Terps Upset at Home by Virginia Tech

The Terps loss their second consecutive game Thursday night 75-69 to Virginia Tech.

In a game that everyone involved on Maryland would soon like to forget, the No. 7/8 Maryland Terrapins dropped a disappointing game against the upstart Virginia Tech Hokies, 75-69. It was the Terps second consecutive loss and their first at home on the year, and drops them to 18-3, 5-3 in ACC play. Virginia Tech improves to 7-14, 3-5 in the ACC.

Obviously an extremely difficult loss tonight. Not a lot of things that I can say we did well,” said Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese. “I'm just extremely disappointed for our seniors, for this team in terms of how we played tonight.”

The Terps were without leading scorer Alyssa Thomas, who was unavailable for the game after spraining her left thumb during practice this week. Thomas averages 17.2 points per game and is often an offensive spark for the Terrapins, as well as a key rebounder.

“No question [Thomas' absence hurt], we had rotations in there tonight that you haven't seen all season,” said Frese.

The game fell apart for Maryland down the stretch as they failed to execute, missing four free throws and turning the ball over three times in the games' critical final four minutes. It was an unfortunate ending for the Terps, who led for the entire second half until Tellier hit a jumper to put Virginia Tech up 62-61 with 6:12 left in the game. It was part of an 8-0 run for the Hokies that ended with them leading by five with less than three and a half to play. After a couple empty possessions the Terrapins were forced to foul, allowing the Hokies to ice the game with free throws.

“When you don't have a sense of urgency for 40 minutes to come out and play, every team in the ACC is going to come in and play like this,” said Frese.

Monet Tellier was the story for Virginia Tech, as she tied her career-high with 31 points, including shooting 5-for-10 from the three-point line and missing just one of her 11 free throws. Frese said that the Terps “didn't have an answer for her defensively.”

I feel like we showed a tremendous amount of fight,” said Tellier, of her teams' big win. “Today we just played together, took what the coaches were telling us in the last couple days of practice and shoot around, and we put it together.”

“I'm really proud of these kids and it's a great win for them,” said Virginia Tech Head Coach Dennis Wolfe. “This is not going to cure everything for us, but it's a night that these kids have earned after what they've been through the last few years.”

Maryland struggled late offensively without their leading scorer, as they did not score a field goal after the eight-minute mark of the second half until Laurin Mincy made a lay-up in the paint with just 35 seconds left.

“[It hurts] when you lose a piece like Alyssa, but we also have a lot of talented players in this locker room that should be able to step up in her absence,” said Frese.

Laurin Mincy, Tianna Hawkins, and Lynetta Kizer did all step up on the offensive end. They finished with 19, 18, and 21 points, respectively, but they were much too often the only Maryland players doing anything on offense. In fact, no player outside of those three made a basket from the floor until nearly 31 minutes into the game, and the team as a whole outside of them was just a combined 2-for-12 from the floor.

Frese believes that her teams' poor free throw shooting down the stretch was due to her players not believing in themselves enough.

“I thought we didn't step up and shoot the ball with confidence at the free throw line like we normally do. Those were critical misses in terms of the game,” she said.

Maryland's veterans know the magnitude of a loss like this, which can be, either positively or negatively, a defining moment of a season.

“As a team, our coaches can't want it more for us than we want it for ourselves,” said senior Lynetta Kizer. “We have to make a decision to turn it around from here and play Maryland basketball.”

The Terps will have to wait a week to prove it, however, as their next game is not until Feb. 2, when they take on Boston College at home. Without a quick turnaround, it gives the team time “practice and just get better,” as Frese put it.

“There are a lot of areas for us to be able to improve on - hopefully get healthy - but we'll definitely work on us,” she said.

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