9 points and 6 rebounds, the Terps entered halftime with a lead of 27-20.

However, within the first 1:13 of the second half, Montgomery and Walthour sank back-to-back 3-pointers en route to a 10-2 run that gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead of the game, 30-29.

The Yellow Jackets also forced 3 turnovers in under 3 minutes from the Terps during the run, contributing to a total of 26 turnovers for the night, just 3 shy of their season-high.

Although the game remained close, the Terps struggled to take a permanent lead, and the Yellow Jackets seemed to continually control the momentum, pulling away nearly every time the Terps tied the score.

Montgomery (13 points) and freshman Tyaunna Marshall (14 points), who ties with Thomas to lead all freshmen with five ACC Rookie of the Week awards, had combined for just 5 points in the first half, but kept the Yellow Jackets in possession of the lead for the majority of the second half, scoring 10 points and 12 points, respectively.

However, the Terps' persistence proved even more powerful than the Yellow Jackets' second half surge.

Although the Terps' height advantage was not as statistically apparent as usual - the Terps outrebounded the Yellow Jackets by just 3 boards (36-33) and outscored them in the paint by just 4 points (28-24) - the Terps profited from their size by eliciting fouls. The T erps gained 21 free throw attempts and earned double the amount of points that the Yellow Jackets received from free throws, recording 14 points to the Yellow Jackets' 7.

The Terps' determination in the interior often translated to crucial opportunities for 3-point play, such as when Thomas and Rodgers both made layups and subsequent free throws to pull the Terps within one point, 52-51, after they had been down 50-45, just two minutes earlier.

Kizer then delivered on a layup to give the Terps a lead of 53-52 with 2:22 remaining, before a power outage required the teams to take a 24-minute break.

Despite speculation of a momentum shift as a result of the extended interruption, the Terps proved resilient.

The Yellow Jackets fought back as Goodlett tied the score at 53 with 1:05 remaining, but freshman Alicia DeVaughn came through with a critical steal to award the Terps a chance at the final possession and a game-winning shot.

With 1.7 seconds remaining, Rodgers secured an inbounds pass from junior Anjale Barrett and quickly released for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to seal victory for Maryland.

For the night, Kizer (19 points) and Thomas (17 points) combined for 36 out of the Terps' 56 points.

The Terps will try to extend their win-streak to 7 when they return home to take on North Carolina State, Sunday at noon.

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