Terps Fall In the Second Round

The Terps ended their 2010-2011 season in a second round tournament loss to the sharp-shooting Hoyas.

On Tuesday, March 22, the fourth-seeded Maryland Terrapins (24-8) suffered a 79-57 defeat to the fifth-seeded Georgetown Hoyas (24-10) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, ending their 2010-2011 season.

As advertised, the Hoyas exercised their pressure defense right from the tip, as the Terps won initial possession but could not even begin their offense before senior Monica McNutt jabbed at the ball from behind and forced the first of 20 Terrapin turnovers.

Thirty seconds later, sophomore Sugar Rodgers asserted her presence by draining a 3-pointer, what would become just her first of 7 for the night. Sparked by Rodgers, the Hoyas proceeded to engineer an 11-0 run in the first 4 minutes, with Rodgers contributing 8 of the 11 points.

While the Terps seemed relatively calm under the Hoyas' famous press during the run, they struggled mightily to convert from the field once the press was broken, getting many open looks but failing to finish. During the run, the Terps were 0-9 from the floor and did not score until 5:17 had elapsed, when junior Lynetta Kizer made a free throw.

The Terps staged a powerful resurgence beginning at the 13-minute mark, going on a 13-1 run to tie the score at 14 points. Kizer, who finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, ignited the run with a putback layup and freshman Laurin Mincy, who finished with 12 points, connected on two back-to-back 3-pointers, and inspired renewed confidence in her teammates.

Less than 20 seconds after a free throw by Barrett tied the score, however, Rodgers hit yet another shot from beyond the arc.

Freshman Alyssa Thomas kept the Terps in contention with a jumper and a pair of free throws, making the Hoya lead just 2 points, 20-18, with 9:33 remaining.

At this point the predictably disruptive Rodgers made two consecutive 3-pointers, keying a 20-8 Georgetown run to end the half with a score of 40-26.

Although both sophomore Dara Taylor and Mincy played Rodgers extremely closely, Rodgers' ability to hit pivotal shots, both open and entirely contested, proved especially damaging for the Terps. Rodgers finished the night with a career-high 34 points, with 21 points coming from beyond the arc as she tied her career-high of 7 made 3-pointers.

We tried to double and get the ball out of her hands, we tried to do a box-and-one, we tried to throw the kitchen sink at her, and we couldn't get it done,” said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese of Rodgers. “She was in a zone tonight, and unfortunately sometimes when you're in those zones, it's hard to get anyone out of it. She did a tremendous job.”

“The thing with Sugar is that when she's on, it really doesn't matter what anybody does,” declared Georgetown head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. “You can't stop her. She gets in a zone, she could shoot with her eyes closed. She is unbelievable.”

As a team, the Hoyas had similar offensive success, provoking the exaggerated but demoralizing feeling that they just could not miss.

“When you look at the percentages - 52% from the three point line, 86% from the free throw line - that's a hell of a night shooting the basketball,” Frese admitted.

On the opposite spectrum, the Terps struggled greatly to make shots, recording an 18.8% success rate from 3-point range and a 69.2% completion rate at the free throw line.

Senior Monica McNutt sank two 3-pointers to begin the second half, followed by yet another from Rodgers, giving the Hoyas a 23-point lead with 16:32 remaining.

During this time, the Terps went without a field goal for nearly 5 minutes, drawing fouls but unable to finish at the basket for any possible 3-point plays.

Thomas suffered most noticeably from the field, displaying her usual grit and intensity but missing shots she would normally make. Despite earning a team-high 23 points, Thomas shot 35.2% (6-17) from the floor, while she usually shoots 48.7%. Thomas fought to score in any way possible, however, determinedly driving to draw the foul if her shot did not go in at first attempt, and she was 11-11 from the line. Thomas also achieved a career-high 14 rebounds for a double-double.

Midway through the second half, the Terps held the Hoyas entirely scoreless for nearly 5 minutes - from 13:35 to 8:48 - often led by Taylor, whose quick hands, disruptions, and defensive attentiveness inspired a tantalizing flirtation with the possibility of a Maryland comeback.

However, the Terps were just 1-4 during that time, clearly presenting the realization that without solid scoring, their defense would not be enough to bridge the gap.

In the final 8 minutes of regulation, Terp fans seemed to begin to acknowledge slowly and painfully that there simply would not be enough time left to earn a victory. During those 8 minutes, the Hoyas decisively extended their lead by garnering 20 attempts and a perfect 20 makes at the free throw line. They had earned just 4 attempts in the first half.

“It was a tough night for us, and very difficult for us to try to get into any kind of rhythm,” said Frese.

“They forced us to play a game that wasn't Maryland basketball,” added Kizer.

However, reflecting on a 24-win season in which the team drastically improved their conditioning, earned dominating victories over highly ranked opponents, achieved the fourth seed in the ACC Tournament, and returned the program to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year absence, Frese believes that her Terps should be incredibly proud of themselves and excited by their future.

“Unfortunately it didn't show tonight, but I am proud of our team,” said Frese. “We're young, we have ten freshman and sophomores and we played like it tonight. We showed our youth, we showed our inexperience, but you know what? We'll get better from it.”

“We'll be back,” she added emphatically.


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