Terps Pull Out Victory Over Hokies

Freshman Laurin Mincy presented a valuable third scoring option, helping the Terps win, 61-48.

With 12 minutes and 41 seconds left in the second half of Thursday night's contest between the No. 15/17 Maryland Terrapins (22-6, 8-5 ACC) and the Virginia Tech Hokies (11-17, 1-12 ACC), Terrapin fans likely did not expect to be frantically rallying behind their team, urging them to break a 33-33 tie.

However, such a situation was the case, as the Terps' performance evoked worrisome similarities from their upset loss to unranked Virginia less than two weeks earlier, as they failed to establish an early lead and seemed to have abandoned their usual intensity against the last-place Hokies.

Although the Terrapins emerged victorious against the Hokies, winning 61-48, Maryland head coach Brenda Frese confesses to feeling disappointed with her team's effort. “I thought it was a very lethargic game,” said Frese.

The Terps began the first half by committing 4 turnovers in the first 5:28, largely due to unforced errors. They finished with 18 turnovers for the night, with many resulting from failed post entry passes, as they uncharacteristically struggled against the Hokies' interior pressure.

Freshman Alyssa Thomas (15 points) and junior Lynetta Kizer (11 points), who lead the team in scoring for the season and who have been continuously relied upon to spark a lead, were both visibly frustrated as the swarming Hokie defense limited their looks in the paint.

“We packed it in the zone, we used some different zone presses to slow them down, and we tried to keep the ball out of the paint as much as we could,” said Virginia Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger. “They are a very big team, a very good offensive rebounding team. And the more people you have in the paint, the better, because that's where the bulk of their points come from traditionally.”

The Terps struggled defensively as well, failing to collapse on players in the paint and allowing the Hokies several open shots and some nearly uncontested layups. For the night, the Terps were outscored in the paint for just the third time this season, 22-20, and outrebounded for the third time, 35-33.

However, the Terps eventually found their intensity in sharp-shooting freshman Laurin Mincy, who drained three consecutive 3-pointers in the second half to engineer the Terps' 28-15 run to seal victory.

Mincy, whose long-range scoring capabilities have been clear in practice but who had only reached double-digit scoring twice this season, earned all of her 12 points from beyond the arc.

“We've always known this is what Laurin can do,” said Frese. “When she steps up and shoots the ball with confidence, I'm not sure who can match her. She's just got a great-looking shot.”

Just over a minute after a jumper by junior Shanel Harrison tied the game at 33, Thomas determinedly weaved down the court for a fast break layup and seconds later hit a jumper, and Mincy followed up by calmly sinking her shots to put the Terps up, 47-39.

Not only were Mincy's shots essential in propelling the run, but for Frese, they also represent a welcomed diversification for the Terrapin offense.

“Consistently we've had Alyssa [Thomas] and Lynetta [Kizer] as consistent scorers. When we can get a third scorer, those are the games that we can win,” said Frese.

Having a reliable perimeter threat would undoubtedly allow the Terps less strict dependence on their interior, and would likely make games like this - in which opportunities in the paint are scant - easier.

The Terps travel to Boston College this weekend for their final game of the regular season. The Terps and Eagles will tip off on Sunday, February 27, at 1:00 p.m.

TerrapinTimes Top Stories