Terps Hold on to Top Virginia

The Terps used Laurin Mincy's 20 points and five assists to top UVA 68-61 on Monday night.

After suffering their first loss of the season at Miami Thursday, No. 8 Maryland knew they would have to regroup fast. Their next opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers, would be no slouch with a 14-4 record, including an upset over No. 9 Tennessee earlier this season.

The game turned out to be a battle in which Maryland would never quite put the scrappy Cavaliers away, as the Terps never led by more than nine and saw UVA cut it to five in the final minutes. But in the end it was another key conference win for the Terrapins, who are now 4-1 in the ACC and 17-1 overall.

The Terps staved off Virginia's late push with key free throws from Laurin Mincy and a fast-break lay-up from Lynetta Kizer to hold on to win by a final score of 68-61.

"I thought that Virginia was really, really good tonight,” said Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese. “Very, very aggressive and I thought it took us awhile in terms of getting the feel and the rhythm of the game. But I thought in the second half we were able to wear them down and understand how to break the match-up zone.”

After a tight contest through the first 10 minutes, the Terps found themselves the victims of a 9-0 run as Virginia built a 24-16 lead. Maryland gradually closed the gap, tying the game at 30 on one of Mincy's two three-pointers of the night.

Then with 26.1 seconds left in the first half, Kim Rodgers hit a three that capped a 15-4 Maryland run to put the Terrapins up 36-32 at halftime.

Maryland struggled to hold on to the ball early and often against Virginia's pressure defense, as point guards Anjale Barrett and Brene Moseley combined for eight of the Terps nine first half turnovers. Taking care of the ball remained a problem in the second half, as eight more Terrapin turnovers helped keep Virginia in the game late.

It was Mincy's strong play that helped win it down the stretch, as her 13 second half points propelled her team. She only shot 5-for-14 from the field for the game, but went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line to finish with 20 points and five assists.

“She's really hard to guard when she can shoot the three and attack off the bounce like she's able to do” said Frese. “We challenged Laurin with the consistency, and she brought it tonight, she brought it on both ends of the floor."

Frese praised her post players, noting that tonight, “they were really, really good.” Lynetta Kizer finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Tianna Hawkins and Alicia DeVaughn also were solid contributors that helped Maryland out-rebound the Cavaliers by ten.

“For us to be a team we have to be able to have inside-outside play, and can't solely rely on our guards. Our bigs are too talented and we've got to be able to have that play,” said Frese.

Frese was also excited about the play of senior Kim Rodgers, who has had to overcome several nagging injuries that have severely limited the minutes she's played this season. Rodgers had eight points tonight, hitting two big threes in just 12 minutes of play.

“I am proud of Kim,” said Frese. “She has stayed the course. I am excited for her to have this success … it gives us more bench depth. We know that Kim is a tremendous competitor and we are just excited for her.”

The win over Virginia avenged home losses to them in each of the Terps previous two seasons, a fact that did not go unnoticed amongst the teams' veterans.

"I told the underclassmen that we always go 1-1 with [UVA],” said Kizer. “We'll get them down there and then they come back and get us up here. We really wanted to focus on getting good solid wins and protecting our house.”

Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of the game was the Terrapins' show of resiliency after the setback in Miami.

“At the end of the day I wanted a win; we wanted to come out from the loss at Miami and prove that we can bounce back after a loss,” said Mincy.

Maryland next hosts Wake Forest on Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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