Terps Fall to FSU in Third ACC Road Loss

Despite 26 points from Thomas and 17 points from Kizer, the Terps lost 72-66

Despite a promising 22-point victory over the No. 7/7 Duke Blue Devils on Thursday night, the No. 16/17 Maryland Terrapins (21-6, 7-5 ACC) could not retain their momentum, falling to the No. 15/12 Florida State Seminoles (22-5, 10-2 ACC) 72-66 on Sunday, February 20, at the Tucker Center.

Unlike in recent losses to Miami and Virginia, the Terps established an early advantage, holding a series of 8-point leads (scores of 9-1, 12-4, and 14-6) for 6:31 into the first half.

The Terps were boxing out effectively, rebounding well, and employing a diversified offense. Junior Anjale Barrett, not ordinarily used as a perimeter scoring threat, drained two 3-pointers, forcing the Seminoles to spread their defense more, and freshman Alyssa Thomas displayed her characteristic intensity, grabbing a steal and scoring 6 points in the surge.

However, shortly after, sophomore Chelsea Davis scored 5 points in less than a minute, while freshman Natasha Howard, sophomore Chasity Clayton, and senior Courtney Ward all hit 3-pointers as part of an 18-8 run to give the Seminoles their first lead, 24-22.

During the Seminoles' run to take the lead, junior Lynetta Kizer and Thomas were the only Terrapins to score, foreshadowing a central problem that the Terps struggled with for the entire game: an uncharacteristic lack of depth.

Guided by the veteran leadership of Ward and junior Cierra Bravard, energized by Howard, and steadied by the solid bench play of Davis and Clayton, the Seminoles finished the half on a 12-6 run, gaining their own 8-point lead, 36-28.

To begin the second half, Thomas made a layup and Kizer hit a jumper to pull the Terps within 6 points, but Kizer soon committed her third foul just over 2 minutes into the half, and was forced to be subbed out.

Although Kizer matched her season average in minutes played (25 minutes), the inopportune nature of her forced substitution was compounded by the surprising and debilitating realization that Maryland head coach Brenda Frese's bench, usually lauded for its depth, could not deliver in Kizer's absence.

Kizer's impact was made unmistakably clear as she re-entered 4 minutes later, proving instrumental in a 5-0 run by the Terps. She completed a 3-point play, and seconds later grabbed a defensive rebound, from which Barrett assisted sophomore Tianna Hawkins in finishing for a layup, bringing the Terps within 3 points, 45-42.

Kizer finished the night as the Terps' second-leading scorer with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

However, the Seminoles proved balanced and consistent, as they countered by going on a 15-5 run, capped by another 3-pointer from Clayton, to put Florida State up 60-47 with 6:23 left.

Davis (14 points) and Clayton (12 points) combined to outscore Maryland's uncharacteristically shallow bench 26-7 for the night. Bravard (14 points), Howard (12 points), and Ward (10 points) joined Davis and Clayton to total 5 Seminoles in double-figures.

The Terps aggravated their unusual lack of depth by revisiting their troubles from the free throw line, losing 13 possible points by shooting just 11-24 (45.8%) from the line.

A 3-pointer by junior Kim Rodgers brought the Terps within 8 points with 3:26 remaining, but the Seminoles gained 10 points from free throws in the final minutes, led by Ward who earned 7 of the 10. The Seminoles shot 22-31 (71.0%) from the line for the night.

An unrelenting Thomas, who had been a steadying force for the Terps all night and finished with a career-high 26 points, brought the Terps within 4 points twice in the final 0:33, but could not beat the clock.

The Terps will try for their eighth conference victory on Thursday, February 24, when they host Virginia Tech at 7:30 p.

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