The Terps and Hurricanes were tied at 8 points apiece after 3 minutes of play, but junior guard Riquna Williams, who leads the league in scoring, made a layup to break the tie and sparked a 7-0 run that gave the Hurricanes the momentum for the first half.
Williams and fellow 2010-2011 Wade Watch List member, junior guard Shenise Johnson, as well as sophomore forward Morgan Stroman, contributed to the run, and the three combined for 39 of the Hurricanes' 45 first half points.
Under pressure from the Hurricanes, who rank second in the nation in steals per game, the Terps committed a debilitating 20 first half turnovers, from which the Hurricanes gained 20 points.
The fast-paced Hurricanes' offense also gained 11 points from fast breaks while the Terps did not gain any in the first half.
Unable to maintain control of the basketball, the Terps entered halftime down by 14 points, 45-31, their largest halftime deficit of the season.
However, as the second half began, the Terps demonstrated yet again the hunger, heart, and ability to improve that has earned them three thrilling comeback victories already this season - against Purdue, Virginia, and Georgia Tech - as they generated an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 6.
Junior guard Anjale Barrett (10 points) and sophomore forward Tianna Hawkins (12 points) led the Terps' resurgence, as they both scored all of their points in the second half and were essential in several streaks that seemed to be shifting the momentum.
Barrett also functioned as a much-needed calming presence for her team, pushing the tempo while also retaining control of the basketball. Barrett dished all 8 of her assists in the second half, and aided the Terps in limiting their second half turnovers to just 3.
The Terps also gained 8 points from fast breaks in the second half, while restricting the Hurricanes to just 2.
With 4 minutes remaining the Terps went on a 7-1 run to come within just 2 points of the Hurricanes, 72-70, with 2:43 left. Junior center Lynetta Kizer, who posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, contributed 4 points, 1 steal, and 1 rebound in the run.
Shortly after, sophomore guard Stefanie Yderstrom hit a 3-pointer but junior guard Kim Rodgers (11 points) countered with a 3-pointer of her own on the next possession, keeping the score within 2 points, 77-75, with 1:31 remaining.
Although the 3-pointer from Rodgers seemed a potential catalyst for the Terps to take the lead, the Hurricanes grabbed 3 crucial defensive rebounds in the final minutes to prevent the Terps from earning any second-chance points, and the Terps could not contain Williams and Johnson, who combined for the final 6 points to seal victory for Miami.
Johnson tied her season-high with 30 points and her career-high with four 3-pointers.
Despite fulfilling a commitment to protecting the interior - the Terps allowed the Hurricanes just 30 points in the paint while they gained 42 - the Hurricanes' perimeter presence proved too powerful. The Hurricanes sank seven 3-pointers (41.2%), while the Terps made just three (27.3%).
The Terps' next opponent will be Virginia, and the Terps and Cavaliers will reignite their rivalry when they tip off at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday in Comcast Center.